Representatives of Federal, Provincial, and Municipal governments converged this morning for an announcement about Toronto's transit future. Gathering at the Bloor-Danforth Line's Main Street station, MP Adam Vaughan was joined by local MPP Arthur Potts, Ward 31's Janet Davis, TTC Chair Josh Colle, TTC CEO Andy Byford, as well as various other functionaries and Metrolinx representatives. The announcement? Main Street subway station is the first to have Presto-enabled fare gates, a major improvement over the turnstiles found in other stations.  

MP Adam Vaughan celebrates the new Presto fare gate, image by Stefan NovakovicMP Adam Vaughan celebrates the new Presto fare gate, image by Stefan Novakovic

Celebrating the news—which has been circulating for some months—Vaughan explained that "the new modern gates are providing better access to Main Station and offering more flexibility to transit users." Providing unobstructed and accessible entry for wheelchairs, strollers, bicycles and more, new fare gates will continue to be installed at primary station entrances throughout 2016. The Presto system is also set to roll out on buses and Wheel-Trans later this Spring, with the TTC expecting full Presto availability throughout the entire network by the end of the year.

The fare gates in action, image by Stefan NovakovicThe fare gates in action, image by Stefan Novakovic

Colle highlighted the efficiency of the Presto system, which "will continue to make the TTC more accessible and customer friendly." The move towards fare card technology will help the TTC become more efficient, reducing the significant resources "spent on fare collection and storage. Right now, we even have rooms with reinforced floors to handle the weight of the cash," said the TTC Chair, drawing attention to the benefits of the streamlined fare card system "used everywhere else in the world." 

Two of the fare gates feature metropass readers, image by Stefan NovakovicTwo of the fare gates feature metropass readers, image by Stefan Novakovic

Our video shows the six new fare gates—two of which are equipped with metropass readers— in action. (Watch for a Josh Colle cameo). The gates, which have actually been in use at Main Street station since late March, utilize a "paddle" system that opens the gate once a Presto card is tapped. For passengers exiting the station, meanwhile, an automatic sensor opens the gate from the other side. 

We will keep you updated as the Presto system continues to roll out across the TTC, with new fare gates soon to be installed Sherbourne, Bay, and Wellesley stations. As it stands, 26 TTC stations (and all streetcars) are equipped with Presto readers, with the remaining 42 subway stations slated to be Presto-enabled by the end of 2016. Unmanned entrances will have their full-height turnstiles replaced following the main entrance rollout.

Want to share your thoughts about the Presto rollout? Feel free to leave a comment in the space below this page, or join in the ongoing discussion on our associated Forum thread.