On Wednesday the TTC and Toronto police announced that more than 60 people have been arrested and charged after a five-month probe into the sale of fake Metropasses.
TTC spokesman Brad Ross was on Metro Morning Thursday to talk about the problem, one he says the TTC is taking very seriously.
The cost: The sale of fake Metropasses costs the TTC $2 million in lost revenue each year. Bogus tokens add another $3 million.
How are they made? Ross says that's still part of the investigation. Police believe there's a lab pumping out the fake passes somewhere in the GTA, but offered few details about this.
How are they sold? Ross said most sales happen on websites such as Kijiji. Police also said word of mouth is the source of many sales.
How can you tell if the pass you've got is phony? First clue is it won't work at the automatic turnstiles at subway stations. Also the serial numbers on the pass should be raised. If the numbers are flush with the card's surface, it's not a real pass. The back of the pass should have a matte (flat) finish with no shine. Police say the fake passes they've seen so far have a shiny finish on both sides.
Another clue? How about common sense? A non-discounted Metropass costs $133.75. If you paid $45 from someone you met on an online, it's likely counterfeit. "Our message is buyer beware," said Ross. "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Most people who are buying fake passes from criminals know what they're doing."
Presto changeo? Ross said the new Presto electronic fare card, which the TTC will put in use on new streetcars entering service this year, will put a big bite in all kinds of evasion, including fake Metropasses.