The Ontario Liberal Party has recently announced, that if elected, it would slash transit fares to $1 per ride on every transit line in Ontario until the end of 2024, with the intention of reducing gridlock and greenhouse gas emissions while trying to make life more affordable for Ontario families. The plan is also intended to create confidence in the public transit system as a way to win back riders. The fare reduction would apply to every transit system in Ontario, including municipal transit, all GO Transit services, and Ontario Northland service – with the provincial government fully replacing transit systems’ lost revenue, ensuring no municipal government is impacted by this decision.
This plan is estimated to take an average 400,000 cars off the road and cost about $710 million in 2022-23, and about $1.1 billion in 2023-24.
OSPE has long been calling on this provincial government to invest in smart, public infrastructure that is sustainable and provides benefits to communities across the province. We believe that Ontario should work towards a safe, green, innovative, and integrated transportation system that is able to support a clean environment, while boosting trade, economic growth, and public safety. Policies should seek to develop and foster a transportation system that works for current and future generations. Public transportation provides mobility options, generates jobs, spurs economic growth, and supports public policies regarding energy use, air quality and carbon emission reductions.
We commend this Liberal Party’s election promise, since it is a step in the right direction, towards mitigating climate change and investing in transit. However, much more must be done to ensure that ridership levels are increased. The new provincial government should keep investing in new public transit routes to ensure that we continue building transportation options that are reliable for Ontarians, and sustainable for our province. This plan will only increase ridership levels if consumers know that the system is reliable and connected. Ensuring reliability and coordinating with transportation agencies will be key to properly experience the full benefits of this policy. Having more people take transit will also encourage and boost economic activity.
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