presto machine broken ttc

Presto problems have led to millions of free TTC rides

The torturous, glitch-plagued rollout of Presto — Toronto's new standard method of payment for public transit — has cost the TTC more money than anyone could have predicted when the system was first introduced.

Transit riders, on the other hand, may have saved a few bucks since 2016... at least in the short term.

Data published this weekend by the Toronto Star suggests that malfunctioning Presto machines led to more than 1.4 million free TTC rides in 2016 and 2017 alone.

"Failing fare card machines on vehicles and in subway stations led to customers taking 579,970 trips without paying in 2016, and 864,705 trips in 2017," reported The Star, citing a freedom of information request and figures provided by the TTC.

"The unpaid journeys represent a small fraction of the more than one billion rides TTC customers took over those two years, but each one represents forgone revenue for the transit agency."

Earlier this year, the TTC was found to be seeking $4.2 million from Metrolinx — which owns and operates Presto— for revenue lost to malfunctioning Presto reader technology.

The Commission had already billed the provincial transit agency for the losses back then, but Metrolinx as yet to pony up any sort of payment.

The process of switching over all of Toronto's subway stations to a new, electronic fare payment system has proven more difficult than expected thanks to constantly broken card readers, malfunctioning fare gates and weird device glitches.

Full Presto integration should have been finished by mid-2017, but the TTC has been forced to halt and delay the process so many times that they're now aiming for "the end of 2019."

Lead photo by

PRESTO


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