Last Updated: Monday, November 20, 2006 | 5:22 PM ET
Toronto’s transit system is tossing out its old subway tokens and bringing in new, high-tech versions to stop counterfeiters who have cost the system millions in lost revenue.
The new token, made of brass and silver, has been dubbed the “teeny toonie token” by Toronto Transit Commission chair Howard Moscoe because it is bi-metallic, just like the Canadian two-dollar coin.
The TTC unveiled the new tokens Monday afternoon during a ceremony at City Hall.
According to a press release, the tokens are designed with the latest technology and are “next to impossible to reproduce.”
Moscoe told the CBC the tokens are “unique” in that something is implanted inside them, but said he couldn’t be more specific than that.
New tokens were ordered in an effort to put an end to the sale of counterfeit tokens that the TTC estimates have cost the commission $10 million over the past two years.
20 million new tokens coming soon
One of the largest counterfeit token scams involved three brothers who allegedly contracted a legitimate U.S. mint to produce fake tokens. A lengthy investigation by Toronto police, Ontario Provincial Police and the FBI led to the arrest of three men in Toronto in November 2004.
The high-quality fakes couldn’t be used in subway station turnstiles, but were almost impossible to detect when placed in fare boxes in buses and at stations.
The TTC has ordered about 20 million new tokens at a cost of $1.7 million.
The new tokens will go into circulation over the next few months. Turnstiles will continue accepting the old tokens until early next year.