A smart card system called “Presto” is being piloted by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) after a fare hike, a massive subway shutdown, a ticket collectors scandal and a recent paper ticket refund debacle. The TTC hopes that the smart card fare collection system will help to restore the city’s ailing public transportation system.
Used in New York and Hong Kong since the mid-’90s, the cards allow riders to use debit and credit cards to bank money on magnetic swipe cards used to enter and exit transit systems.
Currently, the TTC still functions on an outdated token system, which led to mass token hoarding when the TTC announced a fare hike last year. This caused the TTC to run out of tokens and forced the organization to issue paper tickets as a temporary fix, making riders pay 25 cents more per ride as a result.
That’s where the smart card pilot project comes in. For now, the smart cards are only being tried out at a few TTC subway stations throughout Toronto and several Greater Toronto Area stops. Toronto residents are expected to receive their Presto cards by 2013 and see a massive electronic restructuring of their transit system.
News Source: The Star
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