Toronto Transit Commission fares
On the Toronto Transit Commission, fares may be paid with a variety of media, the price of which may be determined by the age of the rider.
- 1 Single-trip fares
- 2 Transfers
- 3 Passes
- 4 Inter-agency media
- 5 Procedures
- 6 Overnight service
- 7 History of zone fares
- 8 References
- 9 External links
A fare is good for one continuous trip on the TTC, including any requisite transfers between routes. The basic fare media are cash, tickets, and tokens. Riders paying using the basic media are entitled to one free transfer per trip, to be obtained when the fare is paid. Transfers are proofs of payment and allow riders to switch between most routes without paying additional fares.
Fares paid in cash are the most expensive. Fares paid in tickets or tokens accrue a slight discount due to the lower selling price of the media.
The price of the fare, and the purchase cost of non-cash media, is based on the rider's age.
The Adult group (aged 13 and up) pay the highest fares. The Student (aged 13 to 19) and Senior (aged 65+) subgroups pay a discounted adult fare provided supporting identification is shown at the time of payment. Students must produce a TTC Student Discount Card Photo ID. Post-Secondary Students must show a TTC Post-Secondary Student Discount Card only when using a TTC Post-Secondary Student Metropass. Seniors may use a TTC Senior's Photo ID or other appropriate photo ID.
Tickets are available for seniors, students and children.
Adult tickets were issued until 29 September 2008, when they were withdrawn due to counterfeiting. Adult tickets were temporarily reissued between 23 November 2009 and 31 January 2010; this was to alleviate demand on tokens during a fare hike that also withdrew all older tickets and passes.
Tokens are sold only at Adult ticket prices but may be used by all riders.
Unlike cash and tickets, tokens may be used at automated turnstiles. Some subway and RT stations have completely automated entrances.
All tokens have been the same diameter, slightly smaller than a dime.
The tokens used prior to 1954 were brass coins. In 1954, the year the city's first subway opened, these were replaced by light-weight aluminium tokens produced by the Royal Canadian Mint. The new tokens were simply designed with the word "SUBWAY" prominently displayed on both sides.
By 1966, a new brass token was introduced for single-token sales. The brass token used a more elaborate design displaying the TTC crest on the obverse and the TTC logo on the reverse.
New aluminium tokens were introduced in 1975 using the design of the c.1966 brass tokens. The 1954 and 1975 tokens remained in circulation until February 2007, when the remaining 30 million were withdrawn due to increased counterfeiting.
The replacement for the 1954 and 1975 tokens was a bi-metal design was phased in starting in November 2006, and finally replacing the old tokens in February 2007.
The 2006 tokens were heavier and more resistant to counterfeiting. 20 million tokens were initially ordered in 2006. 20 million additional tokens being purchased from Osborne Coinage Company in 2008 for US$2 million; these tokens were used to replace Adult tickets then in circulation.
Counterfeits of the 2006 tokens were discovered in 2010. The counterfeits had the correct mass and dimensions, but had subtle typographic errors and lacked the expensive nickel used in real tokens for durability. The counterfeits did not work in automated turnstiles but could pass under the gaze of a human collector.
Most continuous trips cost a single fare. There are a few that require cost extra in addition to the regular fare.
A supplementary ("premium") fare is required for the Downtown Express routes; Metropass bearers are not exempted from the extra charge.
The TTC operates a few routes that cross municipal boundaries; a supplementary fare is charged when crossing the boundary. The amount charged is the equivalent of the normal fare of the transit agency serving the municipality.
Bearers of the GTA Weekly Pass are exempted from the supplementary fare if they are crossing into a municipality that recognizes the pass. Although Toronto Pearson International Airport is not within Toronto city limits, TTC routes terminating at the airport are not subject to the extra charge.
Transfers are an integral component of the TTC's fare system. A transfer is a proof of payment issued when a fare is paid; the transfers allows riders to switch between most routes without paying additional fares. Transfers are valid where routes intersect and for one-way trips. On most routes, they are not good for stopovers. Pass holders are not entitled to transfers.
Subway and RT stations may have surface terminals for connecting surface routes. The stations and terminal form a fare-paid zone, and transfers are not required to switch between routes that enter the zone. Where terminals are not present, as is typical in the downtown core, transfers are required to switch between the subway and surface routes.
Surface routes (buses and streetcars) and rapid transit routes (subway and RT) issue different styles of transfers.
On surface routes, transfers are issued by vehicle operators. The transfers are preprinted with the route and date, and torn off from a special holder that marks the transfer with the time of issue and direction of travel.
Within subway and RT stations, transfers are issued by machines near entry points into the fare-paid zone. The machines print the station's name and date on standardized thermal paper were introduced in the mid-1990s. Older subway transfers were longer paper with pre-printed station design (various colours with two rows TTC logo). The station's name, date and time were printed by the dispenser. The design differed on the Bloor–Danforth line with the Yonge–University–Spadina line with the latter lacking the thick middle stripe. These older transfers and dispensing machines were replaced by the current thermal technology.
Proof of Payment (POP)
All-door boarding is used at streetcar stops along Queen Street, The Queensway, and Lake Shore Blvd. Use of all-door boarding is at the driver's discretion, depending on the number of passengers boarding. Passengers with a valid transfer or pass may board at any door without showing their transfer of pass (the "proof of payment") to the driver. The transfer or pass must be presented for inspection upon demand.
POP was first applied to the streetcar routes along Queen Street in 1990 to make better use of the large articulated streetcar. Application of the POP system was limited to the Queen routes because they did not enter a fare-paid terminal; POP is incompatible with the paperless transfer system at subway stations.
POP is also used in the summer on eastbound 510 Spadina and 509 Harbourfront streetcars on Queens Quay from Bathurst; this applies on weekends and holidays from May 8 up to, and including, Labour Day. All-door boarding is used and no fare or POP is required; effectively the ride is free between Bathurst and Queens Quay station. However, passengers without POP must pay a fare upon arriving at Union Station.
In 2005, the TTC experimentally introduced "time-based" transfers allowing additional free rides within a time limit (up to two hours from the start of the vehicle's journey), even if the passenger makes a stopover or reverses direction. The experiment was linked to the temporary replacement of part of one streetcar route (the 512 St. Clair) by a bus service due to track reconstruction, but as of 2010 is still continuing. Time-based transfers are available only on route 512; and on other routes, they are accepted only at normal transfer points.
Connection with GO Transit
Passengers can also use GO Transit (at normal GO fares) for an intermediate stage of their journey without having to pay a second TTC fare when they change back to the TTC, although there are few routes where this is useful; this policy is called "TTC Times Two".
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As of January 1, 2013, these passes are offered by the TTC for travel in Toronto:
|Fare Type||1 day||1 week||1 month||12 months|
*On weekends, valid for group: maximum of two adults over 19 and six people altogether.
Types of passes
A Day Pass, on a weekday, is valid for one person and is not transferable. On a weekend day or holiday, however, the same pass becomes a Family/Group Pass: this means that a single pass can be used, at no additional charge, by two adults traveling together or by one or two adults accompanied by people aged 19 or younger, with up to six people in the group. The pass can be bought in advance, to be marked with the date only when the owner is ready to use it.
A Weekly Pass is valid for seven days, starting on a Monday and ending on a Sunday. The pass is marked for a specific week and is sold only from the preceding Thursday the Tuesday of that week. This pass is valid for one person at a time but can be used by different people at different times. Seniors and high-school students use the same pass, so it can be transferred from one type of user to the other.
The monthly pass is called a Metropass. It is valid for a specific calendar month and is sold from the 24th of the previous month until the fourth working day of its validity. Passengers who sign up to buy 12 months of Metropasses pay a lower rate, as shown above. The Volume Incentive Pass (VIP) program allows part-time post-secondary students, federally and provincially incorporated organizations, limited liability partnerships, hospitals, government departments and agencies, and trade unions to purchase Adult Metropasses in bulk, which are then sold at a lower price than the 12-month discount to the commuter. The pass is transferable under the same rules as the Weekly Pass. Full-time post-secondary students have a distinct Metropass, which can be transferred only to other full-time post-secondary students. Before September 2010, post-secondary institutions issued VIP Metropasses.
Day Passes are printed on card paper; Weekly Passes and Metropasses have a magnetic strip for automatic turnstiles and so, like tokens, work at all subway/RT station entrances whether staffed or not. On surface vehicles, the pass is simply shown to the driver.
There is one more kind of pass, not sold to the general public; it is available only to those attending conventions, trade shows, and similar meetings. The TTC issues these passes for the applicable number of days and sells them to the convention operators; as of November 2007, prices range from $6.25 for a one-day pass in quantities of 100 to 499, to as low as $4.25 per day for a three-day or longer pass in quantities of at least 1,000.
Current use regulations
As of July 2006, the restrictions on Metropass usage printed on the reverse of the pass are as follows:
- Must be in the possession of the customer at all times of the trip.
- May be transferred to another customer only at the completion of a trip
- Does not entitle the customer to obtain a transfer.
- Must be clearly displayed to TTC employees when used and shall be surrendered for inspection to TTC employees upon request when on TTC vehicles or premises.
- Is good for unlimited travel on all regular TTC services. Extra fare required for Downtown Express routes or contracted routes operated by the TTC outside of the City of Toronto. Remains property of the TTC and may be confiscated without refund if the holder violates any laws, TTC By-Law No. 1 or alters or abuses this pass.
- Is not refundable.
- Issued by authority of the Toronto Transit Commission.
Downtown Express fares
The TTC operates five rush-hour express bus routes serving downtown. In addition to the basic fare, the passenger must pay a supplement of one ticket or token, or its equivalent value. For example, an adult can pay with two tokens, or one token plus $2.50 (not $3.00), or $5.50 in cash. Pass users and those transferring from ordinary routes pay only the supplement; for Metropass users there is also the option of buying a sticker (sold only at King and St. Andrew subway stations) for $36.00 that covers use of the downtown express buses for the full month.
Express buses in other parts of the city charge regular fares.
Senior and Student Discount ID Pass
The seniors pass was created in the 1980s (valid with drivers licence/Government issued photo ID), with the additional capability of the same pass being used by students (with a TTC-issued photo ID card) some time later.
Post-secondary student passes
While the Senior/Student Metropass and other student fares were available only to high-school students, a separate Post-Secondary Student Metropass became available to university and college students (likewise requiring TTC-issued photo ID), starting with the September 2010 pass.
In September 2005, the Weekly Pass was introduced. This is a type of Metropass valid for only one week and available with a discount rate similar to that of the Metropass for high school students and seniors.
History of passes
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The TTC has always been cautious about the loss of revenue from selling passes to riders who would otherwise make the same trips and pay more. Passes have been introduced gradually and always been relatively expensive compared to some other transit systems: for example, in the fares adopted November 2007, an adult Metropass must be used for 49 trips in a month or else tickets or tokens would be cheaper. (However, since July 2006, a federal income tax credit has been available on monthly transit passes. For those able to buy a pass and wait for their HST tax credit, which is 13%, the threshold is reduced to 42 trips per month.)
The first pass regularly offered on the TTC was the "Sunday or Holiday Pass", introduced in 1973. As the name implies, this was offered only on Sundays and holidays, but it allowed group travel, similar to the later Day Pass. However, because the TTC was always heavily used on the last day of the Canadian National Exhibition, the pass was not offered on Labour Day.
The TTC introduced the Metropass in 1980. At that time, there was only one price, based on the adult fare. The pass was not transferable and had to be used with TTC-issued photo ID cards (in about 2000 the TTC also began accepting Ontario driver's licences as ID). A lower-price Metropass for seniors was added in 1984, and for students in 1991 (originally at a slightly higher rate than seniors). The magnetic stripe was added to the pass in 1990, allowing it to operate automatic turnstiles, even though this meant that the user's ID would then not normally be checked.
To combat fraud and sharing the pass amongst riders, a printable box was placed on the right-hand side of the card. To make the pass valid for the month, the commuter hand-printed the digits of either the commuter's Metropass Photo ID card, if the commuter had one, or the commuter's initials and abbreviated gender if the commuter used other ID. The holder of the pass was also required to show the commuter's Metropass Photo ID card or another piece of Government of Ontario-issued identification at the same time that the holder presented their pass.
Also in 1990, the Sunday or Holiday Pass was replaced by the Day Pass. It remained valid on Sundays and holidays (now also including Labour Day) for groups, but was extended to weekdays and Saturdays as a single-person pass. On weekdays, however, it was not valid until the end of the morning rush hour at 9:30 a.m.
From 1992 to 2009, free parking for Metropass users was provided at certain subway-station parking lots. Some lots were restricted to Metropass users.
In February 1993, the Metropass became the same size as a credit card and could be swiped at subway stations. The new design was a simple mono-coloured and two-shaded design, with the abbreviation of the month in a large font, and the year placed beneath it in the same font and colour. The background of the card's front had a shaded design so as to enable the holder to distinguish the text on the card.
At about the same time, the TTC introduced an Annual Metropass, good for a whole year. As a higher-cost option, the pass was available in transferable form: the first transferable pass on the TTC. Both versions were soon withdrawn and replaced by the 12-month discount plan for the regular monthly pass.
Around 1994, the TTC began the practice of announcing specific periods around Christmas, and sometimes other holidays, when the Day Pass would be accepted as a group pass on any day. Later, starting around 2002, they also offered transferable weekly passes during such periods, but again, only for specific weeks as announced.
In July 1996, a faux gold-stamped version of the Toronto Transit Commission's seal was added. This design lasted until March 2004.
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In 2000, the design was altered to include the "Toronto Millennium" logo, celebrating the changeover to a new millennium.
In April 2004, the Metropass changed its design to a multi-colour vertical gradient, along with a different type of faux gold-imprinted "Metropass" logo (it uses the unique TTC font used in several subway stations). The colours and pattern of the gradient vary from month to month. In addition, the year was now printed in a bold font at the upper right, with the month imprinted in the same faux gold as the Metropass logo.
In 2005, with a political climate including the prospect of subsidies tied to ridership, the TTC became more willing to promote pass usage even at the loss of other fares. First, in March, they extended the Day Pass to be usable by groups on Saturdays. Then in September, the Metropass became transferable (with ID required only to prove eligibility for the senior or student fare), and at the same time, the transferable Weekly Pass was introduced. On the Metropass, the printable anti-fraud box was removed and replaced by wording suggesting the transfer of the pass to others when one was not using it.
Though the reverse side of the pass has always had the conditions of use printed on the reverse, it did not see much updating until the passes were made transferable in 2005, at which point a "No 'Pass Back'" rule was added: in essence, a rider who enters the system using a pass must not hand it to someone outside the fare-paid area, which would allow both to use it at once.
In February 2006, to reduce lineups at the collector booths, the TTC introduced vending machines (accepting payment by debit card only) at some subway stations for the Weekly Pass and the Metropass. In April 2006, the Day Pass became valid all day on weekdays.
On certain special occasions the TTC has offered passes with other periods of validity as appropriate. These have included the Papal Visits of 1984 and 2002.
The TTC redesigned its Metropasses to include custom holograms and a yellow "activation" sticker, beginning with the July 2009 Metropasses, due to widespread counterfeiting of the Metropasses between January and May 2009. In addition, removing the "activation" sticker reveals a thin film, which is used to prevent the reapplication of the sticker, and removing the film would leave a sticky residue, in which dirt and other particles can obscure the hologram. The thin film reads, "Do not remove," to prevent curious Metropass users from removing it.
The TTC offers the Metropass Hot Dealz [sic], in which a current Metropass user, as well as three other guests, can receive an admission discount at various venues and events, such as Casa Loma, the CN Tower, the Hockey Hall of Fame, Ontario Place, the Ontario Science Centre, and the Toronto Zoo.
See also the Fares outside Toronto section below
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GTA Weekly Pass
The "GTA Weekly Pass" is valid on the TTC, MiWay, York Region Transit, and Brampton Transit. It is good for unlimited travel for seven days starting on a Monday. It is sold at select locations on starting the Thursday before the week of use, until Tuesday on the week of use.
Pass bearers are exempted from the extra charge for crossing the municipal boundary between areas served by the four a participating agencies. Bearers are not exempted from the extra charges for certain "premium" and "express" routes.
The pass was introduced in 1994 based on a provincial recommendation. The Ministry of Transportation (MTO) provided a subsidy at the onset, but this was withdrawn in 1998. Revenues from pass sales are split between the participating agencies.
The provincial Minister of Transportation has announced plans to introduce the Presto card, a unified smartcard-based payment system for the entire Greater Toronto Area similar to the OPUS card used in Montreal, and the Octopus card used in Hong Kong. It was introduced on October 2008 (after trials were completed by GO Transit in Mississauga from June 25, 2007 to September 30, 2008).
Currently, fares on the provincially operated GO Transit are completely separate from TTC fares, for travel within Toronto as well as outside. A "Twin Pass", which combined a Metropass with a monthly GO Transit ticket for a specific journey at a discount compared to their individual prices, was available from 1988 until 2002.
Tickets, tokens, and passes may be bought on the subway and RT system at manned collector booths. They may also be purchased around Toronto at over 1200 Authorized TTC Fare Media Sellers.
Subway and RT stations
All subway and RT stations have at least one fare collector's booth where single-ride cash fares are paid, and cardboard tickets and metal tokens are sold and can be used. There are also automatic turnstiles operated by tokens, and some stations have unattended secondary entrances with automatic turnstiles only.
Tickets are available for students, seniors and children, but do not operate the automatic turnstiles. Tokens do operate turnstiles – they were introduced for that purpose when the subway opened in 1954. As well as the collector's booth, tokens are sold from automatic machines that accept $10 and $20 bills (for each bill they give as many tokens as possible and the appropriate change: as of 3 January 2010 a $10 bill buys 4 tokens and $20 bill buys 8 tokens without any change, as they are exact). The machines also sell one token for the single-ride fare in coins.
Buses and streetcars
On surface vehicles (buses and streetcars), fares are deposited into a farebox near the driver. Tickets and tokens are accepted but are not sold; passengers must buy them in advance at a subway/RT station or an authorized TTC retailer. Single-ride fares must be paid with exact cash; change is not given.
(The exact-fare policy was introduced in 1975. Before that, retail stores did not sell TTC fare media; tokens were sold only at subway stations, but surface route drivers sold tickets and did make change for cash fares.)
The TTC's Blue Night Network charges the normal TTC fares. The overnight period is considered, for purposes of TTC passes, as part of the preceding traffic day: in effect, the date changes at 5:30 a.m. or the start of daytime service, not at midnight.
History of zone fares
As noted, one TTC fare is good for any distance within the City of Toronto; there are no fare zones in the city today. The same was true from 1921 until 1953, when the City of Toronto covered a much smaller area than today. Then as now, there were routes extending outside the city, and extra fares were charged; these were on a zonal basis, although the zones might better be described as fare stages along the individual routes outside the city, as each one was a separate radial route.
But with the creation of Metropolitan Toronto ("Metro") in 1954, covering the whole present area of the City of Toronto, the TTC took on responsibility for transit within the entire area. At that time they did not consider a flat fare feasible for so large an area; instead they rounded off the edges of the city fare zone and renamed it the Central Zone, and set up a series of concentric semicircular rings around it as Suburban Zone 1, 2, etc., with an additional fare required for each one. Routes extending beyond the Metro limit continued to be separate radial routes, so the zones still had the effect of fare stages, but, within Metro, it became possible to change buses within a suburban zone. This external link shows a route map of this period. The (roughly rectangular) Metro limit is not marked on the map, but Suburban Zone 2 extends to just reach this limit in the north and the southwest only; the Port Credit bus and part of the North Yonge bus are the only TTC routes then extending outside Metro.
In 1956, Suburban Zones 1 and 2 were combined as Zone 2 and the Central Zone became the new Zone 1.
During this early period, the outer zones within Metro were still relatively undeveloped and bus routes in them were sparse; but as development increased, there was pressure for lower suburban fares, and in 1962 the outer boundary of Zone 2 was extended to all the way to the Metro limit. Higher fares, still on a zonal basis along each radial route, now applied only on the few routes running beyond Metro; in effect, the zone boundaries outside Zone 2 had changed from semicircles to rough rectangles. (Eventually the zones along each remaining route beyond Metro were effectively combined and the fares coordinated with those of adjacent transit agencies; see below.)
In 1968, the Bloor–Danforth Subway was extended east and west through the boundary between Zones 1 and 2, but the subway itself remained part of Zone 1. On January 21, 1973, with construction already well advanced on a similar extension of the Yonge–University Subway, the TTC acceded to pressure to abolish the zone boundary, and all of Metro (now the unified City of Toronto) gained service at a single flat fare. (Unfortunately, the new subway stations on both lines in what had been Zone 2 had not been designed for the change: their bus terminals were outside of the subway's fare-paid area. The layout of some stations allowed this to be easily corrected by moving the fare barrier, but at other stations this was unfeasible and they were not reconfigured until a later renovation, if at all.)
A fare increase in 2005 led some to call for the reintroduction of fare zones, but the TTC does not believe this would be wise. Zonal tickets would be impractical to enforce on the subways or buses without introducing a new fare collection technology. Formerly, with buses, the drivers would stop at each zone boundary to check proof of payment or collect an additional fare from each passenger, causing a significant delay. In addition, charging more for longer (and therefore less pleasant) trips through areas where service is provided by buses rather than trains that would alienate the very suburban customers the commission is now[when?] trying to attract.
- "Transfers". Toronto Transit Commission. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
- "Prices". Toronto Transit Commission. 3 January 2010. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
- "Post-Secondary Students, Seniors, Students and Children". Toronto Transit Commission. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
- "TTC to stop accepting adult tickets Sunday". Inside Toronto. 24 September 2008. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
- Mackenzie, Robert (31 December 2009). "TTC resumes selling tokens, raises fares, January 3". Transit Toronto. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
- Mackenzie, Robert (31 December 2009). "Just one week left to use "old" TTC tickets". Transit Toronto. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
- "The great TTC scam". National Post. 27 January 2007. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
- Munro, Steve (17 Dec. 2006). "Going, Going, Gone". Steve Munro. Retrieved 3 Sept. 2011.
- Cotroneo, Christian (28 Jan. 2007). "Token transition". Toronto Star. Retrieved 3 Sept. 2011.
- Gandhi, Unnati (3 January 2007). "TTC recruits staff to help ease burden of heavier tokens". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
- Bow, James (3 April 2007). "A History of Fares on the TTC". Transit Toronto. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
- "Notice Of Award Of Procurement Authorization – Bi-Metal Token Supply From Osborne Coinage Company". Toronto Transit Commission. 18 June 2008. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
- "Fake TTC tokens turning up". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 12 Nov. 2010. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
- "Downtown Express". Toronto Transit Commission. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
- "GTA Zone Fares". Toronto Transit Commission. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
- "Fare Information". Toronto Transit Commission. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
- Orbz, Chris (5 October 2007). "How to Read a TTC Transfer". blogTO. Retrieved 9 July 2011.
- "Proof of Payment (POP)". Toronto Transit Commission. Retrieved 4 Sept. 2011.
- "PROOF-OF-PAYMENT FARE COLLECTION AT THE TTC". Toronto Transit Commission. 19 July 2006. Retrieved 4 Sept. 2011.
- "Harbourfront Summer Fare Collection". Toronto Transit Commission. Retrieved 4 Sept. 2011.
- (External link, PDF.)
- New-look TTC passes designed to thwart counterfeiters
- Additional information regarding TTC Metropass activation stickers
- "Metropass Hot Dealz". Toronto Transit Commission. Retrieved 2009-07-11.
- "Greater Toronto Area (GTA) Weekly Pass". Toronto Transit Commission. Retrieved 6 July 2011.
- "Staff Response to Commission Inquiry - Overview of GTA Weekly Pass". Toronto Transit Commission. 15 May 2002. Retrieved 6 July 2011.
- "Buying Tickets, Tokens and Passes". Toronto Transit Commission. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
- "Pass Vending Machine". Toronto Transit Commission. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
- Fare media
- Surface transfers from 1944-1955 (Transit Toronto)
- Subway transfers from the late-1980s and early-1990s (Primary Access Node)