A significant problem with fare evasion came to light on Friday morning after a breaking TTC report revealed that an alarming amount of adult commuters avoided paying full fare last year by purchasing children's Presto cards. The TTC allows children 12 and under to ride for free.
The main problem with having a Presto card for children that allows them to ride for free is that it happens to look identical to the card used by adults."During our six weeks of audit observation work on all three modes of transit covering many different times of the day on TTC, we did not come across any children aged 12 and under who were using the Child Presto cards," the TTC report stated.
There are no alert systems to notify bus or streetcar operators when an adult is using a children’s card, making the issue near impossible to detect. Fare inspectors were only able to apprehend 76 commuters for the crime throughout their entire inspection period which lasted half a month.
The TTC report included two suggestions on how to solve the problem of fraudulent card use:
- An expansion of the fare inspection program which includes buses and the development of more effective fare inspection methods for buses.
- An initiative that alters the Child Presto card to look vastly different from its adult counterpart.
Toronto’s transit agency lost out on an estimated $61 million in revenue in 2018 as the direct result of fare evasion.
One thing all commuters should remember when they are thinking about avoiding their fare is that the vast majority of Torontonians pay their fare, and if everyone did, fare prices wouldn’t be on the rise. When you evade your fare, you hurt an entire city to save yourself $3.25.