With campaign season set to officially kick off this Wednesday for Ontario’s 43rd provincial election, promises are already starting to fly from the three major political parties -- and the latest from the Liberals pledges to make public transit rides considerably cheaper for all commuters.

Ontario Liberal candidate Steven Del Duca announced Monday the party would slash all transit fares across the province to $1 per ride and cap monthly passes at $40 until January 2024, in efforts to reduce gridlock, greenhouse gas emissions, and costs for Ontario families. The transit subsidy would take effect within the first 100 days of being elected, and would apply to every transit line in the province: all municipal networks (including the TTC), GO Transit, and Ontario Northland Service.

The current rate for an Adult TTC monthly pass is $156, while a one-way PRESTO ticket costs $3.25.

Dubbed “Buck-a-Ride”, the plan is estimated to remove 400,000 cars from the road on a daily basis, and is expected to cost $710M in 2022-2023, and $1B in 2023-2024. The Liberals would commit to “fully replacing transit systems’ lost revenue, ensuring no municipal government is impacted by this decision,” though it hasn’t been revealed at this time where and how such funds would be accessed.

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“Ontario is gripped by an affordability crisis and families expect their government to act. Ontario Liberals have a better plan. Our plan will provide families with immediate relief within the first 100 days of being elected, by slashing the price of transit to a buck-a-ride,” said Del Duca. “Under our plan, someone hopping on the GO train from Oakville to head in for a Blue Jays game will save nearly $20 on their round trip. And a commuter taking the GO from Whitby to Toronto would save more than $300 dollars a month.”

The Liberals would also invest $375M in annual transit operating funding to expand service, support more routes, and improve accessibility. As well, they'd make transit completely free for veterans.

The announcement takes pointed aim at the Ontario PC’s focus on highway expansion, with last week’s Budget earmarking a total of $25.1B over the next 10 years. Projects would include the construction of the new Highway 7, widening of Highway 17, and of course, the controversial Highway 413. These infrastructure projects have been touted by the sitting PCs as a solution to Ontario’s gridlock issues, but have received considerable backlash from environmental groups, local citizens, as well as experts who believe they’ll have no significant impact on traffic flow.

“Ontario Liberals are offering a choice,” Del Duca continued. “With the Ford Conservatives, Ontario gets billions wasted on one highway that won’t be completed for a decade and will not make a difference on commute times. With our Ontario Liberal plan, people will get immediate relief for their commute and in their wallet.”

The Liberals also -- rather cheekily -- point out that their dollar-per-ride transit plan undercuts the cheapest beer currently for sale at $1.65. 

“Unlike Doug Ford’s broken promise of ‘buck-a-beer,’ we will deliver ‘buck-a-ride’ for all transit riders,” Del Duca added.

While the provincial Liberals have yet to release a costed election platform, today’s announcement follows Del Duca’s previous pledge to ban handguns in the province within a year of taking office.