As the TTC transitions away from Metropasses and tokens in favour of PRESTO, the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) is also preparing to sell PRESTO cards.
The union hopes to sell PRESTO cards beginning in September as part of a pilot project. The cards will have $20 preloaded and the student rate preprogrammed into the card. The UTSU may offer reloading and registration in the future. Since PRESTO cards do not expire, unlike Metropasses that can only be used on certain months, the union plans to always keep cards in stock. The union will continue to sell Metropasses and tokens until they are discontinued.
When asked about the financial implications of this transition, vice-president, internal and services Mathias Memmel indicated that the UTSU, as an agent of the TTC, takes a very small commission of about one per cent from the sale of products, so the PRESTO card sales will not translate to a major revenue change for the union.
“Our arrangement with the TTC isn’t really about profit, and we don’t expect our arrangement with PRESTO to be especially profitable either. Our aim is to provide a convenient service to our members,” said Memmel.
The PRESTO electronic payment system, which was launched in 2009 and has since been implemented by 11 transit agencies across Ontario, is already available on all streetcars and in 31 TTC subway stations. The card will replace Metropasses, tickets and tokens to become the only available fare, other than cash, by December 2016.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this article stated that the UTSU would sell PRESTO cards in September. In fact, the union’s plans to sell the cards have not been finalized.