Public transit riders in Toronto will finally be able purchase fares with their credit or debit cards.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2015, TTC riders can use the cards to buy ten or more single fares or any multi-fare pass at all 69 subway stations throughout the network.
The changes were announced by Mayor John Tory and TTC CEO Andy Byford, alongside TTC chair Josh Colle, this morning at Victoria Park subway station.
Tory was critical of the city’s outdated cash-only system currently in place for the vast majority of transactions.
“In a global city like Toronto, the idea that most transactions would have to take place with cash is almost prehistoric,” he said.
“It’s 2014, it’s Toronto, and I think people have the right to expect better than that.”
Byford said it will cost the TTC about $1.5 million over the course of five years to absorb the total cost of introducing the credit and debit ports. He pointed out that currently the TTC incurs significant costs to handle the cash that moves through the system.
The trio stressed that the move is a step toward giving riders the ability to use their PRESTO pass cards throughout the region’s entire transit network.
While Byford admitted that PRESTO implementation has been slow in Toronto relative to other municipalities throughout the province, he said he hopes to see 14 stations outfitted with the necessary equipment for PRESTO card users by next year.
Over the next two years, Byford said, the TTC hopes to have all 2,000 buses and the remaining subway stations equipped for PRESTO card use, while streetcars will take considerably longer.
Updating TTC policy has been at the forefront of Tory's agenda since he took office at the beginning of the month. Last week, Tory and Byford revealed that the 504 King streetcar will allow all-door boarding to reduce travel times aboard the route, the city's busiest.