Now Metrolinx is examining the idea of charging fares by the kilometre.
While two of the previous options included some form of distance-based charge, the new proposal would charge all riders a per kilometre rate.
Sounds reasonable, right?
Taxis charge by distance -- only . . . they go pretty fast and have all the convenience of a car. You pay a premium because the ride is door to door, pretty much on your terms and not a communal experience. Not true of public transit.
GO Transit already uses that fee scheme . . . except of course that the people who can afford to use GO trains for their daily commute probably aren't the sort who are scrounging change in order to ride. They get a tax break for having bought passes, and they probably make enough per year that the tax break actually makes a difference at refund time.
Who really benefits from this fantastic idea of charging based on distance?
Well... chances are it won't hurt people who live downtown .... they tend to work and play down there.
It likely won't hurt the people who live in the bedroom communities outside of the city who already use their Presto cards and will continue on in the same way they have been.
So then, who will it hurt?
We have the largest area geographically so even if we commute only within Scarborough, it can be further than most people need to travel if they're going from one of the former boroughs to another. Many lower income people travel via TTC to North York, Etobicoke and downtown for work and school.
A per km fee for someone who lives in Malvern to say the Eaton Centre? By transit, that's almost 40 km for someone in the northeast of the city. While the proposal has yet to lay out a per km rate, it would definitely put a lot of the city out of reach for many people in Scarborough.
Thankfully, John Tory doesn't seem to be warm to the proposal.
Let's hope this goes the way of the DVP/Gardiner tolls.