Shorter distance GO Transit trips will be up to 40 per cent cheaper as of today but riders travelling further afield will have to shell out a little bit more.

The changes, which were approved by the GO Transit board on April 10, will bring the cost of any trip of 10 kilometres or less down to $3.70 when paid for using a Presto card or $4.40 otherwise.

That will mean, for example, that riders travelling from Exhibition Station or Bloor Station to Union Station will save $1.01 per trip while riders travelling from Danforth Station to Union Station will save $1.32 per trip

At the same time, trips of more than 10 kilometres will see an across the board fare increase of about 4 per cent when paid with Presto and 10 per cent otherwise. As an example, the Presto fare from Union Station to Barrie South GO Station will increase 42 cents to $12.82 per trip.

GO Transit has said that the fare increase on longer trips is necessary to “offset inflationary cost pressures” and help pay for the 359 train trips a week that have been added to the system since the last fare increase in 2017.

The fare reduction for shorter rides, meanwhile, is expected to be a revenue neutral proposition due to an expected increase in ridership. Metrolinx says that it expects an additional two million trips on its network “as more people choose GO Transit for short-distance trips within their communities.”

“The reason we are doing this is pretty simple. Everyone who has taken transit knows just how congested it can be and this just kind of gives people one more option to get where they need to go on these short trips, say union to Danforth,” Metrolinx spokesperson Amanda Ferguson told CP24 on Saturday afternoon. “It kind of brings us closer in line with some of the TTC fares.”

The discounted fares are seen as a key component of Mayor John Tory’s SmartTrack plan, which will add six stations to existing GO Transit lines in Toronto. They fall short of what was promised by the previous Liberal government, though.

Last April, then Premier Kathleen Wynne announced that her government would lower GO Transit fares to $3 for all travel within Toronto.

Under that scenario, residents could have travelled between more than a dozen GO stations for the same cost as a TTC fare. The fare cuts taking effect today will bring down the cost of travel between Union Station and five GO stations in Toronto, including Exhibition, Bloor, Mimico, Danforth and Scarborough.

The fare changes will not affect travel on the UP Express, though riders on that line will lose access to GO Transit monthly loyalty discounts and the $1.50 discount they previously received when they transferred onto the TTC.

“It really just shows you the difference in the purpose of those services,” Ferguson said of the decision not to extend the discount to the UP Express. “UP Express is really for people getting to the airport and back and we want to do that as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

Here is a list of some of the fare changes:

  • Exhibition GO Station to Union Station will go from $4.71 to $3.70
  • Bloor GO Station to Union Station will go from $4.71 to $3.70
  • Danforth GO Station to Union Station will go from $5.02 to $3.70
  • Mimico GO Station to Union Station will go from $4.98 to $3.70
  • Scarborough GO Station to Union Station will go from $5.65 to $3.70