The TTC is now taking new measures to put an end to the city’s fare evasion problem. Toronto’s Auditor General first raised awareness on the issue late last month by a video which exposed a variety of schemes used by commuters to avoid paying their fare. Since then, new tactics have been put into action to help fight back against the scams.
The TTC's Communications Advisor, Stuart Green, tells Narcity that they will be following the Auditor General's recommendations by "hiring 70 new staff and using technology like outward facing cameras" to make it more difficult for transit riders to get away with fare evasion. Those new hires will include fare collectors and special constables.
The transit agency is also sending plain-clothed fare collectors to heavy-traffic stations like Union in an effort to catch fare dodgers in the act. Fare collectors typically patrol public transit in uniform, which transit riders can easily identify.
Another scheme often utilized by dishonest commuters is the use of children's Presto cards. Children 12 and younger are able to board any TTC vehicle for free as long as they have their special Presto card. However, the card looks nearly identical to the one used by adults, which has led many to abuse to the system and score free rides.
The TTC is currently working alongside Metrolinx and Presto to come up with a solution to the costly loophole. So far, two solutions have been floated for fixing the problem - a vast expansion of the fare inspection program and an initiative that alters the children’s card to look notably different from the adult one.
Fare evasion is an issue that hurts all Torontonians. Last year, the city lost $61 million after the number of fare evaders increased by five percent. It goes without saying that if the issue continues to grow at such a rate, the rest of us will be paying more to ride.