Toronto ‘s Metrolinx plans to start testing an open payment function on its Presto fare-card system as early as next year — but it could still be some time before TTC riders are able to use the long-awaited feature: bank card payments on public transport network.
Open payment would allow transit users to pay their fares by tapping a contactless credit card, debit card or mobile phone on a Presto reader.
Toronto tests bank card payments on public transport network
It’s seen as key way to modernize transit systems by enabling passengers to pay for their rides without having to purchase specialized products such as tickets or fare cards.
Metrolinx, the provincial transit agency that owns Presto, has for years been promising to implement the feature but hasn’t provided a firm timetable for doing so. Now, the company says it plans to test the payment method on GO Transit buses next year.
Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster revealed the trial Monday at a press conference in Etobicoke with Mayor John Tory and Premier Doug Ford. The event was called to mark the city and provincial governments reaching a major transit agreement last week.
“We are very excited about an open payment trial that will start somewhere during 2020, that is going to start open payments on Presto,” Verster said in response to a reporter’s question about the fare card.
He defended Presto in the wake of fresh concerns raised by a city auditor general report released last month. It concluded oversight of the system is so lax it’s impossible to know how much fare revenue the TTC is losing as a result of malfunctioning Presto machines.
Verster said his agency is working with the city to address those issues, but argued transit riders have adopted Presto in large numbers and customer satisfaction is “exceptionally high.”