Presto available at all TTC stations as of Friday morning
Faulty TTC card loaders, readers continue to frustrate passengers
The new Presto fare system will be up and — hopefully — running at every subway station in the city on Friday morning.
The TTC says the last Presto-free station, Coxwell, will have an operating card reader in place for the morning commute. But whether that new equipment will work is less certain, as some riders have been discovering.
Frustrated customers say they're facing big problems reloading their cards at Presto machines across the city, problems that Metrolinx, the provincial transit agency, insists it is close to ironing out.
Customers have also reported problems with card readers at subway stations and on streetcars and buses, TTC spokesperson Heather Brown said.
In total, the TTC has logged some 620 Presto complaints system-wide so far this year.
If the bugs that have plagued card loaders can't be worked out, Metrolinx says it has a brand new generation of fare-loaders waiting to be installed in TTC stations.
Customers could be partially at fault
"We will completely agree they are not reliable," Anne Marie Aikins, Metrolinx senior manager of media relations, said earlier this week.
"Sometimes it's just usability — a customer who takes their card out too fast. But we're also diagnosing whether it's a software fix that needs to happen."
Metrolinx is set to roll out "a next generation of self-loading machines that we expect to be much better than these current ones," she said, adding those machines would be delivered in the new year. Metrolinx is responsible for front-line maintenance of the Presto machines.
Currently there are 75 fare loaders in TTC stations across the city.
Customers have reported problems with card readers as well.
As of Friday, all buses will be equipped with them, the TTC says. Streetcars have been accepting Presto since 2015.
Help is on the way
The TTC's Brown told CBC Toronto on Thursday that the commission keeps track of rider complaints about faulty Presto machines, but doesn't distinguish between readers and loaders.
TTC chief executive officer Andy Byford on Wednesday expressed frustration with Presto gate glitches, but said help is on the way.
"There is a software patch and an increase in technology that we're about to deploy that will mean the station collector will be able to reset the system if it fails," he said. "They can't do that today. We have to wait for a Metrolinx technician to turn up."
He also said he's expressed that frustration to Metrolinx "practically daily."