TTC to launch Presto in 2016

Toronto commuters will be able to use their Presto card on all Toronto Transit Commission-controlled vehicles by the end of 2016, one-year ahead of the TTC’s original 2017 deadline.

The TTC currently forecasts that Presto will be added to all streetcars by the end of 2015, followed by buses by the summer of 2016, and subway stations by the end of 2016.

The TTC Presto implementation will allow commuters to transition smoothly between different transit agencies. It will reduce wait times at subway stations and bus stops, and it will create a payment method that could potentially eliminate tokens and paper tickets.

One TTC employee told JNM Journal there are currently too many methods of payment, making it difficult to check fares.  Tourists are often surprised to find that the TTC doesn’t take Presto.

According to the TTC employee, the addition of Presto will improve reduce potential confrontations between riders and operators by reducing the number of interactions.

Despite it’s benefits, the adoption of the Presto system on all TTC endeavours will disappoint some riders.

Since it’s implementation within GO Transit, Presto has faced scrutiny from many daily commuters.

You. Me. Ride This Crazy Train: A blog that allows GO Transit commuters to voice their opinions.
On her blog, You. Me. Ride This Crazy Train, CJ Smith does not shy away from critiquing and publishing content related to GO Transit.

Many of the comments, questions and stories posted on the website have been aimed at the Presto payment system.

“If it’s the same system or same generation of PRESTO currently in use for GO Transit passengers, I have serious doubts about its reliability and its usability,” said Smith.

Smith understands why the TTC would adapt the Presto system, as the TTC transit system is fairly complex.

“I’m curious how TTC passengers will react when they discover they have to wait up to 24 hours to use the funds they deposit,” Smith said. “As for benefits, at least it replaces the need to purchase tokens which if lost, are not replaceable, where a PRESTO card, provided it’s registered, can be replaced.”

Many commuters also complain about Presto cards breaking when the weather gets cold.

Numerous other card programs have been switching to either smart cards or electronic/mobile applications to suit the needs of their users.

Today, Starbucks, Indigo, and Cineplex have become leaders in allowing consumers to pay and use a mobile application instead of a physical card.

“We’re past the point of no return I’m afraid and despite its flaws, we’re stuck with PRESTO,” said Smith.

“PRESTO already exists and is in use with other systems in the greater Toronto area so it only seems logical the TTC should embrace it – warts and all”.

The Presto system was first installed at Union Station in Toronto in 2007.

By the time all TTC stations and vehicles are equipped with the system, it will have become a 10-year project.

Photo Courtesy of: “TTC 1515” by Secondarywaltz

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