Although the cost of an adult Metropass has reached the $100 mark, more than a quarter-million people get one every month. In April, the TTC withdrew the perk of using subway parking lots for free, but now it’s selling more passes than ever.

Starting in July, showing a Metropass could get you a sizable discount at major local attractions such as the CN Tower, Ontario Place, Ontario Science Centre and the Toronto Zoo. That’s Phase 1 of the plan, says TTC marketing manager Alice Smith.

These offerings will cost the TTC almost nothing and should make the Metropass even more popular — so you’d think the commission would have tried it sooner. Actually, there was a similar scheme at the TTC about a decade ago but it just fizzled out.

In 2005, a rider named Joe Travers began promoting an unofficial “Metropass Affinity Plan” and convinced a number of local stores to cut prices for anyone showing a TTC monthly pass.

The environmentally-oriented Sierra Club then gave its support, and, in 2006, Toronto Mayor David Miller adopted the plan as a re-election promise. Four years after Travers made the initial effort, it’s a reality.

Now, Toronto businesses can do their bit — with a little encouragement from customers.

Store owners could start by deciding what offers might entice Metropass holders, and clients can help by asking about potential discounts. The TTC has not decided exactly when to unveil the second phase of its “Hot Dealz” scheme, but Smith says, “We’re ready to talk to anybody that wants to partner with us.” (Reach her at 416-393-4000.)

I’d also appreciate hearing from GTA businesses ready to promote transit.

Discounts are a good idea, but there are other possibilities. It’s time to get creative.
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GO Transit recently opened extra train platforms just south of Union Station, and I’ve been hearing about inadequate weather protection, locked doors and escalator problems. If you have used platforms 24 to 27, tell me your experience — good, bad or neutral.

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