presto card minimum

People in Toronto are actually happy about something Presto did

The glitchy, money-draining fare payment that everyone loves to hate is winning praise among Toronto transit users today for a change, following the announcement that it's reducing the "minimum load" from $10 to 5 cents.

Since its implementation across the TTC back in 2009, Presto has required all users to load a minimum of $10 onto their cards upon purchase. The same goes for people reloading their cards at retail outlets like Shoppers Drug Mart.

This will change on October 28, when Presto ditches its $10 minimum load requirement and allows customers to hold a balance of just 5 cents off the top.

"We know the minimum load requirement is a concern among our customers, who see it as a barrier to switching to PRESTO," said the agency's EVP Annalise Czerny in a press release on Tuesday.

"By taking this first step in lowering it to five cents across in-person retail and service outlets, we're making it easier for more people to discover the many benefits of getting a card, whether it's automatic top-ups when funds get too low or balance protection on lost or stolen cards."

The card itself will still cost $6 to purchase, of course — which many people think is ludicrous, given that the fee is non-refundable and doesn't translate into any sort of fare.

"The $10 minimum load on Presto was always bad policy, but the $6 charge for cards is probably worse," wrote Toronto journalist Matt Elliot in response to Presto's new, lower minimum. "Why can’t that $6 become transit credit?"

Also of note: This new minimum balance only applies to cards purchased at in-person, customer service outlets that sell Presto cards.

Those who buy or reload their card at kiosks within transit stations, as most of us do, are out of luck for now.

"Presto will take a phased approach to rolling out this improvement," reads the announcement.

"Minimum load amounts for all self-service machines and online transactions will be lowered in the near future after additional software changes are tested and rolled out."

Metrolinx says on its website that the minimum load change comes "as the TTC prepares to phase out older payment options like tickets and tokens."

It has yet to be seen when, exactly, these older forms of fare payment will be fully phased out, as the transition to a fully cashless system has already been delayed several times over the past two years.

In June, it was announced that the TTC has suspended the full roll-out of Presto "indefinitely" until all of the system's remaining problems have been solved and the promises of its parent company have been fulfilled.

Lead photo by

Toronto Transit Commission

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