shoppers drug mart

Toronto upset that Presto cards are only available at Shoppers Drug Mart

The TTC is growing ever closer to phasing out tokens and tickets in favour of a cashless, card-based payment system — but the transit agency can't, or at least won't, stop accepting legacy fare media until PRESTO cards are accessible to all.

Aside from online or within subway stations, PRESTO cards can currently only be purchased at Shoppers Drug Mart stores around the city.

Metrolinx made it so by signing an exclusivity deal with Loblaws Inc. in 2017 — the details of which have not been revealed in their entirety to the TTC.

"Customers who do not travel through a subway station or are not in the vicinity of Shoppers Drug Mart are negatively impacted," reads a report discussed during the TTC Board meeting at City Hall on Wednesday.

"Prior to the PRESTO implementation, over 1,200 third party locations sold TTC legacy fare media (currently approximately 700 locations)," the report continues. "Today, PRESTO can be purchased at 136 Shoppers Drug Mart locations in Toronto – through the Loblaws Agreement."

The report, authored by TTC Deputy CEO Kirsten Watson, explains that more point-of-purchase options must be made available in order for traditional forms of fare media to be phased out.

Sure, customers who don't live near a subway station or Shopper's Drug Mart can buy their passes through PRESTO's mobile app or website — but only if they have a credit card, internet access and a smartphone or computer.

"Based on the TTC's review of the current PRESTO retail network there are gaps in the North-West and Scarborough areas of the city and this is especially critical for those who wish to purchase fares with cash or cannot access the internet," reads the report.

"Access to PRESTO fares is critical, as the PRESTO card is the most cost efficient way to travel and will be the only alternative to cash in the future."

Fare accessibility is just one of several critical issues raised by the TTC in its June 2019 PRESTO implementation update.

Ongoing reliability issues and a lack of open payment systems are other stated reasons for the TTC to continue selling tokens and tickets "for the time being."

Lead photo by

Wikimedia Commons


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