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TTC launches new fare device

Counterfeit pass or token? Gadget plays ‘gotcha’

Published On Wed Jan 27 2010


TTC Greenwood bus driver Ken Boodram tries out a new farebox, equipped with a Metro Pass reader.

Tony Bock/Toronto Star

Tess Kalinowski
Transportation reporter

The TTC has begun testing a new fare box system expected to eliminate counterfeit Metropasses and tokens.

The new device has been mounted on only one bus so far. It runs on the 31 Greenwood route.

Riders swipe their pass or drop in a token and the new system alerts the driver to any counterfeiting issue.

Another pilot will begin on the Pape bus next month, followed by the 506 Carleton streetcar, said TTC spokesman Danny Nicholson.

The hope is to roll out the new system across the entire TTC by the end of 2011.

Meantime, transit officials will study the reliability, customer and operator experience of the new devices, and its impact on loading times for vehicles.

“We want to make sure we get everything right,” said Nicholson.

The cost of about $5.3 million has already been budgeted. The TTC estimates it loses about $1 million annually to fraud. That’s down from about $2 million last year, when it introduced a hologram feature on its passes. In 2006, the TTC launched new tokens to cut down on about $7 million annually in counterfeiting.

The new devices won’t be compatible with the province’s Presto smart fare card, which could only be introduced on the TTC by 2013 at the earliest. All other regional transit systems expect to be using Presto by the end of next year, about the time the TTC has its new fare monitoring system up and running.