Future York U Commuter Students from York Region: Get Ready To Pay Double!

York University has a significant number of Commuter Students - those who live off campus, often at home, and commute to campus on public transit. Being on the border of Toronto and York Region, the campus is served by TTC and YRT/VIVA routes which has the effect of erasing the fare boundary at Steeles.

That means, Commuter Students in Toronto can get to York with a single TTC fare, and those in York Region (in zone 1) can get to York with a single YRT fare. That is today, but what happens when the subway goes to Vaughan?

Future students in Toronto will see no change to their fare structure. Not so for students living in York Region. York Region students will have to pay the TTC fare when they board the subway at VCC or at the 407 station. This is in addition to their YRT fare to get there. Basically: double fares!

Thinking of avoiding the subway altogether and take a YRT or VIVA bus to the campus? As the saying goes, “You’ve got another think coming.”

According to the Memorandum of Understanding on the TYSSE (Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension) from June 18:

York Region agrees not to operate or permit the operation of public transit services directly to York University.
 - third bullet of item “l” on page 5 

Of course, one will be able to take YRT services to Steeles West station and walk from there. Sounds equally fun on a winter day with a windchill of -20 or on a summer day with a humidex of 38.

What about driving to a station? You may as well pay for parking on campus. I believe there may be parking planned for Steeles West, but the YRT fare will be the same or less expensive. The same goes for the 407 station:

TTC agrees to charge a minimum parking fee at Highway 407 Station (600 spaces) of twice the cost of the TTC or York average fare, whichever is lower. In the event utilization of the lot is under-performing, the minimum price for the lot will be renegotiated.
  - third bullet of item “k” on page 5

As for parking up at VCC:

The TTC/City agree that, as part of the scope of the project, no commuter parking will be located at VCC Station.
  - first bullet of item “k” on page 5

This is just one of the costs for the convenience and benefits of having a subway line to Vaughan.

3 Responses to “Future York U Commuter Students from York Region: Get Ready To Pay Double!”

  1. Daniel Robitaille Says:

    Doesn’t this bullet in that Memorandum more or less states that they will not pay a double fare? (4th bullet in section L)

    “All parties agree to work cooperatively with Metrolinx/Government of Ontario to allow York bus passengers connecting to the subway within the York Region to access York University without paying a double fare.”

    Cal’s comment: This might sound like splitting hairs, but government agencies excel at this: it says “work cooperatevely”, which is far from a guarantee. Given that the Memorandum explicitly prohibits YRT/VIVA operations onto campus, it does not bode well for York U students. Unless this means that everyone boarding the subway in York region not destined for the university will have to hold a ticket that will be checked before the subway leaves York U - like that will happen.

    Ultimately, a new fare structure will have to be implemented, and hopefully this is an area where Metrolinx can shine. If I were in charge, it would work this way…

    First, all fares would use a time-expiry transfer. Single fare would be like a 2-hour pass (or whatever duration is appropriate).

    Second, fare boundaries would be wide. For instance where York U is located, the southern fare boundary could be Finch and the northern could be the 407. Travel from either zone into the boundary would not require extra payment, it wouldn’t matter who operated the vehicle, and full transfer privileges to/from another vehicle within the boundary or the same zone is allowed.

    Third, passing through to the other zone (on the same vehicle or after a transfer) would not cost a whole other fare, but just a supplement of perhaps $1.

    I won’t take all the credit for this, as this is how YRT/VIVA operates with their three-zone system.

  2. luke Says:

    Why would YRT want to run service to their most popular destination anyways? The whole idea reeks of efficiency.

  3. City Boy at Heart Says:

    Calvin, I am in my early 50’s now.I grew up in the Dufferin-Rogers Road area of the city. I remember the old zone fare system before and after the Bloor subway and it’s extensions. Once you passed Jane station in the west and Main Street in the east, you were in the second zone once you left the station. You paid your initial fare when you got on the bus and then paid another fare when you got off the bus and entered the subway turnstiles. The subway stations were made part of “zone 1″. This situation (for York students coming from York region) sounds very familiar to the old one.

    Cal’s comment: That is exactly what they are proposing. If you recall, Royal York and Main Street stations were designed differently from all others as these stations were roughly on the boundary and would have buses arriving from both zones. The zone 1 passengers could enter the subway without paying extra and the zone 2 passengers had to pay the fare. York Mills and Sheppard stations were originally designed like the stations west of Royal York and east of Main, since they were both in zone 2, but by the time those stations opened for operation, all of Metro was one zone, but the stations’ design required transfers until major renovations took place.

    If you know, what do they do in Laval for the passengers who are coming from the Laval system with their destination being somewhere in Montreal.And living close to where the terminal would be for the Yonge subway extension at the Silver City, we received notification today by letter mail of the upcoming meeting. Does anybody realize that since an election is on, the only funds that are commited right now are the ones for the Spadina Extension and nothing else! Steve Munro pointed that one out to me. Interesting. Thanks a lot.

    Cal’s comment: I would go so far as to say that the federal election has nothing to do with funding for the Yonge extension - in that it is not on hold because of it, because it was NEVER there in the first place. While I believe the feds should be kicking in funding for transit infrastructure, that has only been the case for the Spadina extension and that was a surprise to many. Even so, the idea of the feds kicking in one-third has somehow become the holy grail and is part of the Yonge extension plan. Unless there is some serious pressure on ALL the parties during this election, we are not going to see the Yonge extension at all unless the province kicks in ALL the money, or York Region and/or Toronto comes up with the final third, or the project were built as LRT using the lower amount of funds. Remember, the province announced it would be kicking in two thirds of this project so Toronto and York wouldn’t have to.

    Let me remind everyone how the Spadina funding came to be… Then finance minister Gregory Sorbara announced funding for a Spadina extension, not just to Steeles, but all the way to Vaughan Corporate Centre. There were a few caveats: the province would put up one third, the federal government would have to put up one third, and the municipal governments would have to put up a third; the province would actually put the cash into a trust fund provided that the municipal governments signed on by a deadline, and that construction began by a specified time (which was March 2008, and a sewer relocation project counted for this). York and Toronto bickered over how much each was responsible for the municipal third. At the eleventh hour, they both reluctantly agreed to a 60/40 split in order to secure the provincial funds. Figuring that the federal portion would come the day after pigs began to fly, and that some other arrangement could be made later on, this wasn’t too hard a pill for either to swallow. One year later, the feds announced their share and everyone was basically locked in.

    Now, for some odd reason, there is the belief that the feds will come up with one third of the funding.