In an open letter to Doug Ford, the union representing Toronto's transit workers revealed that the Presto system is actually a lot worse than you may think.
According to transit workers, the system is unreliable and will not be able to handle the influx of users once the TTC eliminates Metropasses next month.
The union claims that there are a number of big issues with the Presto system and most of them have to do with the machines themselves. TTC bus drivers said in the letter that in the mornings, the system can take up to an hour just to turn on after starting up the bus, delaying their trips.
Beyond that, if a machine is broken, the TTC says it can days or even weeks for someone from Presto to come do maintenance on it. This means that buses sometimes have to be put out of commission for extended periods of time, leading to more strain on the system.
The most concerning thing from the letter, however, is the fact that TTC workers claim they are missing out on large revenues because of faulty Presto readers. According to unnamed TTC workers, faulty Presto machines mean anywhere from 10% to 20% of Presto fares aren't being paid on the average bus driver shift.
Based on the TTC's own numbers on ridership from 2017, they have 261,112,835 people riding the bus every day. On average that works out to approximately 715,000 riders a day - 20% of that number is around 143,000 riders whose fares are being missed.
Since the Presto fare is $3, that means that up to $430,000 of fares are being lost on an average day. In a work week, that would amount to around $2.5 million of fares simply not being paid.
While it's hard to say for sure just how many times the Presto machines malfunction every day, it is a known fact that they do. Earlier this year, the TTC asked Metrolinx, the company which runs Presto, to compensate them for $4.2 million for revenues lost to faulty Presto readers over two years.
Despite this, both the TTC and the Metrolinx are confident that they are ready for the switch over to Presto. The metro pass program will officially end on January 1st, 2019.