Tokens, tickets to become obsolete in 2017: TTC
Joshua Freeman, CP24.com
Published Monday, June 22, 2015 5:24PM EDT
The TTC has pegged 2017 as the year that tickets and tokens will officially go out of fashion as the transit system moves forward with its program of modernization.
The updated timeline was revealed at a TTC Board meeting Monday in an update on the implementation of the Presto fare card system.
As of November, Presto card readers were installed at 15 subway stations in the city. The TTC has been slowly adding card readers at more downtown stations over the past few months. The agency said Monday that 26 stations will be equipped with the readers by July.
Speaking with CP24, Deputy TTC CEO Chris Upfold said the rollout will be complete across the TTC by the end of 2016.
“By the end of this year, every streetcar on our network will have Presto on it. So if you just use a streetcar, you’re going to be able to get on using your Presto card. And by the end of next year, every streetcar, every bus, every wheel trans vehicle, every subway station will be entirely Presto enabled,” Upfold said. “That’s when we’ll start to think about ‘how do we stop selling tickets and tokens because we don’t need those anymore.’”
He said the TTC is still working on an implementation plan for phasing out paper tickets and tokens but is hoping to begin doing so by mid-2017. He said the transition might include machines that would allow customers to deposit old tokens to add credit to their Presto cards.
Eventually, the system will allow people to pay for a ride using a regular payment card.
“Then in 2017 we start to move into the world where you use your credit card, your debt card or your open payment phone to get on and off our system,” Upfold said.
In January TTC CEO Andy Byford said the TTC would go “all out” to accelerate the rollout of Presto so that it would be complete in 2016 instead of 2017 as part of the agency’s effort to modernize.
That move followed an awkward back-and-forth between the TTC and Metrolinx in November, with neither agency providing a clear timeline for the system’s implementation.
On Monday, TTC Chair Josh Colle told CP24 the rollout is what TTC customers expect from a modern transit system.
“We’re really moving to a system that has been in place around the world for years and years,” Colle said. “We’ve made it a priority.”
Colle said Presto will be more convenient for TTC riders and will eventually enable the TTC to implement a range of pricing methods for using the system.
However the head of the union representing TTC workers expressed doubt about whether the timeline is feasible.
“I think it’s unrealistic that they’re going to eliminate our existing fare media within a year-and-a-half from now,” TTC union president Bob Kinnear told reporters.
He said the TTC still has not revealed how fare structures would change once Presto is implemented.
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