The TTC might finally allow contactless debit card payment on Presto machines
One of the key complaints about the system, which is used on networks throughout the GTHA, is the fact that users have to pre-load their Presto card — with funds taking up to 24 hours to appear — or spend the time to pay their fare at one of the separate standalone machines, which rarely seem to be working.
But soon, riders may have the option to simply tap their credit or debit card at TTC station fare gates and on vehicles.
Thx TTC. We will have an open payment (credit, debit, mobile wallets) pilot later this year on UP Express. To lay the groundwork for this, new Presto devices are being rolled out on GO Transit, 905 transit & UP.— Anne Marie Aikins (@AMAwithAMA) August 22, 2020
Presto principal Metrolinx will be testing out what it calls contactless "open payment" on Toronto's Union Pearson Express in 2021, with potential for extension to the TTC in 2023, according to a new report from the city's transit body.
It would mean the replacement of all of the Presto tap readers at subway stations and on buses and streetcars, which is why the move isn't the quickest and easiest to make.
Open payment, which would allow riders to pay by tapping their credit or debit card on a Presto device, will require replacing Presto machines across the TTC network. Not a small job.— Ben Spurr (@BenSpurr) September 24, 2020
But, it's something commuters in Toronto have been waiting for since network was first introduced more than 10 years ago, as well as a promise Metrolinx made to the city in its initial contract — a promise that the TTC actually brought the Crown agency to arbitration over, in part, last year, among other major issues.
Along with the potential for far easier fare payment, TTC riders can also celebrate the end of Presto's 25 cent overdraft fee, which was nixed earlier this week.
To lay the groundwork for this, new devices are already being rolled out on GO Transit and other transit agencies as we prepare for everyone to pay with debit, credit or phones. We’ll share information as our plans progress. ^fs 2/2— Metrolinx (@Metrolinx) September 15, 2020
But, as per the TTC report, there's a chance that the commission may completely end their relationship with Presto after all of the hardships and losses it has caused.
As the TTC's CEO writes to its board this month, "looking further ahead, our current base term agreement with Presto expires as early as November 2027. At that point, the TTC may choose to enter into its own contract with a fare collection service provider."
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