TTC fare evasion

The TTC is having trouble making people pay for rides

It's no secret that fare evasion is a problem for Toronto's public transit system.

By some estimates, the TTC is losing as much as $50 million a year to people who sneak aboard buses, streetcars and into subway stations without paying their requisite $3.25 – and the problem is getting worse.

You'd think those scary fare inspectors would have helped a bit.

An internal TTC position paper obtained by The Toronto Star and published this week states that "revenue control has been increasingly constrained as a result of broad, successive changes to policy over the last three years."

The confidential draft report, dated February 9, 2018, goes so far as to rank the TTC's own fare enforcement abilities as "poor."

It blames this such things as malfunctioning Presto equipment, the all-door streetcar boarding policy, and especially the 2015 introduction of rules that allow kids under 12 to ride for free.

TTC officials told The Star that the agency "has no evidence the new rules have contributed to increased fare evasion," and that they're working with Metrolinx to improve Presto inspection devices.

Broken machines do seem to result in a lot of unpaid fares, whether at subway stations where TTC attendants wave people through because Presto isn't working, or on streetcars when multiple pay stations are unable to accept cash / tokens / debit.

As for people pretending to be kids, the TTC board approved a policy in 2016 that would require all riders between 10 and 19 to carry TTC-issued photo ID with their Presto cards.

That policy was meant to go into effect by 2017 but, as The Star's Ben Spurr points out, it has yet to be implemented.

Lead photo by

Lauren O'Neil


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