Most people who use the TTC or GO Transit in and around the 6ix are familiar with the PRESTO system and its pros and cons. One Toronto woman certainly is after she recently spoke out about receiving a $240 fine for fare evasion after she claims her card malfunctioned when trying to pay for a trip. In response, Metrolinx said PRESTO card issues like this are extremely rare. It seems that plenty of Torontonians, though, couldn't agree less.

The woman who received the fine, Samantha Chong-Luke, told CTV News she was heading to Oshawa for a birthday party and added $20 to her balance through a self-service machine. 

However, when she tried to use her card to pay for the trip, the machine malfunctioned, leaving her unsure if the transaction had actually gone through.

She decided to board the train and deal with the issue when she arrived. 

However, when she couldn't provide proof of payment for the fare inspector, she was quickly given a $240 ticket for fare evasion and claims she was told she would be arrested. 

Metrolinx's senior spokesperson Anne-Marie Aikins told Narcity: "PRESTO handled more than 3 million successful transactions yesterday alone... PRESTO works for a majority of our customers but we know there is always room for improvement."*

Metrolinx spokesperson Matt Llewellyn said card issues were extremely rare, according to CTV. The company suggests seeing a customer service agent rather than boarding if you have payment troubles.

Llewellyn said: "You could end up in a situation where you are confronted by a transit safety officer or one of our revenue protection officers and because you won't have proof of payment and our zero-tolerance approach, you will likely be ticketed."

This is where some Torontonians stepped in, and let us tell you they were having none of it.

One Twitter user even called Metrolinx "shameful" over the incident.

"Their shitty tech puts people in a position like this, where the onus [is] on the individual to stop their commute and talk to some agent, while their own fare enforcement goons threaten *arrest*," wrote Toronto Star columnist Shawn Micallef.

However, it should be noted that Llewellyn did explain that Metrolinx began a "zero-tolerance" policy on fare evasion last year, and the fare inspectors took the proper steps in the situation.

According to CTV, Metrolinx says 3% of all riders weren't paying fares, costing the system $15 million per year.

Even so, Chong-Luke has filed a complaint, and an investigation is underway.

“We do take these types of complaints from our customers very seriously and we have launched an internal review," Llewellyn said.

The system has faced its share of criticism in the past.

Back in summer 2019, commuters were using a UK subway video to bash the system, and there were reports later in the year of machines not working properly due to overloading.

Transit issues are a hot topic today and every day in southern Ontario.

GTA commuters found out this week they'd have to pay extra to connect from GO Transit to the TTC. But, on the bright side, we should be able to make PRESTO payments with our phones very soon. 

At the end of the day, whether Torontonians may like it or not, it appears PRESTO is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

Any cardholder who has concerns or questions can contact a customer service rep at https://www.prestocard.ca/en/contact-us or by calling 1-877-378-6123.*

*This article has been updated.

Comments are now closed.
Account Settings
Notifications
Favourites
Share Feedback
Log Out

Register this device to receive push notifications