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DRT bringing back paper transfers

The Durham Region Transit Executive Committee talked fare incentives, On Demand ridership, and reintroducing paper transfers at its most recent meeting.

In order to encourage and increase ridership among youth in Durham, TEC approved a discounted rate of $53.50 for the Y10 monthly pass, down from the current discounted price of $73.50.

Durham Regional Chair John Henry says it’s important that residents view public transit as a safe, reliable and competitive way to travel.

“DRT’s youth-focused fare incentives provide increasing opportunities for the next generation of riders to experience our transit system to travel to school, to work, and to our local facilities and events when they are safe to re-open,” he states.

The committee also approved a bulk pass purchase pilot, which would be available to school boards in Durham and Durham Student Transportation Services.

According to DRT General Manager Bill Holmes, On Demand ridership continues to grow in areas that have experienced low ridership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and across the rural areas of the region.

The Municipality of Clarington recorded 33 per cent of all On Demand ridership in the month of January. Through mid-March 2021, data indicates ridership within low demand areas have not yet reached the thresholds to return to scheduled routes, according to DRT.

“We are excited to see the continued development of DRT’s On Demand service,” states Holmes. “There is appetite for this new, flexible way to travel when scheduled service is not feasible.

He notes the service-focused virtual Public Information Centre, which is being held at the end of April, will be a great opportunity for residents to share their ideas and speak with staff about the current and future transit network.

Results and recommendations for the Transit Assistance Program (TAP) pilot, which launched in 2019, were shared with the committee. Results included data from more than 4,950 PRESTO cards as well as various feedback surveys.

The committee extended TAP through March 2023, with additional options, including pay-as-you-go and Period Pass. Furthermore, Paper Access Passes will be transitioned onto PRESTO by fall 2021.

Paper transfers will also be coming back, on a trial basis, starting May 3, 2021. During the trial period, and effective June 1, 2021, the regular $6 fee will apply when purchasing a new PRESTO card.