Miaba Bernil bought a Presto on Wednesday and is happy that if lost, it can be replaced.
Dean Melamed has being using Presto for 10 months and likes that, when the tap machines aren’t working, drivers sometimes allow a free ride.
Rachel Henderson, who switched to Presto in November, says it’s annoying that she now has to buy cards for her two kids under 12.
With the end of the Metropass at the turn of the new year, Toronto is now officially living in a Presto world — with thousands of former Metropass users joining other TTC patrons who tap, not swipe, to get across the city.
The TTC phased out the Metropass at the end of December in favour of the Presto fare-card system. Between Dec. 15 and Wednesday, the TTC said it had sold about 120,000 Presto cards to former users of the Metropass.
“There are a number of factors here, including that this is a holiday period,” she said, noting they expect the numbers to continue to go up when people return to work and to school.
Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins said the influx of “late shoppers” caused heavy traffic on the group’s website on Tuesday.
“People had to wait a little bit before (their transactions) went through, and if you were impatient after 30 seconds people assumed it had crashed. It never crashed,” she said.
On Wednesday, Metrolinx set up a table at Union Station to help deal with any glitches commuters might encounter as they switched to the new system.
The TTC initially decided to adopt Presto back in 2011, and by end of 2016 Presto card reading machines were installed on all buses, streetcars and at least one entrance at every subway station.
But the process of phasing out older forms of payment has been marred by mechanical and software difficulties.
Now that the Metropass has been retired, the TTC says the next move in the conversion process will be phasing out tickets and tokens by end of 2019.
While some Presto users — old and new to the system — may still encounter glitches at the paying machines, Aikins said it’s nothing out of the ordinary and she hopes the system will eventually work out well for everyone.
“Anything electronic can go down sometimes,” she said, noting the system is effective about 98 per cent of the time.
“We already have millions of taps everyday that are successful. But if the machine doesn’t work for some reason, I know it’s frustrating when it happens and that’s the one you remember.”
Here’s what different commuters are saying about the phase out of Metropass and the move to Presto:
Emily MacGowan, Presto user for two years
“It can be frustrating when you tap on and find that you don’t have money on the card. I don’t want to set up automatic loading because I don’t trust it, and if I lose it I don’t want to lose all the money.”
Joshua Shaw, user for one year
“Earlier it was frustrating when some places didn’t have Presto machines to pay.”
Miaba Bernil, Presto user since Jan. 2
“I just bought the card right now. I have always used a Metropass on TTC and it was good because once you bought it, that was it for the month. I think Presto card is nice, because if I lose it I can call and get it back.”
Maria Carlucci, user for nearly a year
“Metropass was good for me when I was a student. I like Presto card now for its convenience on the GO trains, and I like the two-hour transfer window when I can take another ride for free on TTC.”
Dean Melamed, user for 10 months
“I didn’t use the TTC often enough to really need a Metropass. It was expensive for an irregular commuter. Presto is good because if I lose it, I can replace it as it is registered online. Also when the tap machine is not working the driver sometimes lets you through, which is good.”
Rachel Henderson, switched in November
“It’s a little annoying actually because I have two kids that are under 12 and they used to ride the TTC for free but now I have to buy them Presto cards as well. For me I prefer Presto because it’s protected because it’s registered to you.”
Jen Lu, user for about two years
“If you lose the card and you need a refund it takes forever. I am on my third card now and it’s just annoying. In Hong Kong where I come from the transit system is advanced and these kinds of issues don’t happen.”
June Morrow, user for last six months
“I bought Presto, then got back to TTC Metropass, and now I’m back to Presto. I feel like I spend more money on Presto than on TTC card.”
Rowen Lubguban, GTA pass user
“I’ve heard that with Presto cards it can be difficult to put money on and that tap machines don’t work sometimes. I hope they don’t change the GTA weekly passes too because that would be awful.”
Heather Lynks, user for past four years
“I live in west end near Mimico GO station, and it’s pretty easy to come to town with GO train. Now with the two-hour transfer on TTC it’s good. Metropass had become more expensive for someone who does not commute on a regular basis.”
Gilbert Ngabo is a breaking news reporter based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @dugilbo