They'd be costly for the transit system, but crowd-pleasing.
A TTC report set to go before the board on January 28 indicates that when the PRESTO Farecard is introduced later this year, there will be an opportunity to transform the TTC’s approach to transfers from the current “continuous trip” system to one that’s “time-based.”
So what’s the difference, and why are transit users likely to be far happier with the latter?
As things stand now, transfers are only valid for a continuous one-way trip, without any stopovers. Under a time-based system, riders could, say, get off a bus, run an errand, and get back on the TTC without paying a whole new fare—as long as they did so within a certain period of time. There will doubtless be restrictions—the report estimates that an “unrestricted use” time-based transfer valid for two hours would lead to $20 million in lost annual revenue, and one valid for an hour and half would lead to $12 million in lost annual revenue—but TTC spokesperson Brad Ross commented that “providing that revenue can be made up elsewhere, it’s something of course we would embark on.” He also noted that the new transfer system is “something customers have asked for and we would like to provide.”