The TTC is making several changes to its fare policies and service in response to COVID-19.
The changes, the TTC says, is to focus on the protection of workers and passengers by requiring physical distancing and eliminating most interaction between them.
All bus passengers will board and leave via the rear door except for riders who require the access ramp at the front door. Vehicle operators will keep their protective barriers closed, and the fare boxes will not be available.
On buses except for Wheel-Trans, the TTC will not accept cash, tokens or tickets and will not issue paper transfers. Only Presto will be accepted. Streetcar and subway riders can use fare machines.
The TTC asks that riders pay with Presto “where available”, but it is unclear whether riders without cards will be permitted to ride free. The TTC has not clarified this statement at the time of writing.
The deadline for cancelling the auto-renewal on monthly or 12-month passes on Presto has been extended to 11:59 pm, Friday, March 27. The TTC will waive cancellation fees, although Presto might still issue an automated warning email.
Because weekday ridership has dropped by over 70 per cent, the TTC is dropping overlapping services to be reallocated where needed.
Those include, all 900-series express bus routes, except for the 900 Airport, 903 Kennedy-Scarborough Town Centre, and 927 Highway 27; all 140-series Downtown express routes; the 176 Mimico GO bus and 508 Lake Shore streetcars.
Vehicle arrival predictions will be out of whack until the online schedules are updated to match the revised services. But regular service are scheduled to continue every 10 minutes or better on most of the affected routes.
The TTC reported a loss of $14 million in revenue for last week, and the number has increased since to $20 million. Sustaining this would require massive increases in subsidies at a time governments are stretched to cover health care and income support costs.
Although service levels must allow for physical distancing, further transit cutbacks seem inevitable.