TTC says it's losing tons of money from adults using child Presto cards
The TTC has a serious fare evasion problem, and it seems many transit users who aren't paying for rides are using child Presto cards to get away with it.
The transit agency recently released a new report indicating that they had lost over $70 million to fare evasion in 2019 alone, and somewhere between $12.4 million $23 million of that was likely the result of adults using child Presto cards.
According to the Toronto Star's Ben Spurr, the TTC audit committee held a meeting Tuesday night where they outlined the issue.
Adults using child Presto cards to ride free make up one-third of fare evasion, TTC says https://t.co/ULVzYZq17s— Ben Spurr (@BenSpurr) February 11, 2020
They say that almost nine in 10 trips taken using child Presto cards could be a result of "misuse," and that approximately 6.2 million trips were taken using child cards last year.
This, based on data that shows child Presto cards, which are meant to be reserved for children aged 12 and under, were being used at all different locations and at all times of day, often when children would be unlikely to take transit.
TTC presentation says that up to 89 per cent of *all* taps using a Presto child cards could be fraudulent, given patterns in data. For one thing, the appear to be a lot of children under 12 attending York University.— Ben Spurr (@BenSpurr) February 11, 2020
And the TTC report tells a similar tale.
"Passengers boarding without paying and fraudulent use of PRESTO child cards were the most prevalent types of fare evasion observed on buses," the report states, adding that the fraudulent use of presto child cards was one of the most common types of evasion noted in subway stations as well.
Stopped by the TTC audit & risk committee meeting earlier and based on the latest numbers, it remains incredible how many people — adults — are riding transit for free using child Presto cards.— Lauren Pelley (@LaurenPelley) February 11, 2020
It’s close to 34 per cent of all instances of fare evasion: pic.twitter.com/qiVil2f3dh
Toronto introduced child Presto cards back in 2015 as a way to get the subway gates to open for children, although they don't have to pay to take public transit.
The TTC's report says they've actually stopped the distribution of promotional child cards, but "they are still available through third party vendors and online sales (i.e. Kijiji, Craigslist) that advertise PRESTO cards with 'unlimited taps.'"
A solution to this widespread issue has yet to be solidified, though the TTC is considering getting rid of child Presto cards altogether, according to Spurr.
And the TTC report says "efforts to work with concession card distributors and implement controls over the issuance of multiple child cards and to ensure child cards being purchased are utilized solely for children age 12 years and under must continue."
Other possible solutions mentioned in the report suggest that they must "continue to work with Metrolinx to secure a modified fare product that aids in distinguishing between adult and child card usage."
"In the interim," suggests the report, "institute an annual child card concession renewal requirement to help reduce fraudulent use of PRESTO child cards."
The TTC is also implementing several measures to combat fare evasion as a whole, including hiring additional fare inspectors, more public education campaigns and trying to create a "culture shift towards fare compliance and a reset of social norms."
But so far none have proved very popular with the public.
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