presto card

Contactless debit and credit card payment is finally coming to Toronto transit this year

There has been a lot of talk in recent years about modernizing Toronto's transit system to allow commuters to tap on with their debit or credit card, but it looks like the change may finally be happening this year.

For those who are sick of the glitches in the Presto system — which the TTC has been looking at potentially replacing in the coming years — or who just want an easier, alternative way to pay for rides, the commission and Metrolinx are aiming to bring open payments to vehicles "as early as the end of 2022," according to a new document heading to the TTC Board this week.

The proposal, which is part of the TTC's 10-year fare collection outlook, includes options to pay directly with a bank card or with a virtual card on mobile.

The virtual card will be usable for all fare types, while direct contactless credit or debit payment will only be applicable for set adult fares.

"For customers who are able and willing to tap their credit or debit card to travel, Open Payments present minimal obstacles in paying a transit fare. With this new capability, there is nothing to buy or load. To pay their fare, customers simply tap their physical credit or debit card or use the same cards on their mobile device," the TTC's chief strategy and customer officer writes in a new report on the subject.

"And for more tech-comfortable customers, virtual cards will provide a smartphone-based experience with many similarities to the physical PRESTO card."

The move, which will of course necessitate an update to Presto readers across the network, is pending approval by the board at its meeting on Thursday.

But, given that it's something the TTC and Metrolinx have been looking at and actively testing for some time — and something customers have been asking for — it is sure to go through, hopefully on the proposed timeline.

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