Presto

TTC says full transition to Presto has been delayed indefinitely

After years of pushing back deadlines, issuing ominous warnings and losing millions of dollars to the glitch-plagued rollout of its new cashless fare payment system, the TTC has finally had enough of trying to make PRESTO happen — or at least within a specific time frame.

A report set to go before the transit agency's Board next week reveals that the TTC will not stop selling tickets and tokens by the end of this year, as planned, unless Metrolinx can prove that that PRESTO is actually ready.

"Given that there are gaps in the Agreement and delays in this year’s deliverables, yet to be fulfilled, the TTC will continue to sell and accept tickets and tokens for the time being," reads the report.

"As outstanding milestones are accomplished we will monitor and report back to the Board with any changes to the stop selling date and a target to stop accepting."

The organization's Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Operations, Kirsten Watson, writes in the report that the TTC is now aiming to stop selling legacy fare media this November, but tokens and tickets will still be accepted at fare gates until further notice.

"There are still a number of items yet to be fulfilled from our agreement with Metrolinx and we want to ensure our customers have a smooth transition away from tickets and tokens," reads the report, which identifies several "impact dependencies which must be resolved" before PRESTO can be rolled out in full.

Ongoing reliability issues are chief among the transit agency's concerns, but glitchy readers are only one part of the problem.

The TTC alleges that Metrolinx has also failed to deliver on several previously-promised features that are necessary for a full transition, including the rollout of single-use PRESTO tickets and the ability for customers to top-up their accounts using debit or credit cards.

Even if these (and other) lingering problems are resolved immediately, the phaseout date for accepting tokens will still need to change. 

"Based on the gaps in the Agreement and other implementation considerations, there are a number of dependencies that must be fulfilled before TTC stops selling tickets and tokens," reads the report.

"Once the critical dependencies are resolved and legacy fare media is fully retired, the original vision from 10 years ago would still not be realizable in part due to the lack of open payment capabilities in the near future."

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