Project Nayuki


TTC fare guide for tourists

Introduction

The Toronto Transit Commission is the primary public transit system in Toronto, Canada.[0] This guide describes the passenger fare structure assuming no prior knowledge, to help you save money and avoid getting into trouble.

On the whole, the TTC uses a gated fare paid zone system on buses and subways, but uses an open proof of payment system on streetcars. When in a POP zone, make sure you are always holding a valid paper transfer, transit pass, or tapped PRESTO card in case of fare inspection. The TTC has one unified fare zone; the price is the same to travel one way between any two points within Toronto.[1]

The transfer is an important concept on the TTC: It is a slip of paper that shows when and where you paid your fare. (It does not say where you’re going or how long it’s valid for.) This is useful for certain situations like changing buses without paying another fare. On all streetcars, holding onto a transfer is critically important since it serves as your proof of payment. It never hurts to hold a valid transfer, even in situations when you don’t strictly need one (except cluttering your pocket with paper).

Fare types

Official information – current fare prices: Toronto Transit Commission: Prices.

PRESTO
  • PRESTO is Metrolinx’s contactless transit fare card, valid on most transit companies in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area plus Ottawa.

  • Usable at nearly all TTC subway stations, streetcars, and buses.

  • Can be bought at some TTC stations, GO stations, and other locations in the GTA. The cost of the card itself is non-refundable.

  • A TTC fare costs the same by PRESTO or by token, which is the lowest single trip price offered to adults.

  • The Union Pearson Express line (non-TTC) is a few dollars cheaper on PRESTO than on cash fare.

  • PRESTO is especially useful outside Toronto, such as on GO Transit, Viva, etc. For example, GO has distance-based pricing, which is easier to handle on a smartcard than by cash. Also, some inter-company transfers, such as between GO and TTC, are discounted only on PRESTO (not by cash).

Cash
  • Bus: Pay into the operator’s farebox as you board the vehicle, change not provided. Recommended to ask the driver to issue you a transfer (say “transfer please”).

  • Streetcar: Pay into the streetside fare machine, streetcar on-board fare machine (Flexity Outlook vehicles), or operator’s farebox (CLRV or ALRV vehicles). Change is not provided. Always get a transfer (say “transfer please”) because riding a streetcar requires showing proof of payment upon inspection.

  • Subway: Pay into the farebox at a collector booth, change is provided. Recommended to walk up to a red transfer machine and press the button to issue you a transfer.

  • Cash is not accepted at (unmanned) automated subway entrances. If you encounter one, ask a bystander for directions or walk around until you find a manned entrance for this subway station.

Token
  • This is the standard adult one-way fare.

  • Tokens are cheaper than the straight cash fare when bought in quantity (usually 3 or more).

  • Buy them at a subway station collector booth or token dispenser machine.

  • Can be used at automated subway entrances.

  • Whenever you pay a fare, it is recommended to get a transfer.

  • Tokens are valid essentially forever[2], even when fare prices increase.

Day Pass
  • Unlimited travel for one day for one person.

  • But on weekends and holidays, an additional adult plus 4 youths aged 19 or under can travel on the same pass.

  • The cost of a Day Pass is slightly more than 4 adult one-way fares.

  • The pass itself is proof of payment on streetcars.

  • Transfer not necessary.[3]

  • Cannot be used at automated subway entrances.

Child
  • In the past the child fare was tickets, but the current policy (starting 2015-03-01) is that children who have not yet turned 13 years old can ride the TTC for free.

Ticket
  • Tickets are discounted fares for students and seniors, but not adults.

  • Buy them at a subway station collector booth. Sold in multiples of 5.

  • Use them only at the driver’s farebox or manned subway farebox collector, not automated entrances.

  • Whenever you pay a fare, it is recommended to get a transfer.

  • Proof of age required for seniors; students require a TTC-issued student ID card.

  • Tickets expire when a new series is issued upon a fare increase; there is a few months’ notice, and old tickets can be refunded for a limited time.

Metropass, Weekly Pass
  • A plastic card allowing unlimited travel for the card holder during the stated period (month or week).

  • Show the card to a station attendant, bus driver, streetcar driver, or fare inspector. Or swipe the card's magnetic stripe at a subway station turnstile.

  • Can be used at automated subway entrances.

  • The pass itself is proof of payment on streetcars.

  • Transfer not necessary.[3]

  • The passenger must hold the card while travelling, but can give it to another person after exiting the TTC system.

Transferring between vehicles

Warnings:

Picture examples of transfer papers:

Transfer issued at subway station, front side

Transfer issued at subway station, back side

Transfer issued on streetcar, front side

Transfer issued on streetcar, back side

Official information: Toronto Transit Commission: Transfers.

About proof of payment

Official information: Toronto Transit Commission: Proof of Payment, YouTube: Proof-of-Payment on the TTC.

Notes

More info