ttc tokens phase out

People in Toronto are upset the TTC is getting rid of tokens

As the TTC moves closer to fully phasing out its legacy fare types in favour of its new Presto system, residents are raising concerns about the consequences the switch will have on some transit users.

Some commuters are just plain annoyed that the TTC will no longer be selling tokens, tickets and transit passes at any of its stations after November 30 — and that it won't be offering refunds or a transfer of funds to Presto for those who have already purchased these fares.

Others are quick to point out that buying tokens at a station is a favourable, more convenient option for Torontonians experiencing poverty or homelessness, especially considering the savings when tokens are purchased in bulk, as well as the extra $6 base cost of a Presto card. 

A group of representatives from the Toronto branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association, multi-service women's agency Sistering and the Toronto Drop In Network released a letter to media today expressing these and other concerns for what these changes will mean for vulnerable residents.

"Tokens are available in many locations, less expensive if you can buy three or more, indestructible, easy to use and to give to someone else to use, and there is no expiry date for something that you have already paid for," Toronto Drop In Network manager and Fair Fare Coalition member Susan Bender says in the letter. 

"The Single Presto Ticket has almost none of these features – and it goes in the garbage after it has been used for one ride!”

The letter also notes that seniors, low-income residents and those with mobility issues may have trouble making the extra trip to third-party retailers instead of purchasing tokens and tickets at a station.

And that some residents may not even have a place to keep something like a pre-loaded Presto card safe.

"People who rely on the TTC and need to pay as they go are going to have even more difficulty figuring out how to buy and pay for their TTC rides," it reads.

Though 80 per cent of TTC riders have allegedly already made the transition to Presto, it remains to be seen how the switch will affect certain segments of the city's population, and if any additional accommodations will be made for them in future transit system plans.

Lead photo by

Dominic Bugatto


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