presto credit debit ttc

Presto just expanded where you can pay with credit card or phone in Ontario

The province announced the latest rollout in Presto contactless payment on Monday morning, revealing that as of today, riders on several Ontario transit systems can tap credit cards, phones, and other smart devices to pay fares on a Presto machine.

Durham Region Transit, York Regional Transit, Burlington Transit and Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) are among the systems where a Presto card is no longer required as of Jan. 23.

But the TTC is a notable omission from the list, as the country's busiest and most-used transit network lags behind even its suburban neighbours.

"This latest milestone in the continuous advancement of the Presto system will provide users greater ease and convenience when travelling for work, school, leisure, and more," reads a statement from Stan Cho, Associate Minister of Transportation.

"The expansion of credit card payment on Presto devices in Durham Region, York Region, Burlington, and Hamilton is just another way our government is simplifying the transit experience for Ontarians," continued Cho's statement.

Metrolinx began rolling out credit, debit, and smart device payment on Presto devices in 2021 on the UP Express, expanding service across the GO Transit network and the Brampton, Mississauga and Oakville transit systems in 2022.

Today's announcement further expands the credit payment program to new transit systems, but the TTC remains a glaring omission from the list.

According to the province's announcement, it is "working to expand the credit card payment system to the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) and to introduce debit tapping payment capability to all transit agencies in the GTHA," though no timeline for this is mentioned.

Previous reports placed the implementation of TTC credit tap payment as early as late 2022, but this window has come and passed with no official announcement.

The TTC did indeed begin installing these new credit- and debit-enabled Presto machines last year in anticipation of the technology's adoption, but an official announcement about the implementation date is still forthcoming.

But the latest announcement only underscores the continued reliance on physical Presto cards on the TTC, as a ring of credit- and debit-tap-enabled transit systems form a growing ring around Toronto.

The tap payment system has only been enabled for a short time, but the province states that "as of January 11, 2023, there has been 518,475 boardings using credit cards on these transit systems."

Meanwhile, the TTC saw a ridership of 386,443,400 in a pandemic-affected 2021, boardings that could have been made a lot quicker and easier if passengers weren't scrounging around for change or a Presto card.

Implementation in Toronto would also be a win for the environment, according to Burlington Councillor and Deputy Mayor for the Environment, Rory Nisan.

Nisan said in a statement on Monday that "adding the credit card tap option to Burlington Transit fares means fewer barriers to getting on the bus, especially for new users, leading to more transit use, less emissions and a greener city."

Other benefits include tourism, a factor touted by Hamilton Mayor Andrea Horwath, saying, "whether it is a tourist exploring Hamilton for the first time or a resident needing to connect to the region, there has never been a more convenient time to take transit."

As a major tourist draw, some might say Toronto and the TTC should be doing everything in their power to fast-track this technology so tourists can easily navigate the local transit system and spend their hard-earned dollars aiding our city's economic recovery.

Lead photo by

City of Mississauga

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