Metrolinx unveils deals to help thousands of GO Transit and UP Express riders save money

Metrolinx is making most local transit fares free when connecting to and from GO Transit and lowering GO and UP fares for youth and post-secondary students who pay with PRESTO. Get all the info on how customers can save money on transit, plus details on a new pilot program in Peel Region, below.

Metrolinx has announced new measures to make transit more affordable for thousands of people across the region.  

Starting Mar. 14, customers can take advantage of free local transit fares when connecting to and from GO Transit and most local transit agencies and new lower youth and post-secondary student fares.

How does it all work?

Youth and post-secondary discounts

Metrolinx is lowering GO and UP fares for youth and post-secondary students who pay with their PRESTO card. The PRESTO discount will increase from 22.5 per cent to 40 per cent off the full adult fare.  

GO and UP customers who are 13 to 19 years old or anyone enrolled in full-time post-secondary education, regardless of age, are eligible for these fare changes.

a young woman with a mask on looking at her phone
Transit is becoming more affordable for thousands of GO and UP customers, starting Mar. 14. (Metrolinx photo)

Expanded eligibility

The changes also expand the eligibility for the existing student fare on GO and UP to a broader youth fare.

This fare will be based on age only, available to customers who are 13 to 19-years-old, regardless of whether they are enrolled in school. This change brings Metrolinx in line with most other transit agencies throughout the region.

Those with a youth fare set up on their PRESTO card must travel with their Canadian school-issued ID or government-issued ID as proof of age.

To set-up a post-secondary fare for GO and UP, customers need to have a GO Student ID. Learn about how to get one here.

A woman in a mask taps a presto card on a UP Express machine
Metrolinx is lowering GO and UP fares for youth and post-secondary students – the PRESTO discount will increase from 22.5 per cent to 40 per cent off the full adult fare. (Metrolinx photo)

Riders who are set up with the current student fare on their PRESTO card will begin receiving the increased discount starting Mar. 14.

On PRESTO channels, like on payment and loading devices, your online PRESTO account, or on the PRESTO app, concessions will automatically change from “student” to “youth” later this spring.

100% co-fare between local transit agencies and GO Transit

Metrolinx is also introducing co-fare changes to make local transit free when transferring between GO Transit and participating agencies, which include Durham Region Transit, Milton Transit, Grand River Transit, Guelph Transit, Oakville Transit, MiWay, Brampton Transit, Hamilton Street Railway, Burlington Transit, Bradford West Gwillimbury Transit and York Region Transit, with continued participation from Barrie Transit.

Photo of the vivaNext rapidway operating in York Region
Transferring from the vivaNext rapidway in York Region to GO Transit will be free under new co-fare agreement. (Metrolinx photo)

How the co-fare works

For example, if you take a local Durham Region Transit bus to Oshawa GO Station, the fare you pay for your Durham Region Transit trip will be reimbursed in full onto your PRESTO card.

For agencies that do not use PRESTO, you can show your PRESTO card, a valid, single-ride paper ticket or day pass GO ticket as proof of GO fare payment.

GO Affordability Pilot

For the first time, GO Transit is introducing a pilot program to make GO fares more affordable for people who need it most, starting with those enrolled in Peel Region’s Affordable Transit Program.

The GO Affordability Pilot aims to increase access to job, education, and leisure opportunities to the riders who need it most within and beyond their municipalities. The pilot also fosters improved integration between municipal and regional transit.

Peel Region residents enrolled in Peel Region’s Affordable Transit Program will be reimbursed 50 per cent of their regular GO Transit adult fare when using a PRESTO card.

The reimbursement will apply to any trip on GO Transit and will not have to begin, end or include travel within Brampton or Mississauga. Customers will not be required to connect to or from GO Transit to Brampton Transitway or MiWay to be reimbursed for their GO fare.

four transit buses parked next to each other
New pilot program makes GO fares more affordable for people who need it most. (Nitish Bissonauth photo)

To receive a fare reimbursement, customers must tap on a PRESTO device within 30 days of travelling on GO Transit. Once customers tap on a PRESTO device, the reimbursed fares will show up on their PRESTO account within seven days.

Metrolinx will work closely with municipal and transit agency partners throughout the pilot to determine next steps.

These changes are just some of the ways Metrolinx is making transit a more affordable and attractive option for people across the region. Other initiatives include:

Planning to travel on GO Transit or UP Express soon? Remember to wear a face covering when you ride, even if you’re fully vaccinated. It is mandatory for transit staff to wear one on the job, too.

Editor’s note – Edits were made to this story after publication.

Story by Suniya Kukaswadia, Metrolinx media relations senior advisor