PRESTO to be big part of TTC modernization, Byford says

Will make boarding buses, streetcars, subways easier, according to TTC head

The use of the PRESTO fare system will increase along with the modernization of Toronto’s transit system, according to the TTC’s chief executive officer.

During this week’s TTC Town Hall, a meeting where customers can voice concerns and ask questions, transit head Andy Byford announced the increased usage of the PRESTO fare system that will be implemented in the near future.

“[Customers] will walk into that station and they will go in and tap on a PRESTO reader,” Byford said. “You might want to get off and board onto a bus, and that bus will be one of our brand new articulated buses, once again using the PRESTO reader that you will find on both the bus and on the streetcar.”

The vision of the PRESTO fare system as an integral part of the future transit system was shared by Cheryn Thoun, TTC’s head of customer communications.

“We continue to work to modernize our system and create conveniences that we know customers have come to expect,” Thoun said. “We’ve installed PRESTO card readers in 100 streetcars and in the coming weeks we will install the remainder, so all streetcars will be PRESTO enabled by the end of December.”

However, some customers appeared skeptical about the proposed change.

“Does sytem-wide PRESTO mean no more discount transit?” one TTC customer asked via Twitter.

“Why are we even using PRESTO when the banks will give us the system for free?” asked another customer who attended the TTC Town Hall.

Byford responded to these questions by saying that, overall, the increased usage of the PRESTO fare system will make boarding the TTC easier for all customers.

“You don’t have to carry one card for Toronto, another card for Mississauga, another one for YRT — you will have one card,” Byford said. “We will move straight to new-generation PRESTO where you won’t even have to have a PRESTO card, you’ll be able to use a debit card, a credit card or even your phone.”