Have you ever been running late for a GO bus or train only to realize you forgot to load your Presto card? No biggie, right? You’ll just load it really quickly, except all the machines are backed up, so now you’re definitely going to miss your trip. If only you could’ve just tapped your credit or debit card instead. Well, good news, everyone! Metrolinx is finally testing out its long-awaited open payment function, and it could be coming as early as next year.
According to The Toronto Star, the new system will allow commuters to tap a contactless credit card, debit card, or phone onto a Presto reader. The move is being viewed as a big step towards modernizing transit systems by giving passengers the option to pay for their rides without having to purchase specialized products such as tickets or fare cards. So, no more stressing over last-minute reloads on your Presto card.
Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster first announced the launch of the new pilot system during a joint press conference with Mayor John Tory and Premier Doug Ford. During the announcement, Verster opened up about the recent criticism of Presto and the importance of pushing the system into the future.
“We need to move the Presto product as it stands now into the new age,” Verster said, according to The Hamilton Spectator.
“We are busy finalizing a way forward that would put Presto on your mobile device, allow for open transactions with credit cards on the system, and a couple of exciting features that would take Presto into the next generation,” he added.
Metrolinx previously launched an e-ticket pilot program back in July to great success. The pay option, which allows customers to keep their tickets on their phone, has sold 50,000 tickets sold to date. According to the crown agency, the results prove that commuters are looking for different ways to pay their fares.
TTC also announced last month that they would no longer be selling tickets and tokens at stations after November 30 in an attempt to move customers over to the Presto system.