Here’s another thing Toronto’s transit system needed: having pioneered new ways to argue over who’s paying for what, the city and province are now arguing over how to pay for a ride. The province has declared that we’ll all have to use a pre-loaded smart card system called Presto, while the city wants to investigate a system that would let riders swipe their debit or credit cards. Relations have become so fraught that Transportation Minister Kathleen Wynne is holding a gun to Transit City’s head and threatening to pull the trigger.
So says the Star:
The TTC should honour promises to fully adopt Ontario’s regional Presto smart card, Wynne said, adding that doing so is a condition of Toronto continuing to receive a share of the gas tax ($161 million this year), provincial funding for replacement streetcars ($416 million) and new light rail vehicles for four Transit City lines ($770 million).
“People need to understand agreements were contingent on participation,” Wynne said. “I fully expect the city will take part in the Presto system and stop discussing a separate and potentially confusing system.”
So, either the city relents and we give up the convenience of using our debit and credit cards, or we potentially lose out on much-needed new transit money. It’s like Aliens vs. Predator: no matter who wins, we all lose.
A Toronto Star editorial makes the relevant point that of the three people involved in this—David Miller, Adam Giambrone and Wynne—the minister is the only one running for re-election. It’s a fair question to ask whether these kinds of issues should be decided over people who won’t be around to pay any kind of political price if things go belly-up. If Torontonians can’t get money or convenience, then we should at least get to look forward to vengeance.
• Province demands TTC halt ‘confusing’ smart card work [Toronto Star]
• Man behind TTC’s push for “open payment” sticks to his guns [Toronto Star]
• Province lashes out at TTC over fare system [CTV News]
• TTC double fare system wastes money: minister [Toronto Sun]
• Not for lame ducks [Toronto Star]