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Children 12 and under will be allowed to ride GO Transit fare-free

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WATCH ABOVE: Children 12 and under will be allowed to use GO Transit services fare-free, Ontario Transportation Minister Jeff Yurek announced in downtown Toronto on Thursday morning – Feb 28, 2019

Children 12 and under will be allowed to ride GO Transit fare-free beginning March 9.

Transportation Minister Jeff Yurek made the announcement in downtown Toronto on Thursday morning.

“Family across the GTHA can take this opportunity to explore the many activities that are close to GO stations. Free transit for kids on GO Transit aligns fares with the TTC and UP Express,” Yurek said.

“This is another step to integrate transit systems and give riders a seamless transit experience.”

READ MORE: TTC ridership among kids doubles after introduction of free fares

Currently, children between six and 12 years old pay half the price of an adult single-fare ride. Children under six can ride fare-free with an adult.

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Metrolinx, the regional transportation agency responsible for operating GO Transit, launched a “Kids GO Free” pilot project last April on the Barrie Line.

Officials said the initiative, which allows children 12 and under to ride for free along the Barrie corridor, has been a success so far.

VIDEO: Provincial government explains why offering GO services free to children under 12 will be a revenue-neutral move

Click to play video: 'Provincial government explains why offering GO services free to children will be cost effective' Provincial government explains why offering GO services free to children will be cost effective
Provincial government explains why offering GO services free to children will be cost effective – Feb 28, 2019

“What we saw is when we had kids travel free campaign going, our increase in ridership during weekdays went up 7 per cent and over weekends by 17 per cent,” Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster said.

“This is not a program that costs money, this is a program that generates money.”

Metrolinx said the free fare program for children is expected to generate $9.3 million a year in revenue.

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READ MORE: Metrolinx numbers show GO Transit falling short of train arrival time targets

“What is really important here is when you think about our different market segments, there’s a very clear off-peak market segment, once we’ve invested in all these capital assets, we need to stimulate the off-peak market,” Verster said.

“The off-peak market, when families travel especially over weekends, what was truly indicative to us was the 17 per cent increase in ridership on weekends.”

GO Transit isn’t the only local transit agency to allow children 12 and under to ride fare-free. The Toronto Transit Commission has a similar fare protocol.

In areas such as Durham Region, Mississauga, Brampton, Hamilton, Barrie, Guelph and Kitchener, children under five years old ride for free.

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