The TTC will be moving forward with a plan to adopt the province's Presto fare card system, an apparent change of heart after it touted an alternate payment system of its own.
A staff report to be presented at a TTC meeting Wednesday recommends the city begin negotiations with the Ontario government and the regional transportation authority Metrolinx on how to implement the Presto system.
The push for Presto comes as part of a deal with the Ontario government in which the province signed off on scrapping the Transit City light rail plan in favour of dedicating $8.2 billion for the construction of an underground light rail line under Eglinton Avenue, said TTC Chair Karen Stintz.
When the revised plans were announced, "it was clear that the Eglinton Crosstown would have Presto as its method of payment," Stintz said.
Adam Giambrone, her predecessor, had opposed the Presto card, saying it was too expensive and had sought proposals on another open payment system where riders could pay fares with the tap of a credit card. But the province had long maintained the Greater Toronto Area should have only one payment system.
Presto 'will evolve' to open payment
"Over the years, we've slowly been moving to implementation of Presto and we did want to look at other options just to make sure we were getting the best deal for the city and for the riders," said Stintz. But she suggested more provincial money would be required in order to fully implement the plan.
"And I think that if the province does do what it says it's going to do in terms of providing the city with financial assistance, we will be able to offer that deal for the riders," she said.
Stintz said Presto "will evolve" into an open payment system, but couldn't say how long it would be before the system was fully implemented.
The system is being tested at twelve subway stations as part of a pilot project.
A Presto system would require riders to purchase a fare card, and then load it with money before using.