Presto Card – Transit payment for the GTA

Toronto has made it to the 20th century. Yes, that wasn’t a typo. Other countries like Singapore and HK have long had the concept of a payment card for almost as long as I’ve been alive and yes, I am old. Although the post might seem a bit snarky, I actually am quite excited about the Presto Card and hope that it will be successful.

As a Torontonian, there are some things to like. By default, it makes the cost of transit automatically the same as a token. Based on your usage, the cost is supposedly designed to cost as much as a Metropass once you get to a certain threshold. The same goes for travelling using the GO Transit. Another big plus is that you become eligible for tax deductions after using it for 32 one-way trips which is great! I also like the convenience of being able to top up on the Internet and auto top up which os rather convenient because I never have cash on me. Some plusses for Toronto in particular is that it will perhaps be able to finally get to a fare-by-distance model which will hopefully be financially beneficial to itself and hopefully to general citizens. While I will be impacted negatively in some ways because I commute from Finch Station to Osgoode Station daily, I hope that the cost of riding within the city will be decreased. I suspect that this will be another source of rich revenue that is currently being lost.

Some downsides is that the roll out on the transit systems that I typically take have been quite slow. I was hoping that more of the TTC and YRT would have been covered by now. So far, I have only been able to use it at Union Station on the TTC although roll out supposedly covers St. Patrick and Finch Station already.