Presto Comes to Spadina

With the beginning of service today (November 30, 2014), Presto is available on any of the new streetcars running on Spadina.

That said, the implementation is ill-conceived, and how this can possibly be rolled out successfully system-wide is a mystery.

At each doorway (and on both sides of the double-width doors) there is a Presto reader. So far so good — make it easy to tap on as people enter.

However, if you need a transfer (and lots of riders do), you have to go to one of the two TTC fare machines which are (a) on the other side of the car and (b) nowhere near two of the four doors. There, you tap again and the machine issues a transfer.  All this assumes it’s not busy serving customers paying with cash or tokens.

Anyone who has been on one of the new cars when Spadina is busy will know that internal circulation just doesn’t happen. It’s hard enough to move around within the module where one boards, let alone get to another module where there’s a fare machine.

On the subway, the TTC doesn’t have this problem because transfer machines are available for all riders inside the paid area of a station, and a Presto rider is no different from someone who paid with another medium. Not so on the streetcars.

There is no sign of Presto support at the on street fare machines.

Why, oh why, wasn’t the Presto reader integrated with the TTC machines?

Meanwhile, we see another cocked up implementation of technology, one that TTC will get most of the blame for. Fortunately, there is little market penetration of Presto on TTC beyond downtown commuters because that’s the only place their card works. Until the TTC provides Metropass functionality via Presto, there is no incentive for the most frequent users to convert, and then it will have to work on all vehicles.

This has more the smell of publicity — “look what we did” — for the Presto project than it does of a useful addition to the system.

Half-baked would be a generous overstatement.

43 thoughts on “Presto Comes to Spadina

  1. Alex wrote:

    Even with only one reader at the front door, PRESTO is far faster than paying by ticket or cash.

    This is true on YRT when the ticket/cash paying person needs a transfer, which is most of the time. The operator’s Presto terminal is used to print the transfer and takes a few seconds which requires the passenger to come to a stop for a moment. Tapping on with Presto can be done without breaking stride when there is no one in front of you needing that paper transfer.


  2. I went to Toronto on Friday and made 2 trips on the new streetcars, using a day pass.

    I noticed that the big machine in the second position was wrapped with a big canvas OOU blanket.

    Also noted that a number of patrons that couldn’t put their seniors tickets in the machine by the front door just sat with them in their hands.


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