presto card pass ttc

Some Toronto transit riders are shocked by the latest Presto system changes

The late September rollout of new Presto card machine updates has made it easier for riders to track their trips and balances using the transit pass, but not everybody is thrilled about the changes.

Starting on September 25, the first updated machines began to roll out, offering riders details about their fares, transfers, remaining card balances and much more. Maybe too much?

One change makes it much harder for fare evaders to use free-to-ride Presto cards meant for children 12 and under. Machines now make a three-toned chime sound and flash yellow to indicate a child card is being used, and people are getting busted in hilarious fashion.

In September, the TTC told blogTO that these changes are being introduced in response to customer feedback and decrease fare fraud instances.

Reactions to the announcement were polarizing, with many happy that blatant fare evasion was being addressed, and others seeming disappointed to lose out on their free rides.

While a 2020 TTC report hints that the majority of the roughly 23,000 child cards issued are being used for fare evasion — many being scanned at times and locations inconsistent with what you'd expect from kids 12 and under — there are likely at least a few people that are evading fares as a matter of necessity.

An adult monthly TTC pass will run you a bill of $156, equivalent to 48 trips paying cash fare. Even with assistance for the cost, like the City of Toronto's Fair Pass Discount Program, TTC fare is still too costly for many struggling to make ends meet in a wildly expensive city.

Updates to the Presto card system also acknowledge users of the Fair Pass program. Readers and fare gates will beep once when users under the program tap their card, instead of the regular two beeps.

Having the machines project data like age, income level, and the remaining balance of riders to all within range to see or hear is already raising privacy concerns.

Starting today, the remaining Presto machines will be updated throughout the month of October.

Lead photo by


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