Saturday, February 3, 2007

Metropass Discount Plan... why not?

I'm always bewildered every month at Yonge and Bloor station when I see throngs of people lining up to buy the Metropass.

Now, I used to think the Metropass was totally unnecessary if you only use the TTC to go to work and back 5 days a week. 40 tickets a month at $21 is $84 a month - 16 bucks cheaper than the Metropass. I understand there's a convenience to having it (like skipping the collector booth lines or accessing collector-less stations where tickets won't work), but $16 seems a lot to pay for that.

That is, until I discovered the Metropass Discount Plan. If you make a commitment to buy the pass for 12 months, you'll get it at a guaranteed price of $91. This means it's only about $7 extra for the convenience of having the pass. To sweeten the deal, the federal government made transit passes tax-deductable, which has an estimated tax savings of about $130 a year if you buy the pass. 130 / 12 is about 10 bucks, which means it's now cheaper to buy the Metropass!

The other great thing is that each pass is mailed to you about a week before month end (the money is automatically deducted from your bank account at the start of the month). So it also means you never have to line up to buy a pass. It really boggles my mind why anybody bothers to wait in line to buy the expensive metropass. If you know you're going to be working at the same place for a year, which I assume most people are, and you know you buy a pass every month, why are you paying more to wait in line?

I think the lack of use of the Discount Plan is a question of bad marketing on the TTC's part. If people really understood the benefits, there's no way they'd wait in line every month. I'm very tempted to start a 'guerilla marketing' campaign at Yonge and Bloor next month, handing out flyers advertising the plan. Stay tuned.


Eric said...

You should visit Hong Kong to witness first hand the proper runnings of a municipal transit system. From routes to facilities, and prices to efficiency, there is simply no comparison and furthermore, no excuse for how poorly the TTC runs their operations.

It's almost as shameful and wasteful an organization as the U.N. Seriously.

Tom Mertron said...

Eric, same deal for Paris, London or Chicago. All world-class cities with world-class, modern transportation systems.

Andrew said...

A little late to the game, I know...but still a valid point. You are assuming that people use the Metropass for one round-trip per day, and only on weekdays. You've left out the hop-on, hop-off privs, short trips and any use on evenings and weekends! Surely this makes the MP worthwhile.

Tom Mertron said...

Those are definitely a bonus, but I'm using one round-trip per weekday as my 'baseline' for whether the purchase is worth it.

It used to be that the pass was only worth it ONLY if you made all those extra trips regularly in a month. Now it's worth it even if you're only commuting to work Mon-Fri.