Toronto: New App Will Enable Passenger to Book Ferry Ride


The Toronto waterfront. photo by
Toronto`s waterfront. photo by

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New way to buy tickets online aimed at cutting down lineups for island ferry.

If you’re reading this in line under the sweltering sun at Jack Layton Ferry Terminal, you are doing it wrong.

That’s the message from Mayor John Tory as the city looks to tackle line-ups in the rush of summer.

For the month of August, the city will be trialing ferry ticket sales through established Toronto-based mobile phone app Ritual. Those destined for Centre Island rides, picnicking and beaches will have a new way to buy tickets in advance or on the spot to avoid lines. The ticket will be scanned from the purchaser’s phone.

“We want people in Toronto, every single person, to feel that their island is accessible to them in every way,” Tory said Friday outside the gates in announcing the new partnership in a photo-op ahead of the long weekend.

A Toronto Ferry crossing Lake Ontario to the Toronto Island
A Toronto Ferry crossing Lake Ontario to the Toronto Island. photo by

If the trial goes to plan, Tory said the city will look at extending the availability of tickets on the Ritual app.

He reminded residents and tourists that the city already has online ticketing meant to prevent line-ups. But he said only 25 per cent of ferry riders are currently taking advantage of that option.

“We want more people to do that and we want to make it easier for more people to be able to do that,” Tory said.

Those tickets can be purchased ahead of time and printed out.

An important step, which Tory said the city has not advertised well, is that anyone who has pre-purchased a ticket should go straight to wicket 9, the leftmost line, to skip long waits with those buying with cash and cards.
Passengers from the foot of Bay St. arriving at Hanlon`s Point on the Sam McBride Ferry, ready to explore the island.

The Ritual app, a Toronto start-up, is primarily used to skip wait times for coffee and restaurant takeout.

The city is also looking to improve island trips by upgrading the fleet of aging ferries. Tory said the purchasing process is moving ahead and he is “optimistic” the first new ferry, with additional capacity, could be in the water as early as 2018.

The city’s parks and forestry department said that wayfinding and ferry capacity have both contributed to congestion at the terminal.

Toronto Island Ferries SIgn. Photo by
Toronto Island Ferries SIgn. Photo by

Spokesperson Matthew Cutler said the city also plans to add additional signage and are reviewing staffing to redirect visitors and deal with backlog at the gates.

Asked why the city doesn’t implement Presto card readers at the gates for residents already familiar with that system to avoid both line-ups and online ticketing, Cutler said it was “previously evaluated” and that “at the time the challenges were greater than the potential benefits.”

“As we work through ways to improve services we will definitely look at PRESTO again and other possible payment modes that could help residents and visitors get to Toronto Island Park faster and easier,” he said.

Fares effective May 1, 2016 (Includes return)

Adult$7.50Adult Monthly Pass$95.68
Student/Senior (ages 15 to 19; and over 65 with proof of age)$5.00Senior/Student Monthly Pass$71.24
Junior (ages 2 to 14)$3.65Junior Monthly Pass$47.84
Infant (under 2)Free
Small Vehicle$106.34Large Vehicle$132.86


  • Small vehicles weigh up to 18,000 kg
  • Large vehicles weigh 18,001 kg to 27,000 kg and include gasoline trucks.

* A discount of 10% is applied to the purchase of 10 or more prepaid passenger tickets when purchased online and/or at the ferry docks.

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