What you need to know about PRESTO on the TTC
The TTC is in the midst of a massive roll out of PRESTO across its system, a move which will finally bring Toronto's transit provider into the modern era of fare payment. During the the implementation of the card-based system, however, there's bound to be some hiccups and confusion as the old school fare system and PRESTO temporarily co-exist.
By the end of 2016, the TTC plans to have PRESTO deployed across the system. It will take until at least mid 2017 to complete the installation of the new walk-through fare gates at all subway stations. In the meantime, there are few useful things to bear in mind as you make your commute.
PRESTO is already available in some capacity at over 30 subway stations, but the roll out of the new fare gates has only just begun in spring. At stations like Main, Wellesley, Bay and Sherbourne, riders will find that fares paid by cash, tickets, and tokens have been reduced solely to line staffed by the station collector.
Prior to the full rollout of PRESTO, however, some of the fare gates at each of these stations and those to be equipped with new fare gates in the future will accept the swipe of a Metropass. This is also the case for secondary entrances that aren't staffed by a collector. If you use a Metropass, all entrances to subway stations should work for you through this process.
For a schedule of PRESTO fare gate installation through the summer, check out the TTC's info page.
PRESTO is now available on all streetcars. There shouldn't be much confusion here. If boarding a legacy (old) streetcar, you merely need to tap as you get on at the front doors and take a transfer from the operator in the event that the next leg of your journey involves a bus (as not all of these are PRESTO-equipped as yet).
It's pretty much the same deal on new streetcars, but there are card readers at all doors, and transfers are dispensed by a machine near the middle doors.
The TTC is aggressively rolling out PRESTO on its buses. There are 178 buses currently outfitted with PRESTO readers, all of which operate on routes located on the west side of Toronto. They are being installed based on maintenance garage rather than priority, so you can expect other areas of the city to be added when new garages are delivered readers.
THE BIG PROVISO
Because we're in the midst of the roll out, the TTC advises that riders be prepared to pay with tokens, tickets or cash in the event that a station or vehicle isn't equipped with PRESTO technology.
Photo by Raysonho.
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