Torontonians hopping on a low-floor streetcar will have to make sure they have tickets, tokens, cash or a Presto card by Dec. 20, as the TTC has announced it is removing the option to pay with debit/credit cards after the machines on the streetcars started malfunctioning.
The Toronto Transit Commission announced Monday that between now and Dec 20., it will be removing the payment option permanently because it was causing the machines to become “unreliable.”
TTC spokesperson Stuart Green said it was a “difficult decision” the TTC and Metrolinx came to after conducting tests and looking at other options. The contractors who installed the Presto machines will be doing the work to remove the debit/credit payment option, Ross said.
Anne Marie Aikins, a spokesperson for Metrolinx, which is overseeing the implementation of Presto, said an issue with the machines was noticed a couple months ago, and the credit/debit function was removed for a short time to see if that was causing the issue. The machines worked more reliably without the debit/credit option, she said, so the decision was made to remove the function completely.
She said she was uncertain as to how exactly the debit/credit option had caused the machines to malfunction. The machines do not need to be removed from the streetcars in order for the debit/credit option to be programmed out.
Aikins said the change will only affect a small percentage of the population. Out of the TTC’s “non-Presto customers,” meaning those who use tokens, tickets or change on the TTC, only 10 per cent used the debit/credit option on the new streetcars, she said.
More and more payment options are disappearing for TTC users as Presto cards rise to become the main method of transportation — Metropasses will be discontinued on Dec. 31 in favour of monthly passes to be loaded onto Presto cards, and tokens are expected to be phased out by the end of 2019.
Debit and credit can still be used at Fare Vending, Self-Serve Reload Machines and collector booths at TTC subway stations in order to purchase tickets or tokens or reload Presto cards.
Alexandra Jones is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @AlexandraMaeJ