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Broken Presto card readers cause long lineups at Finch Station

Last Updated Jan 4, 2018 at 6:52 pm EST

It was a frustrating Thursday morning at Finch Station for TTC riders when a number of Presto card readers malfunctioned, causing major backups at the entrance.

Commuter Lauren Jacobs tweeted a picture of a long lineup at the station’s entrance around 7:30 a.m.

“There were 30 people in line in front of us, and the line kept growing,” Jacobs told CityNews.

“I thought it was people getting Metropasses, but we noticed all the Presto readers, except for one, were out.”

Metrolinx spokeswoman Anne Marie Aikins couldn’t confirm how long the issue lasted, but said staff were sent check the card readers right away.

“They are little computers, so sometimes you just have to reboot them, and it’s fairly quickly done,” she said. “One needed to be replaced, and that’s been replaced.”

In an email, TTC spokesman Stuart Green apologized for the delays and said the lineups were compounded by people waiting to buy a January Metropass, since it’s the last day to do so.

“We normally would have had a station supervisor on property to direct customers to one of the crash gates,” Green said. “This morning that supervisor was called away to another station to attend to a flooding issue.”

While two extra collector boxes were staffed at the time, those “crash gates” only accept cash, tokens and Metropasses.

Some commuters, including Jacobs, question the TTC’s push to get riders using Presto cards when the system is still in transition.

“It makes me want to get a Metropass or just go back to using tokens because I can’t use my Presto card all the time, or I have to wait in long lineup,” she said.

But Aikins insisted the system is ready and breakdowns are becoming less frequent.

“The reliability rate across the Presto system has improved immensely,” she said. “It’s in the high 90s now, which is getting pretty close to exactly where we want it to be.”