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ONE FARE Across Greater Toronto Area Does Not Deliver a Fair Deal for Municipalities and Transit Agencies

In late January, the Conservative government of Ontario announced the implementation of a ONE FARE payment for riders per trip, regardless of distance traveled or how many different transit vehicles are used to get there.  One Fare is being implemented in the Greater Toronto Area by the end of February 2024, which will impact several cities, ATU Locals, and Transit Agencies that intersect with Toronto. 

The ATU has long advocated that riders deserve safe, reliable, accessible, and affordable transit – and our position has not changed. Conceptually, the move by the Conservative government sounds great, and riders are applauding this announcement, but the public is not being told the truth about the real cost implications and the long-term detrimental effect on the transit systems that will be losing a great deal of money.

Our Local Presidents/Business Agents of Locals 113-Toronto, ON, 1572-Mississauga, ON, 1573-Brampton, ON, and 1587-Toronto, ON, who are directly affected by this decision met with ATU Canada President John Di Nino and issued a coordinated and scathing response led by International President John Costa who said about the One Fare plan, “While this is good news for riders, we also need to keep our systems running – and the reality is Canada’s transit systems are underfunded. Provinces and the federal government must step up and do their part to invest money in the operations to maintain service levels and enhance frequency to existing lines. Canadians deserve robust and affordable public transit.”

The One Fare payment leaves significant funding gaps for transit operations. While we are pleased to have options that will be more affordable for transit riders – we must also ensure that the transit agencies are able to survive and keep running. We are currently in the midst of an affordability crisis – and the One Ride initiative will not deliver the much-needed dollars to sustain public transit as we know it. 


Lack of Transparency

The government has not announced a fare revenue sharing model, proposals on fare and route integration across transit agencies, and how they will handle bail out of municipalities that have hundreds of millions of dollars in budgetary deficits. There’s also the issues of operator recruitment and retention strategies; safety enhancements; better working conditions for our members; and how this will impact collective bargaining. This miscalculated decision by the government has been overshadowed by this “feel good” announcement. 

The reality of a One Fare system is that transit agencies will be fighting for their share of the pie as the fare box revenue will have to be shared. It also means that at collective bargaining time employers will be crying that revenues are down, and they don’t have the financial ability to pay for well-deserved robust contracts.


The predator lurking behind the scenes is Metrolinx!

Metrolinx is an agency of the Government of Ontario that oversees transit development and management with the ideology of using Private Public Partnerships to manage transit under a Regional Transportation mindset. It appears that it has set its eyes on the One Fare system in hopes of taking existing infrastructure and operations under its realm. The long-term effects could be a detriment to public transit as we know it today. The only way to defeat these initiatives is to use our power by banding together as a unified front.