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New fare machines coming to TTC streetcars

Last Updated May 2, 2018 at 7:41 pm EDT

If you’re one of the many who have struggled with the fare machines on the new TTC streetcars, relief is on the way.

Presto will be replacing the current touch-screen machines with different ones — which were originally used on the first new streetcar received by the TTC in 2014.

“These machines are part of an upgrade and will better meet the needs of our customers who pay their fare by cash or token,” TTC spokeswoman Heather Brown tells CityNews.

The new machines appear to be lower tech with no touch screen, but rather colour-coded buttons and a smaller digital display. They also currently do not accept debit or credit cards.

To mitigate this, the machines will be replaced in two phases — at first only one of the two machines on each streetcar will be replaced, so one of the current machines will still be available for debit and credit users.

The change over began mid-April and a note on the TTC website states “Passengers travelling by streetcar should carry a PRESTO card, a token, or exact change for fare payment in the event they board a streetcar with reduced payment functionality.”

Brown says the next generation of machines will have debit and credit capabilities and they will replace all current fare machines on new streetcars in the second phase of the plan.

There is no confirmed timeline for when the fully equipped second-generation machines will be rolled out, but Brown says the TTC is working with Presto to finalize the details.

However, if you happen to find yourself on a streetcar with both machines replaced with new ones, Brown confirms four streetcars were already fitted with two new machines each, which does not appear to be part of the plan. As of Wednesday, one such streetcar was running on route 510 and a second on route 504. The other two are in the Leslie Barns.

Presto will be going back “to replace one of the new machines with an older machine so that debit and credit will be accepted on these streetcars,” says Brown.

It’s unclear what prompted the revamp and if the reported frequent failing of current touch-screen fare machines was a factor. Brown says the TTC is continuing to work with Presto on fare recovery as a result of card readers and fare machines not working.