Stand in the entrance to a Danforth subway station for just a few moments, and you realize two things. First, you notice all the Presto cards tapping the automated gates, allowing a smooth entrance for commuters.
Second, you realize that quite a few people still pay their fare using the cash and token system in the much smaller lane overseen by a TTC fare collector.
Now, after years of competition between the Presto system and the now-antiquated token and cash system, the plan for Metrolinx’s Presto to completely merge with the TTC is set in stone.
Some key dates:
|Dec. 31, 2018
|Metropasses will be discontinued at the end of this year (Dec. 31, 2018). Customers can purchase either a TTC Monthly Pass or a 12 Month Pass on Presto.
|A paper Presto ticket will be introduced in June 2019. This ticket will be good for single-use travel. Customers will also be able to purchase multiple-ride Presto tickets. They will cost the same as the cash fare: $3.25 for adults and $2.10 for seniors/youth.
|Aug. 3, 2019
|Tickets and tokens will be available for sale until Aug. 3, 2019.
|Dec. 31, 2019
|Tickets and tokens will be valid until Dec. 31, 2019.
|As of Jan. 1, 2020, customers will need a Presto card to pay their fare. They can also pay by cash. They will no longer be able to pay by ticket, token or TTC pass.
Trent Duncan is a young commuter who travels daily through East York on his way to work.
“Every weekend I take my gran to and from whatever she’s doing with her friends, and she doesn’t let me drive her, she always makes us ride the bus. For a long while, she didn’t have a Presto card for when I couldn’t make it or when I’m not around. She still needs help keeping it loaded, so I do it for her.”
When it comes to Presto, it appears there is still a split among some users of East York’s transit system. Many don’t have the knowledge or patience to attach a credit card to their Presto card. They will have to resort to converting cash or debit into Presto fare at the station if they choose not to use Presto’s online benefits.
The TTC’s Heather Brown offered some advice.
“We have information on our website at ttc.ca/presto. We share information on social media, through PA announcements in our stations, and we also share the information internally with our staff so they are able to answer questions.
“We’ve also launched a TTC and Presto advertising campaign at the end of August called Another Reason to Presto. The campaign is promoting Monthly Passes on Presto, the 12 Month pass on Presto, the two-hour transfer on Presto, and kids 6-12 needing Presto cards.”
In the last year, Shoppers Drug Mart has begun selling Presto cards, in concert with Metrolinx. In order to purchase your card and a month-long or 12 Month Metropass along with it, you have to take the card to an eligible TTC station in order to get the pass portion of the card activated.
That makes this next part incredibly important.
When purchasing a Presto card and Metropass at a Shoppers Drug Mart, make sure to ask the cashier where your nearest eligible station is to link your card to your purchased pass.
These steps can often be seen as roadblocks by impatient commuters who simply want to get to their location quickly and without having to register or load an empty card.
That makes the awareness campaign by the TTC and Metrolinx a test for the offices in charge of outreach to seniors, students, disabled transit users, and others relying on transit who may not be able to fully take advantage of the Presto system on their own.