Now that I have a subway job, I have to decide whether I should use tokens every day or buy weekly/Metro passes. Sure passes are more flexible and convenient, but I don’t really take the TTC that often aside from going to/from work. Plus, passes are quite expensive in Toronto. Right now, a token costs $2.60 each while a Metropass costs $126 per month*. I also have the option of getting a weekly pass when I can predict heavy TTC usage; but a TTC is a clear rip off. At $37.50 a week, it works out to $162.50 a month ($153.12 with three weeks off)!
So the calculation comes down to whether I should use tokens or buy a (normal) Metropass. What’s the number of trips per month where the costs start breaking even? At full price, it would take 48.5 trips before you break even – or about 24 days of work. However, you can now get a 15% tax credit for each pass which is a $18.90 savings each month bringing the effective cost of each pass down to $107.10. At that price, you need to take 41 trips or about 20 days of work to break even**.
In January, because I was on vacation in the first week, I won’t make it to 20 days and have been using tokens. This year’s February is a bit weird and I will make it to 20 days so I’ll buy a Metropass that month. I think I will consider Metropass purchases on a month-by-month basis now!
* I don’t think it’s worthwhile for me to subscribe to the annual Metropass since there are some months, when I take vacation, where I might take 10 or 20 fewer TTC trips than average.
** The same calculation for a Metropass subscription is 19 days, so a subscription doesn’t offer much advantage from a cost perspective.