Your GO Transit fare change primer

You have questions about fare changes, so we have answers.

On April 10, Metrolinx’s board of directors approved a range of fare changes, including a reduction of GO fares for short-distance trips by $1 when using PRESTO – a reduction of 21 per cent – to give customers more affordable local transit in their communities.

The changes, set to start on April 20, also include a modest increase on fares for longer-distance GO trips.

We know these updates – announced last week and now made official – will have you wondering how your own trips on GO will change. So we’ve taken some of your top-tier questions and created this question and answer feature.

We hope it helps you understand the changes.

A couple walk into a GO station, as he taps his PRESTO card on a machine.

Your short trip on GO, when using PRESTO, is going to save you money.

Q. What trips qualify as short distance?           

Trips up to 10 kilometres will cost $3.70 for customers who pay with PRESTO instead of the current lowest PRESTO fare of $4.71. Those who pay with single-fare paper tickets will see their fares lowered to $4.40 versus the current lowest ticket fare of $5.30.

Fares for many other GO trips under 20 kilometres will also be lowered as we’re adjusting all fares to be more consistent with the distance travelled.

Q. Why are you increasing fares now?

The last fare increase was in September 2017, and these changes are needed to help offset the costs of inflation since then.

Since the last increase, we’ve grown services by 25 per cent, and we’re working hard to bring you even more—and better—services in the future.

Q. Why are ticket prices going up more than PRESTO?

Since 92 per cent of GO trips are made using PRESTO, the higher increase on ticket prices for longer trips affects a small portion of trips (eight per cent) taken by customers who have not yet switched to PRESTO. This means most customers will experience a modest increase in the price of a trip. For example, if you use PRESTO to pay for a journey from Union Station to Barrie South GO Station, the cost of your trip will increase by $0.42.

Up to five per cent of the10 per cent increase on ticket prices is to offset the reduction of fares for short-distance trips, which is expected to attract two million new trips annually.

 Q. Why are you increasing fares for longer GO trips?

When you travel shorter distances on GO Transit, you typically pay a higher price per kilometre than if you travel longer distances. These changes help to address that.

  • Currently, it costs PRESTO users $0.49/km to travel between Union Station and Mimico GO Station, while a trip between Union Station and Kitchener GO costs only $0.15/km.
  • After April 20, 2019, a trip between Union Station and Mimico GO Station will cost PRESTO users $0.37/km.

Q. Is this fare increase also being used to subsidize free rides for children on GO Transit?

No. We expect revenue to increase as a result of letting children ride free. The decreased cost for the entire family to ride GO will likely encourage families to choose GO more now than ever before.

Based on the results from the successful pilot where kids rode the Barrie GO line for free, we are expecting an additional $9.3 million in annual revenue from increased adult ridership across the system.

Q. Does this new, lower fare for short-distance trips apply to UP Express?

No, the new, lower fare only applies to trips up to 10 kilometres on GO Transit. Fares on UP Express remain unchanged.

Q. How will different fares for UP change customer behaviour for those travelling to and from Bloor and Weston?

 Customers must tap their PRESTO cards on the device that corresponds with the train they’re taking. UP Express customers must tap their cards on UP Express devices, and GO Transit customers must tap their cards on GO Transit devices.

Q. How much will seniors and students pay for short-distance GO trips going forward?

 When using PRESTO, seniors will only pay $1.97 and students will pay $3.40 for short-distance GO trips. Tickets will cost seniors $2.20. The student concession for GO travel is only available when using PRESTO.

Q. When can customers calculate their new fare online?

Customers will be able to calculate their new fare on the GO website as of April 20.

In the meantime, customers travelling between GO stations can review their fares on gotransit.com.

Approved fare chart