In November 2020, City Council endorsed improvements to the Fair Pass application process to help meet public health recommendations. All eligible residents can now quickly and easily apply online and access support from a single point of contact.
As a cornerstone initiative of Toronto's Poverty Reduction Strategy, the Fair Pass Program makes transit more affordable by providing adult residents with a 33 per cent (single ride) or 21 per cent (monthly pass) discount when traveling on the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). Residents who receive Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), Ontario Works (OW) assistance or Toronto Child Care Fee Subsidy with a household income under the Low-Income Measure plus 15 per cent are eligible for the discount.
Since the Fair Pass was launched by Mayor Tory in April 2018, more than 80,000 residents have been issued a Fare Pass.
Due to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fair Pass Program suspended receiving and processing new applications in March when some City offices were closed, and staff redeployed to provide support to critical services. However, throughout this period, the City continued to process annual renewals of the Fair Pass discount for residents who remained eligible for the benefit and whose discount otherwise would have expired.
To assist residents with acquiring a PRESTO card when applying for the Fair Pass Program, the City has partnered with Toronto Public Library’s Complimentary PRESTO card initiative to distribute free PRESTO cards at select Toronto Public Library branches, while quantities last, in Neighbourhood Improvement Areas and throughout the city.
Low-income residents are more likely to use public transit to move around the city, yet the cost of travel acts a barrier to accessing this critical service. Prior to the introduction of the Fair Pass Discount Program, there had never been a direct, targeted discount on the cost of TTC fares available to low-income working age adults in Toronto.
By providing eligible residents with a discount, the Fair Pass Discount Program helps alleviate some of the financial burdens low-income residents face during times of economic pressure and uncertainty. The City recognizes that vulnerable and marginalized Torontonians continue to cope with the negative impacts of COVID-19 and is taking action to support residents, families and communities safe as well as keeping essential and critical services operating.
“As we continue to fight COVID-19, it’s important that residents with low-incomes are able to access affordable transit to get to work, take their children to school or daycare and pick up groceries. The pandemic has challenged the City to quickly modernize in many ways and the Fair Pass Program is now benefiting from modernization. This program will be more accessible to residents while allowing them to stay home and minimize interactions with people they don’t live with as we continue our efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.”
- Mayor John Tory
“This is a very important program for many residents in vulnerable populations. Facing financial barriers to accessing transit affects their lives in so many ways that further contributes to their vulnerability. Unfortunately, this pandemic has made more residents vulnerable and the Fair Pass Program is just one way we can provide assistance, and by modernizing our processes, we’ve made it safer for people to access.”
- Councillor Anthony Perruzza (Humber River-Black Creek) City Council Poverty Reduction Advocate