As the transit agency in Canada's most densely populated city is preparing to remove its decade old payment system, the union representing transit workers asks the Ontario government to intervene and identify what it describes as a defective technology for less- high-tech replacement.
December marks last month that travelers in Toronto will be able to use Metropasses at TTC as the network of buses, trams and subways passes to Presto, an electronic payment card platform used mostly in southern Ontario. In mid-2019 transit tickets and tokens will be phased out.
But the Amalgam Transit Union Local 113 sent a letter to Prime Minister Doug Ford urging the government to take "immediate and urgent action" to cope with what he considers an unreliable system whose machinery is falling apart.
"We want the government to pay attention to the fact that the Presto system has failed," Union spokesman Kevin Morton said. – It's just a failure.
He said the alliance believes that TTC will not be able to cope with Presto's influx as card readers regularly fail and take too much time to repair, which he believes could lead to a loss of revenue.
The province did not respond immediately to a request for a comment on the letter.
Metrolinx "very confident"
But Anne Marie Aikins, a spokesman for Metrolinx, who heads the throne, said the reliability of card readers for buses and trams averaged 98 to 99 percent each week.
"We are very confident that Presto is ready for the transition from Metropasses," wrote Aikins in an email.
TTC called Metropass "the support of the TTC toll fees for nearly 40 years and a regular contribution to the lives and portfolios of nearly 300,000 torontes each month."
More than 78 million of the monthly gaps have been sold since they were introduced in 1980 at a cost of $ 26. Today they cost almost $ 150, and after December 31, monthly transit gaps will only be available through Presto.
TTC has begun to offer Presto as a way of payment in 2011, and TTC spokesman Heather Brown said that over the past few years, more payment options such as the monthly fee have been available.
In 2017, TTC had about 1.7 million customers each weekday, according to the transit agency's website. Aikins said that around 1.3 million Presto cardholders use TTC and approximately 800,000 card readers per day.
Ridership is not a down-paid ridership has declined.– Kevin Morton, spokesman for the TTC Union
Brown said TTC would be preparing to increase Presto's users, with more transit workers in Presto ticket vending machines to help travelers. She said that maintenance workers will also be available to repair broken readers "within a reasonable time".
Brown said Presto's readers are mostly fixed within 24 hours. She said buses and trams had two readers, and if they both are down, TTC tourists are said to have to pay at their destination.
Concerns about lost revenue
But Morton said he was worried that Presto readers are breaking down, it would make it easier for travelers to avoid paying the ticket.
He said that by sending the letter to the province, a message was sent to his members about the transition. Morton said the alliance has received "hundreds" of members' responses, relying on fears that travelers are not able to pay because readers are broken.
The Ford syndicate's letter cites a number of anonymous TTC workers who say that readers do not work on a daily basis and sometimes take days to repair.
Morton said he predicts that TTC will lose a "revenue status," as passengers can avoid paying the ticket by entering the back of a bus or tram and not touching Presto's reader. He said that if a rider of the TTC were caught and punished for non-payment, he claimed it would be easier for him to fight the ticket in court, claiming that the stay was broken.
Morton added that loss of revenue could easily be wrong for losing motor sports.
"That's a joke," he said. "Retirement is not down – the paid rider is reduced".
Brown said that if TTS passengers were caught by tax evasion they could be fined up to $ 425.