TTC considers major changes to fare payment
Options include rush-hour peak fares, moving Metropasses to Presto
The TTC board is looking at sweeping changes to how passengers pay their fares, including the possibility of using higher fares for rush hour.
A report before the board today presents a variety of new fare options tied in part to the integration of the prepaid electronic fare card Presto.
The card allows passengers to pre-load their card with money and pay fares by tapping electronic readers at TTC stations and as they board buses and streetcars.
Possible changes include:
- A single cash fare by 2017. This would eliminate a discount currently enjoyed by seniors and students no matter how they pay their fare. The discount would remain for passengers who use Presto, so this is a way to spur them toward the prepaid card and away from cash and tokens.
- System-wide proof of payment. This means passengers have to provide proof of payment on all vehicles, not just streetcars. The Presto card acts as a proof of payment because fare inspectors carry card readers that can test whether the card was "tapped" to start the journey.
- Tap off at subway stations. GO Transit passengers currently "tap off" using their Presto card, which tells the system where their trip ended. Tapping off at subway stations would provide the TTC with better customer journey data. This would require new fare gates in all stations, likely in 2017.
- Peak and off-peak pricing. Should passengers pay more during rush hour? The report says this is something that could be looked at as part of the 2018 budget process.
- Moving Metropasses to Presto. Instead of issuing a different card for every month, the Presto card would essentially become the rider's Metropass. Customers would continue to receive the Metropass discount.
Tickets and tokens will be sold until the end of 2016 and accepted until mid-2017.
The TTC plans to make Presto card readers functional on all streetcars soon. Currently riders can only use Presto on the new streetcars, which are only running on the 510 Spadina and 509 Harbourfront route.
The machines are now installed at the front and back doors of most older streetcars, but most aren't working yet. The TTC says Presto users should continue to bring cash or tokens for their journey until all the Presto machines are working, which is expected soon.