WATCH: The “plus-one” policy for free GO rides for Metrolinx employees is now under review after Global News asked questions about the policy. Alan Carter reports.
TORONTO – Transportation Minister Stephen Del Duca is reviewing a perk giving Metrolinx employees and their friends free rides on the regional transit authority’s Go trains and buses.
Premier Kathleen Wynne wouldn’t take a stance on the practice during a morning press conference.
“I don’t have a position on that policy at this point. But Metrolinx has developed their policies over the years and I think it could be a question worth asking,” Wynne said.
But Del Duca announced his review shortly afterward.
“So my understanding is that Metrolinx is actually in the process, or will be in the process shortly, of reviewing the policies that you’re referring to in that question,” he told reporters at Queen’s Park. “And I look forward to hearing back from Metrolinx once they’ve had a chance to review exactly how they might go forward on that.
“… I wanted to get a sense of exactly what the history is one some of this and why we’re in this position.”
The free tickets for guests are only supposed to be used occasionally, but Global News has learned the transit agency doesn’t track how often employees use their free rides. Senior Management at Metrolinx can bring along as many people as they wish.
The only way employees could be noticed using the free plus one ticket would be if a GO officer checking tickets on board trains asked for proof-of-purchase when the employee was riding the train and checked that against employee records. But there’s no evidence of that ever happening.
Metrolinx cancelled a scheduled interview with Global News but did release a written statement Wednesday afternoon saying Metrolinx encourages employees to take public transit instead of driving.
“Most transit agencies across the country have policies in place with the goal to encourage staff to take transit as opposed to driving to work and in return staff experience the system from the customer point of view. Metrolinx is currently in the process of reviewing its policy to see if it should be modified,” the statement reads.
Metrolinx has been embroiled in employee entitlement scandals before. Metrolinx employees were given tickets to the Toronto series of Buffalo Bills games at the Rogers Centre as well as TIFF tickets after the public transit agency entered into a sponsorship deal with the Bills in Toronto event.
With files from Alan Carter