Presto is testing single-use tickets on the TTC
The TTC is moving forward in its long-running, multiphased plan to go cashless by "field testing" disposable Presto cards this month.
As of today, Metrolinx employees will be loading up Presto vending machines at both Union and St. Clair West subway stations with temporary, limited-use transit tickets made of cardboard (with RFID technology embedded inside.)
Regular passengers won't be able to purchase these tickets until they roll out publicly in June, but workers will be testing them on TTC fare gates until the end of November — so keep your eyes peeled if you're curious.
Highly technical X-ray view of a test version PRESTO single use card/ticket. pic.twitter.com/SSbDUMARXX— Sue Motahedin - TTC (@TTCsue) November 6, 2018
After they do launch, the tickets are expected to replace forms of payment such as day passes, tokens and money for people who don't have Presto cards (though tokens will still be accepted on transit vehicles until the end of 2019, last we heard).
The eventual goal is to make the TTC a cashless transit system, similar to those in many big European and Asian cities — but it's not entirely feasible to expect every person in Toronto to have a Presto card.
Tourists, visitors and even locals who use public transit infrequently will still need a way to ride the red rocket once cash is eliminated, hence the introduction of these temporary cards.
We will have single use fare media available which will be dispensed through Presto vending machines which customers can purchase using cash ^HK— TTC Customer Service (@TTChelps) March 2, 2018
Like tokens, single-use Presto cards will be available for purchase at vending machines in subway stations and from select retailers around the city. They'll cost $3.25, or whatever the price of a regular cash fare is by the time they launch.
Unlike tokens, customers will be able to tap their temporary tickets on a Presto reader when entering a transit vehicle. It will streamline the payment system for sure, but some on Twitter are raising concerns about the plan's environmental impact.
The tickets are made of cardboard, as The Toronto Star notes, but cannot be recycled on account of their RFID chips.
The single use paper transfers are even worse because they contain BPA or BPS which are known carcinogens. https://t.co/e36VjxD77h https://t.co/GUkKroalOm . The source on BPS states that recycling paper containing BPS contaminates other paper.— Brandon F (@Brandon71926762) November 6, 2018
There's also the issue of replacing tokens, which many low-income and shelter residents rely on to get around the city.
The TTC addresses this on its website, writing that social service agencies and other organizations "will be able to purchase paper PRESTO cards to distribute to their clients."
More details are expected once confirmed, but it looks like schools and service agencies will be able to order single-use tickets in bulk.
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