• Councillor Mark Grimes

Toronto expands eligibility of Fair Pass Transit Discount Program to make transit more affordable

The City of Toronto announced it is expanding phase two of the implementation of the Fair Pass Transit Discount Program to make transit more affordable for more low-income residents.

The expansion of the Fair Pass Transit Discount Program was approved by City Council as part of the 2022 City of Toronto operating budget. With this expansion, residents in receipt of a Rent-Geared-to-Income (RGI) subsidy are now eligible to apply for the program.

Approximately 77,000 eligible residents receiving an RGI subsidy who meet the financial eligibility of having an after-tax family income below the Low-Income Measure (LIM) plus 15 per cent may receive a 12-month discount on the regular TTC adult fare or adult monthly pass. The program provides a 33 per cent discount on adult single ride fares ($2.10 Fair Pass cost) and a 21 per cent discount on TTC adult monthly passes ($123.25 Fair Pass cost). A typical adult rider with a Fair Pass Transit Discount can save almost $400 per year.

In February, the City began live testing the new online Fair Pass application process, which will serve residents receiving RGI assistance. To test, evaluate and refine the new process and improve the user experience, the City partnered with RGI housing provider Wigwamen Incorporated. Wigwamen is Ontario’s largest and oldest urban Indigenous housing provider and manages more than 700 units of RGI housing in Toronto.

The City is working with subsidized housing providers, including Toronto Community Housing and other social and non-profit housing providers, to promote the program to residents receiving an RGI subsidy.

This year, the City has budgeted approximately $10.3 million for the Fair Pass Discount Program.

The Fair Pass Transit Discount Program was approved by City Council, as part of the Toronto Poverty Reduction Strategy to make transit more affordable for low-income residents. Making transit more affordable was one of the suggestions that the City heard in its public consultations for the Poverty Reduction Strategy. The City’s 2018 and 2019 budgets invested $10.4 million to begin implementing the Fair Pass Discount Program.

To date, implementation of the Fair Pass Transit Discount Program has been rolled out in two phases. Phase one was launched in 2018 and includes Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program clients. Phase two, launched in 2019, includes residents receiving a child care fee subsidy and living with a household income under LIM plus 15 per cent. Now that the new online Fair Pass application has launched, phase two has been further expanded to include residents receiving housing supports. The third and final phase will extend the Fair Pass Transit Discount Program to all low-income residents age 20 to 64 years and will no longer depend on participation in specific income assistance and other subsidy programs.

More information, including how to apply, is available on the City’s Fair Pass Discount Program webpage.