Toronto condominium developers will now be required to provide a 12-month Metropass with each residential condominium unit as a condition of obtaining the City of Toronto’s approval. At full price, the cost of a 12-month Metropass is more than $1300, although developers will benefit from a bulk purchase price discount. Importantly, the Metropass by-law does not apply to all new Toronto condominiums. In order to fall within the scope of the new requirement, the proposed condominium building:
1) must have 20 or more residential units; and,
2) must be located in downtown Toronto or along major transit routes.
According to the City of Toronto Council, the cost of the Metropass is meant to be borne by the developer and to be provided “free” to the purchaser of the condominium unit. This is a purely political fantasy as it ignores the fact that higher development costs will necessarily be passed on to purchasers.
The reason behind this requirement is that the provincial and municipal governments have a policy to encourage the use of public transit. The City of Toronto Council hopes that by mandating Metropasses, they can change long term behaviour and expose new riders to the TTC. However, the fact remains that the most effective way to increase long term ridership is to improve the product. Forcing residents to buy a Metropass rather than improving the service offered misses the mark. If the new riders don’t like their experience, then they won’t be back after the 12-month mandate is up.