Toronto Transit Commission fares
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Fares to use the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) transit system in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, can be paid with various media. The price of fares is set according to the age or occupation of riders; children 12 years of age or under can ride on the TTC free of fare.
Legacy fare media (cash, tokens, and non-electronic tickets) are paid directly to the fare box located on all TTC buses, older streetcars and at staffed TTC subway station entrances. The TTC is in the process of deprecating legacy fare media in favour of Presto fare media, specifically the Presto card (a multiple-use, stored-value, electronic fare card) and the Presto ticket (a single-use, electronic paper ticket), both of which use Presto readers to charge fares and validate transfers. Eventually, all legacy fare media will be phased out, and Presto will be the only accepted form of payment in the system.
- 1 Fares
- 2 Presto procedures
- 3 Legacy fare procedures
- 4 History
- 4.1 Legacy one-trip fare media
- 4.2 Legacy passes
- 4.3 Transfers and POP
- 4.4 Zone fares
- 4.5 Presto fare media
- 5 References
- 6 External links
|Fare type||Adult||Senior and youth||Child||Fair Pass|
|Tokens or concessionary tickets||3 tokens for $9.30||5 tickets for $10.75||Free||—|
|Fare type||1-ride||2-ride||Day pass|
|Passenger type||Cost per month|
These are two legacy passes with prices as of 1 April 2019:
|TTC day pass||$13.00|
|GTA weekly pass||$64.95|
- Children (12 and under) ride free. Fares for children were elimnated from 1 March 2015 as part of a general TTC fare price change.
- Youth fare is available to those aged 13–19. Youths aged 16–19 must provide ID upon request.
- Senior fare is available to those aged 65 or older. Seniors must produce ID upon request.
There are two other concessionary fares that are not age-based. Both are implemented on the Presto card:
- Those who qualify for the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) or Ontario Works because they have a disability or are low-income earners, respectively, are eligible for the Fair Pass program, in which they receive a Presto card configured for the reduced Fair Pass price for either single rides or a monthly pass.
- Students at a post-secondary institution in Toronto studying for a degree or diploma are eligible for a discounted monthly pass.
The TTC supports two types of Presto fare media: the Presto card and the Presto ticket. Both process fares and transfers by means of tapping the Presto media on Presto readers, which are located on buses, on streetcars, and at subway entrances.
The Presto card is a stored-value, smartcard for transit providers across the Greater Toronto, Hamilton and Ottawa areas (similar to the OPUS card used in Montreal, and the Octopus card used in Hong Kong).
Using the Presto card on the TTC, a cardholder can pay adult single fares with the option of lower concessionary fares for senior, Fair Pass, post-secondary student, youth, or child riders. (Even though children ride free, a child Presto card allows the child to pass through the fare gates at unstaffed subway entrances.)
The Presto card can be optionally loaded with a monthly pass, with concessionary pricing available for eligible senior, Fair Pass, post-secondary student, or youth riders. The 12-month pass is a commitment by an adult, senior or youth Presto cardholder to purchase 12 consecutive monthly passes, and receive a discounted monthly price for each pass. Presto cardholders can add a monthly pass to their Presto card during the last twelve days of the previous month and the first eight days of the new month.
When using a Presto card to pay a single fare, a two-hour timed transfer is automatically recorded. From the time of initial tap-on, the transfer is valid for two hours, during which passengers can enter and exit TTC vehicles or subway stations and change direction of travel repeatedly without having to pay any additional fare.
As of 2019[update], the Presto card cannot be used on contracted TTC bus routes operating into York Region (where YRT fares apply), as the Presto tap-on fare payment machines on these vehicles are only configured to collect TTC fares, not YRT fares.
A Presto ticket is a single-use, paper ticket with an embedded electronic chip. Like the Presto card, users must tap the Presto ticket on a Presto reader when entering a TTC bus, streetcar or subway station. Unlike the Presto card, the Presto ticket is valid only for TTC services; it cannot be reloaded or used for any other regional services that accept Presto. The Presto ticket is intended for infrequent TTC customers.
There are 3 types of Presto ticket: 1-ride, 2-ride and day pass. Unlike Presto cards, Presto tickets do not support concessionary fares. Like Presto cards, there is a 2-hour transfer privilege for 1- and 2-ride Presto tickets. The Presto day pass expires at 2:59 a.m. on the day following the ticket's first use.
Legacy fare media
Legacy fare media include:
- Concessionary tickets for seniors and youths
Tokens are sold only at adult fare prices but can be purchased and used by all riders.
A fare paid by cash, concessionary ticket or token is good for one continuous, one-way trip on the TTC, including transfers between routes. Passengers paying using these types of fare media are allowed one free paper transfer, which must be obtained when the fare is paid. Transfers are proofs-of-payment and allow riders to switch between most routes without paying additional fares.
In addition to the single-trip legacy media, there are legacy (non-electronic) passes which are simply shown to TTC employees – such as subway station attendants, bus/streetcar drivers, roaming fare inspectors or special constables – as proof-of-payment:
- The TTC day pass is valid for one person on a weekday. However, on weekends or holidays, 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. The pass is valid from the date marked until 5:30 a.m. the next day. The TTC day pass has the same price as the Presto day pass, but different rules.
- The convention pass is available only to those attending conventions, trade shows, and similar meetings; it is not sold to the general public. The TTC issues these passes for the applicable number of days and sells them to convention operators.
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 at 12:01 a.m. Monday until morning service starts on the following Monday. It is sold at select locations starting the Thursday before the week of use, until Tuesday on the week of use.
GTA weekly pass holders are not required to pay additional fares when crossing a municipal boundary between areas served by the four participating agencies. However, extra fares are required for certain "premium" and "express" routes.
The pass was introduced in 1994 based on a recommendation of the provincial government. 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 TTC operates five rush-hour Downtown Express bus routes (141–145) serving downtown and charging a double fare. 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 $3.25, or $6.50 in cash. Presto card users and those transferring from ordinary routes pay only the supplement; Presto card holders also have the option of buying a sticker, sold at most TTC subway stations, for $43.00 that covers the use of the downtown express buses for the full month. However, 900-series express buses charge regular fares.
The TTC operates a few routes that cross municipal boundaries; a premium 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 premium fare if they are crossing into a municipality that recognizes the pass. Although Toronto Pearson International Airport is not within Toronto city limits (but is in Mississauga), TTC routes terminating at the airport are not subject to the extra charge.
Connections with Metrolinx services
Double fare discount
Since 7 January 2018, Presto card holders have had the option to receive a discount of $1.50 (or $0.55 for senior, student, and youth customers) when they transfer between the TTC and Metrolinx's GO Transit or Union Pearson Express (UPX) services. The discount is available exclusively for Presto card users who pay as they go with their card balance.
TTC Times Two
Riders can use Metrolinx's GO Transit and Union Pearson Express 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".
Purchasing Presto media
Presto cards can be purchased, or loaded with a balance, by the following means:
- Online from the Presto website (if the Presto customer has previously created a "My PRESTO account")
- Presto vending machines at subway stations
- Shoppers Drug Mart stores
- At the TTC Customer Service Centre above Davisville station
Presto cards purchased from the Presto website or from Presto vending machines are set to the adult fare rates. For concessionary fares, one must present the Presto card at either a Shoppers store or the TTC Customer Service Centre with appropriate ID to have the concession fare rate set.
Presto tickets are sold at Presto vending machines at all subway stations. They are also sold at selected Shoppers Drug Mart stores. A customer can purchase up to 10 Presto tickets at a time from a Presto vending machine at subway stations. Presto tickets must be used within 90 days of purchase.
Presto card holders can set a card for a monthly or 12-month pass online, at a station vending machine, or at a Shoppers store.
Metrolinx has granted Shoppers Drug Mart exclusive retailing rights to sell Presto fare media. As of June 2019[update], there were 136 Shoppers stores in Toronto selling Presto products. Presto has a mobile app that can be obtained through the Google Play or Apple app store.
Using Presto media
A rider paying their fare with a Presto card or Presto ticket must tap on a Presto reader every time the rider boards a bus or streetcar, or passes through a fare gate at a subway station. All buses and streetcars have a Presto reader at each door. Presto customers may board by any door on a streetcar, but only by the front door of a bus outside a fare-paid area unless that bus is replacing a streetcar. Customers using Wheel-Trans vehicles can pay their fare using a Presto card with a TTC monthly pass loaded on it.
When paying a single fare, Presto automatically records a timed transfer on the Presto card or Presto ticket. From the time of initial tap-on, a transfer with Presto is valid for two hours, during which passengers can enter and exit TTC vehicles or subway stations and change direction of travel repeatedly without having to pay any additional fare.
If a customer with small children approaches a fare gate at a subway station, the TTC recommends that the customer place the children in front on the gate, tap the Presto fare media. When the gates open, the customer lets the children walk through first, and then immediately follows behind. Alternatively, a child 12 and under could have a Presto card set with the child concession.
The Downtown Express buses and bus routes leaving Toronto both require a double fare. As of June 2019, one fare can be paid using Presto media but the second fare must be paid using legacy fare media.
Customers require proof-of-payment when riding on streetcars. Presto cards and tickets both provide proof after the customer taps on the streetcar's Presto reader. Roving TTC fare inspectors may check a customer's Presto media using a handheld card reader.
By the end of 2019, the TTC expects to:
- provide a means to fully pay the premium fare via Presto on downtown express buses and for TTC bus routes serving York Region from Toronto;
- handle fares for taxis used as Wheel-Trans vehicles by Presto media;
- begin the phase-out of legacy fare media.
Once legacy fares (cash, tokens, concessionary tickets) have been phased out, concessionary fares will only be available for Presto cardholders. Other ideas that the TTC had considered in 2015 for the Presto card were distance-based fares and premium fares for rush-hour travel. However, a June 2019 TTC report on Presto implementation made no mention of those two ideas.
Legacy fare procedures
Legacy fare media (concessionary tickets, tokens, and TTC day passes) can be purchased at staffed collector booths, which are available at most TTC subway stations. As of 6 January 2019[update], Line 1 stations between Lawrence West and Vaughan Metropolitan Centre stations no longer sell legacy fare media as they do not have collector booths. Eventually, collector booths at all remaining stations will close and the remaining collectors will be replaced by roaming customer service agents (CSAs).
Legacy fare media can also be purchased around Toronto at over 1200 TTC-authorized vendors. Two ticket machines in Pearson Airport's Terminal 1 sell tokens and single-fare tickets bought using cash or credit cards.
On the TTC's new wheelchair accessible low-floor Flexity Outlook streetcars, the fare and transfer vending machines are located at the second and fourth modules of each car near the double doors. These machines dispense paper POP transfers when payment is made using tokens and coins.
At subway stations
All subway stations have at least one entrance equipped with either a fare collector's booth with a farebox or a floor-mounted farebox staffed by a customer service agent where customers can make or prove fare payment with legacy fare media (cash, concessionary tickets, tokens, TTC day and GTA weekly passes). Children (aged 12 or under) without a Presto card can gain free access to the system through these staffed entrances.
Before the transition to Presto, TTC subway stations had two types of fare gates, metal push-bar tripod turnstiles at staffed entrances and floor-to-ceiling turnstiles at unstaffed subway entrances, both of which allowed customers to pass through the gates by inserting a token or swiping a fare card with a magnetic strip, such as a monthly or weekly TTC pass or a GTA weekly pass. From 2016 to 2018, the TTC introduced new plexiglass paddle-style fare gates at all subway station entrances, which replaced the old tripod turnstiles used at staffed entrances and floor-to-ceiling revolving turnstiles used at unstaffed entrances. The first of these new gates were installed at Main Street station in March 2016 and they were added to all subway station entrances by June 2018, with Finch being the last station to have Presto fare gates and readers installed at its entrances. In 2019, after physical passes were discontinued, the swipe card readers were removed. Following these removals, only Presto customers can pass through unstaffed fare gates. Customers with legacy fare media, including cash and paper transfers, can only enter at staffed entrances. Once the conversion to Presto is complete, the only way to enter a subway station will be through the fare gates using Presto media.
On TTC buses and streetcars
On buses and older CLRV and ALRV streetcars, concessionary tickets, tokens or exact cash are deposited into a farebox near the operator. Operators neither sell fares nor provide change for those paying cash.
- Two fare and transfer vending machines (FTVMs) dispense a proof-of-payment receipt when a fare is paid with tokens or coins only. From January 2016 to December 2018, they also accepted payment by contactless credit and debit cards as well, but that functionality was removed due to reliability issues. The machines are also able to produce pre-validated adult, youth, and senior POP tickets.
- Tickets for concessionary fares must be validated by inserting them into one of the two red TTC ticket validator machines beside the FTVMs.
- Presto users tap their Presto card or Presto ticket on readers located at each of the four doorways to pay or validate their fares.
A transfer is a proof-of-payment (POP) receipt issued when a fare is paid by cash, token or concessionary ticket. It allows riders to switch between most routes without paying additional fares and can be shown as POP to TTC fare inspectors or special constables while riding on board streetcars. (POP is mandatory when riding on streetcars.) A paper transfer is valid to complete a one-way continuous trip without stopovers, with route changes allowed only at valid transfer points generally at an intersection where two routes cross. The transfer rules used to be the same for both Presto and legacy users; however, since 26 August 2018, Presto provides its users a two-hour timed transfer. Presto users do not require paper transfers as a transfer is stored electronically on their card or ticket.
Three forms of paper transfers are used on the TTC:
- On buses and older CLRV/ALRV streetcars, transfers are issued directly by vehicle operators. These transfers are pre-printed with the route and date, and torn off from a holder that with tears in certain locations on the bottom and the side, marking it with the time of issue and direction of travel.
- At subway stations, transfers are issued by machines near entry points into the fare-paid zone. The machines print the name of the station where it was issued, as well as the date and time, on standardized thermal paper. They were introduced in the mid-1990s and are not valid on surface vehicles at the station at which they are issued.
- The new fare and transfer vending machines (FTVMs), found on board Flexity streetcars, dispense transfers using thermal paper, similar to those used in the subway system. After a passenger pays their fare at the machine with coins or tokens, an FTVM prints a proof-of-payment transfer that marks the date, time, stop and route where issued.
Legacy one-trip fare media
All TTC tokens have been the same diameter, slightly smaller than a Canadian dime. The tokens used prior to 1954 were brass coins. In 1954, the year the city's first subway opened, these were replaced by lightweight aluminum 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 aluminum tokens were introduced in 1975 using the design of the 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 phased-in starting in November 2006. It replaced the old tokens completely in February 2007.
The 2006 tokens were heavier and more resistant to counterfeiting. 20 million tokens were ordered in 2006. 20 million additional tokens were 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 undetected by a human collector.
While initially the TTC had said that tokens would no longer be available for purchase from August 2019 onwards, to encourage the use of Presto cards, the TTC confirmed in April 2019 that "[t]okens and tickets will be available for sale past August 3, 2019. The stop-accepting date is still being reviewed, as is a new stop-selling date."
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 to alleviate demand on tokens in the lead-up to a fare hike that also withdrew all older tickets and passes.
Effective 1 March 2015, children could ride free on the TTC. Thus, children's tickets were discontinued effective that date. Children's tickets were sold in multiples of 10.
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Day pass (1973–present)
The first pass regularly offered on the TTC was the "Sunday or Holiday Pass", introduced in 1973. It allowed group travel on Sundays and holidays, 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.
In 1990, the Sunday or holiday pass was replaced by the day pass. It remained valid on Sundays and holidays 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.
Around 1994, the TTC began announcing specific periods around Christmas, and sometimes other holidays, when the day pass would be accepted as a group pass on any day. Starting around 2002, they also offered transferable weekly passes during certain weeks.
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. In March, the TTC extended the day pass to be usable by groups on Saturdays. Later in September, the TTC made the Metropass transferable and introduced the transferable weekly pass.
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 in 2014, an adult Metropass must be used for 50 trips in a month or else concessionary 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 federal transit tax credit, which is 15%, the threshold is reduced to 43 trips per month.)
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 strip 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.
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.
From July 1996 to March 2004, the pass carried a faux gold-stamped version of the Toronto Transit Commission's seal.
In 2000, the design was altered to include the "Toronto Millennium" logo, celebrating the changeover to a new millennium.
Fares on the provincially operated GO Transit are separate from TTC fares for travel within and outside of Toronto. 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.
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 September 2005, the Metropass became transferable (with ID required only to prove eligibility for the senior or student fare). 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 subway station fare collector booths, the TTC introduced automated Metropass vending machines (accepting payment only by credit or debit cards) at some subway stations which dispensed weekly and monthly Metropasses. These have since been removed and replaced by new Presto vending machines as of 2018, which allow customers to purchase a new Presto card or load money or a digital monthly TTC pass onto the electronic fare cards as part of the Presto card rollout. In April 2006, the TTC day pass became valid all day on weekdays.
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 offered the Metropass Hot Dealz [sic], in which a current Metropass user and three guests received 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. These competed directly with CityPASS as the Toronto version of CityPASS applies to some of the same attractions, except that CityPASS is marketed to tourists outside of Toronto, while the Metropass Hot Dealz is marketed to Torontonians. However, the TTC ceased offering the Metropass Hot Dealz in 2015.
A less expensive seniors' monthly pass was created in the 1980s, which was valid with government-issued photo ID or TTC senior's photo ID. The concessionary pass was later expanded to cover use by high school students aged 16–19 who present a valid photo ID.
While originally the student Metropass and other student fares were available only to high school students, a separate post-secondary Metropass was made available to university and college students (likewise requiring TTC-issued photo ID), starting with the September 2010 pass. Before September 2010, post-secondary institutions issued VIP Metropasses.
Until mid-2018, passengers were able to sign up for the Metropass Discount Plan (MDP), which was a 12-month commitment. Users received the Metropass in the mail before the start of every month. This program was initially expected to end as of 31 December 2018 as part of the transition to the Presto card, but due to rotating strikes by employees of Canada Post (the service provider that delivers the MDP passes) the program was discontinued earlier than anticipated on 31 October 2018 instead and MDP passes were not sent out for November or December 2018; it has since been replaced by a 12-month pass which is only available on Presto cards and can only be purchased online via the Presto website.
The Volume Incentive Pass (VIP) program allowed organizations to purchase adult Metropasses in bulk, which are then sold at a lower price than the MDP to commuters. The pass is transferable under the same rules as the weekly pass. The VIP program was cancelled and phased out on 31 December 2018.
The last month for the Metropass was December 2018. Since 1 January 2019, a monthly TTC pass has only been available via the Presto card.
Weekly pass (2005–2019)
From September 2005 until March 2019, the TTC-only weekly pass was available for use. This was a type of Metropass valid for one week on the TTC; a concession version with a discount similar to the senior and youth discount for the monthly Metropass was also available. There was no post-secondary student version of the weekly TTC pass. These weekly passes were discontinued on 31 March 2019.
On certain special occasions the TTC has offered passes with periods of validity as appropriate. These have included the Papal Visits of 1984 and 2002.
Transfers and POP
Introduction and development of POP
POP was introduced on the Queen streetcar lines in 1990 to make better use of the Articulated Light Rail Vehicles on the line. Prior to August 2014, the POP system was limited to the Queen routes because these routes do not enter a fare-paid terminal of subway stations, due to concerns of further fare evasion. POP is incompatible with the paperless transfer system used by the rail system. The POP system was extended to the 510 Spadina route on 31 August 2014 coinciding with the introduction on that day of new Flexity low-floor streetcars, this is because drivers/operators on these vehicles are in a closed cab and is not responsible for fare collection and does not normally issue paper POP transfers. The 504 King followed on 1 January 2015, and the 509 Harbourfront route also became POP on 29 March 2015 when the new Flexity streetcars were added on that line. Since the summer of 2015, route 511 Bathurst has operated occasionally on a POP system during special events, such as the 2015 Pan American Games and the Canadian National Exhibition, when the Flexity streetcars are used on that line.
Since 14 December 2015, all TTC streetcar lines, including streetcar replacement shuttle buses, have operated on a proof-of-payment (POP) system at all times, in which case fare payments are treated on a honour system and passengers must carry proof that they have paid the correct fares to show during random spot checks (which can take place on board a vehicle or at subway stations served by streetcar routes). Passengers with proof of payment can board at any door of the vehicle. Forms of POP includes an unexpired paper transfer or pass, or Presto fare media with an active transfer.
Upon request, passengers must present POP. TTC staff such as fare inspectors or special constables who conduct random fare inspections also carry handheld Presto verification machines to verify Presto payments and check transaction history. A summons such as a fine can be issued if passengers fail to produce POP upon request.
St. Clair time-based transfers (2005–2017)
In 2005, the TTC introduced "time-based" transfers allowing additional free rides within a two-hour time limit from the start of the vehicle's journey, even if the passenger made a stopover or reversed direction. The experiment was linked to the temporary substitution of parts of the 512 St. Clair streetcar route by buses due to track reconstruction. Time-based transfers were only available on the St. Clair route; on other routes, they were accepted only at normal transfer points as indicated on the transfer itself. This time-based transfer was not available to load on a Presto card, meaning Presto users who wished to take advantage of this pilot project needed to board at the front door of the vehicle in order to obtain the special time-based transfer, though transfers to other routes could be completed by tapping their Presto card again.
This program came to an end when the new four-door Flexity Outlook streetcars entered service on the 512 St. Clair route on 3 September 2017, as drivers on the new streetcars are in a fully enclosed cab, which means the driver is not responsible for fare collection and is not able to provide paper transfers.
Presto time-based transfers
In November 2017, a Toronto transit advocacy group, TTCriders, along with Toronto mayor John Tory and two Toronto city councillors including TTC chair Josh Colle, made a request to the TTC to introduce system-wide two-hour time-based transfers across the entire TTC network (a system which is already in place on other local Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area transit agencies). The new system officially debuted on 26 August 2018, following the TTC's board of directors approval on 28 November 2017. The TTC estimates that the program will add five million trips to the system, at a cost of $20.9 million annually, as this incentive will allow for unlimited travel – including the ability to enter and exit any TTC vehicles and stations, along with changing their direction of travel – within two hours from initial tap-on without having to pay another fare.
The two-hour time-based transfer is only available to Presto media users and is not available to customers paying with cash, legacy tickets, or tokens. The rules for paper-based transfers remain unchanged, with such transfers being valid for a continuous one-way trip with no stopovers or backtracking permitted.
From 1921 until 1953, one TTC fare was good for any distance within the City of Toronto. Where routes extended outside the city, extra fares were charged.
In 1954, Metropolitan Toronto ("Metro") was created, covering most of the City of Toronto's post-1998 city limits. The TTC took on responsibility for transit within the entire area. A flat fare was not considered to be feasible for so large an area; so the TTC created the Central Zone, which roughly incorporated the City of Toronto, and set up a series of concentric semicircular rings around it as Suburban Zones 2–5, with an additional fare required for each one. Routes extending beyond the Metro limits 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.
In 1956, Suburban Zones 2 and 3 were combined as Zone 2 and the Central Zone became the new Zone 1.
During this early period, the outer zones within Metro were 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 beyond–Metro Zones 4 and 5 were combined into a new de facto Zone 2 and the fares coordinated with those of adjacent transit agencies.
In 1968, the Bloor–Danforth Subway was extended east and west through the boundary between Zones 1 and 2, but the subway remained part of Zone 1, due to the impracticality of a payment-on-exit system. On 21 January 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. (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 relocating the fare barrier, but at other stations, this was unfeasible and they were not reconfigured until a later renovation, if at all.)
A situation similar to the former Zone 2 policy exists today on the Line 1 University–Spadina subway, which was extended to neighbouring Vaughan in York Region on 17 December 2017. The stations in Vaughan are treated as part of the TTC fare zone, with a second fare only being charged when transferring to York Region Transit/Viva, and Züm routes at these stations. The double fare also applies to TTC-contracted bus routes continuing north of Steeles Avenue or west of Toronto Pearson International Airport, which are the equivalents of the former suburban zonal routes, where a YRT, MiWay or Brampton Transit fare is required.
Presto fare media
In 2007, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) committed to implement the Presto system at 14 of its major subway stations. In 2008, the TTC approved the use of a smartcard system and worked with Presto in addressing the TTC's business requirements for "full" system participation. An initial funding allocation of $140 million was earmarked by the provincial and federal governments and the City of Toronto; however, the TTC estimated in its 2009-2013 budget that the project would take $365 million to complete. At a provincial funding announcement in March 2011, it was announced that Presto would become the TTC's fare card of choice, though details of financing were still to be worked out.
On 28 November 2012, TTC CEO Andy Byford, TTC chair Karen Stintz, and Metrolinx signed the master agreement committing the TTC to the Presto fare payment system. The agreement fell under another master agreement that for the next ten years the new four LRT lines would be built by Metrolinx and operated by the TTC. The TTC was the last system to commit to Presto, while also being the largest system with the most users in Canada. On 30 November 2014, the new low-floor Flexity Outlook streetcars became the first surface vehicles on the TTC to be equipped with this system. The older Canadian Light Rail Vehicle (CLRV) and Articulated Light Rail Vehicle (ALRV) streetcars would follow one year later on 14 December 2015, when those cars were retrofitted with Presto machines as well, and all remaining surface vehicles (including buses) and at least one entrance of all subway stations were equipped with this system by 23 December 2016.
In April 2016, Main Street was the first station on the Toronto subway system to have the new paddle-door fare gates which replaced the old tripod turnstiles. All subway stations (at least one entrance per station) became fully Presto-compatible by 22 December 2016.
From May to December 2016, Presto readers were installed in TTC buses from west to east. As of 31 May 2016, all Queensway division buses were equipped with Presto readers. This was followed by Wilson and Arrow Road divisions in August 2016 and Malvern and Mount Dennis divisions in October 2016. Birchmount and Eglinton divisions were the last two divisions to have the Presto readers rolled out, with installations completed by 23 December 2016.
By September 2016, frequent reports emerged that Presto loading machines, fare gates, and the units for tapping cards were not functioning as initially expected. The prevalence of these outages had the TTC calling the situation "unacceptable", although Byford noted the situation was improving. Across 2016 and 2017, faulty Presto devices resulted in 1.4 million free rides on the TTC, each ride representing forgone revenue for the Commission. The TTC estimated that from January 2016 to February 2018, it had lost $4.2 million in fare revenue as a result of problems with Presto readers, for which—as per the master agreement of 2012—Metrolinx was obligated to reimburse the TTC.
In June 2017, the TTC made their monthly Metropasses available on the Presto card; initially, only the adult and senior versions were available; by the fourth quarter of 2018, student, youth, post-secondary student, and 12-month discount Metropasses were available to load to Presto cards.
On 7 January 2018, the TTC and Metrolinx introduced a discounted double co-fare for customers transferring between Union Pearson Express, GO Transit and the TTC. The discounted fare is only available to Presto card customers who pay single fares using a stored card balance and is not available to customers who pay by cash, paper tickets, tokens or a Presto card with a digital monthly TTC pass loaded on it.
Starting in April 2018, the City of Toronto implemented its Fair Pass program for eligible low-income residents as part of the City's poverty reduction policies. The program was implemented through the Presto card, and offered $1 off single rides or $30.75 off a monthly pass relative to adult rates at the time of implementation.
By the end of December 2018, Presto readers were availablle on all streetcars and TTC buses as well in all subway station entrances (including both the main/staffed and unstaffed/automated entrances). Coxwell was the last subway station to be equipped with Presto readers.
In late 2018, the TTC began internal testing of single-use paper Presto fare cards, called Presto tickets (which include one-ride, two-ride and day pass tickets), to replace concessionary tickets and tokens. They were officially made available to the public at Lawrence West and Yorkdale stations on 6 April 2019, and were later made available at all Line 1 subway stations between Lawrence West and Vaughan Metropolitan Centre on 3 May 2019. On 8 July 2019, they were made available in all subway stations. They are also available for sale at select Shoppers Drug Mart stores.
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Fare gate installation completed by end of June, except for the Commerce Court entrance at King Station and the main entrance at Yorkdale Station, which will both be finished with other construction projects.
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- Historical system maps (Mike's Transit Stop)
- Historical system maps (Transit Toronto)
- Historical TTC zone map from 1954 (Transit Toronto)