News   Jun 14, 2024
 239     0 
News   Jun 14, 2024
 456     1 
News   Jun 14, 2024
 552     0 

Metrolinx: Presto Fare Card

drum118, you point a really rosy picture of a smart fare collection that works like the 407, but I'm curious, has 407-like technology been applied to public transit yet? It seems highly doubtful that a smart card would allow you to pay a fare from 25ft away from a scanner. If that were the case, when I walk on the sidewalk a fare would be deducted from my card every time a bus passes by!

Turnstiles would continue to exist in subway stations, to turn away fare evaders or people without cards. What will be changed is that instead of multiple "collector booths" in each station, there would only be one "customer service centre", located away from the turnstiles, where passengers can buy and reload their smart cards. There would also be automatic card reloading machines and self-serve card information readers.
The Star: Smart Card Cost Debated

Smart card cost debated
Jun. 12, 2006. 01:00 AM

Taxpayers across Ontario may have to pay to upgrade fare collection systems on the TTC, say some members of GO Transit's board of directors.

GO Transit is working on a partnership with the GTA's municipal systems that would see riders use one smart card to pay fares on buses and trains from Hamilton to Oshawa. The cost of the project is to be split among the nine transit systems operating in the GTA.

But Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion, who is also a GO board member, said she's worried that Toronto won't end up paying its share.

"When they finally want to go ahead with it, the province will fund it, and they're not funding ours," she said at Friday's GO Transit board meeting.

Toronto, for now, has decided not to come on board with the integrated fare system. McCallion said that when all the other cities do, commuters in Toronto will pressure the TTC to adapt and the province will end up footing the bill.

The TTC has argued that, as the largest transit provider in the GTA, a smart card system will cost it millions.

GO Transit CEO Gary McNeil said the TTC has been adamant it has to take care of more immediate priorities, like getting more buses on the road, before it goes ahead with any such plan.

"But," countered McCallion, "we'd like to get more buses operating, too."

The project is expected to cost GO $23 million to $25 million, though the province, which is overseeing the project, won't say what the final cost will be.


Oooh, the politics hurts my head. :\
The Star previews the smart fare card

Link to article

Fare cards will remove payment gridlock
New transit fare card readers will move riders and traffic along
Nov. 13, 2006. 06:33 AM

One-third of a second.

That's the estimated time new transit fare card readers will need to process the transaction when you pay to ride.

We know the region-wide fare card is coming, and that Accenture will get $250 million to design and put it in place. But provincial Transportation Minister Donna Cansfield talked with the Toronto Star to give readers of this column a better idea of how it will actually work for riders, transit agencies and possibly in the retail sector.

The prospect of time saved should appeal not only to mass transit riders but also to those who drive their cars to work in the morning.

If you've ever idled on Queen St. E., waiting in the right-hand lane as a slow line of riders boards a streetcar in the left lane, you think for a fleeting moment about gunning the engine to make them all scurry aboard.

Or try remaining calm standing in an excruciatingly torpid line at the Union Station farebox, as someone at the front peers into the depths of her purse for exact change.

"When people talk about the gridlock on the roads, they forget about the gridlock on transit, moving in and out of stations. You're standing at the corner, people are fumbling for change, they can't get a ticket," Cansfield said. "It's a huge timesaver. It's one of the big pluses of the fare card system."

Under the provincially created Greater Toronto Transportation Authority, the fare card will debut on four Mississauga bus routes, two stations on the GO Transit Milton line and Union Station by the middle of next year. But not until 2008, when the system expands to Burlington and Oakville, will commuters enjoy the full technological capability of the network. By 2010, the system will allow travel from Hamilton to Oshawa using a single card. This is, of course, assuming the hesitant, cash-strapped TTC decides to get fully on board the project.

While kiosks in transit stations and elsewhere will allow you to top up the dollar value on the card, Rob Hollis, director of the system, said at a transit conference last week that there will be another way to fill what he calls the "e-purse."

Through a call centre or online, commuters will be able to set up an account and allow automatic withdrawals of a pre-set amount from a debit or credit card whenever the value falls below $10 or $20 or whatever the rider chooses.

"You never have to worry about having the proper amount," Hollis said. "Just travel and forget."

The card will also know where the commuter transfers and automatically adjusts fares depending on which system he or she transfers to. Transit agencies will be able to use that data to quickly track where riders are going and which stations are the busiest, and adjust service levels accordingly, Cansfield said.

The card — expected to be the same size or smaller than a credit card — will get you on the subway, bus or train. But what if you're feeling peckish while walking through Union Station? Maybe sometime in the not-so-distant future you could use the fare card to buy a coffee and muffin. "You could use it (when) you get your Tim Hortons," Cansfield speculated.

And when you drive to the library to pay a late fee, why not use that same card to pay for your parking spot, then hand it over as both identification and payment at the library?

"We actually secured the rights for software services for the entire province of Ontario," Hollis said. "So if the municipalities want to partake in this particular infrastructure, they can develop to other areas. We're looking forward to working with other markets."

The new fare card could be the thin edge of a multipurpose one-card future.

"Hong Kong is the poster child for this," Hollis added. "They have micro-payments in retail stores. They have parking. They use it as an identity card."

The ministry of transportation is exploring those options, though Cansfield says the priority is to make sure the transit application works the way it should before considering how the card could interface elsewhere.

The GTTA will have to brand the card that will probably feature a logo, Cansfield said.

Any ideas on what it should be called? And please, for the sake of all guys out there, don't suggest e-purse.


"Hong Kong is the poster child for this," Hollis added. "They have micro-payments in retail stores. They have parking. They use it as an identity card."

Not true.


This is the Octopus smart fare card. You can pay your transit fare with this card, or buy a drink from 7-Eleven, or buy a meal at McDonald's, or pay for parking. But as you can see it is not an identity card- even though you can personalize it, it doesn't work as a photo ID.


This is the Hong Kong Identity Card. It's a biometric photo ID that can double as a library card or a driver's licence, but you can't pay your transit fare with it.
Same with London's Oyster card. You can register them to your name, but they don't act as an identity card anywhere.
This is fantastic and a huge improvement. I think that people don't realize what a cumbersome system we currently have. Once we get the smart cards, we won't know how we lived without them. I especially like the automatic fill-up idea. I'll definitely make use of that. The Parking Authority should be forced to accept the cards too.

Will this be the contactless type, the smart card chip type, or the swipe type. The latter has caused problems in New York with dirty readers. The contactless is clearly the best, though the most expensive.
The swipe type is also used in Chicago and the technology is also used in Vancouver (declining balance). I have the cards from each of the MTA, CTA and Translink, and they are almost the same (Translink's version is flimslier and is also issued as a transfer after paying a cash fare). London has both the swipe type and the contactless.

I think if we go with a brand new technology, might as well go for the most advanced - the contactless (scan or a "tap and go") would work well, and there would be an alert if the pass is a concession (senior/student) fare (to ensure the customer's elgibility) or invalid.

Finally, I want this to be more than a value-storage system - I want to finally see some incentives for short travel (either a cheaper fare - would probably need to do this with a tap in, tap out fare collection, or a 2 hour validity of a ride), and some mitigation of the penalty from switching between the TTC and other systems, and some fare integration with GO (even if it is a discount off the second fare).
I think if we go with a brand new technology, might as well go for the most advanced

How about implanting a microchip on people's arms? That would be the most advanced, except we evangelical Christians would refuse to use it, calling it the Mark of the Beast! :)

The beauty of the smart fare card is that the possibilities of fare structure, incentives, discounts, perks, etc. would be endless. In this area Hong Kong has done a lot of work, such as a frequent rider reward program where a passenger can exchange 10 subway rides on an Octopus card for fast-food restaurant coupons, and Octopus card scanners hidden in secret locations in the city which give fare discounts to every card that it has scanned.
in Hong Kong, if you live in a new condo, your Octopus Card (in your purse or wallet or wherever) can also be used to activate your condo elevator to go to the floor you live on (ie. just swing your purse at the hip-level sensor in the elevator)... saves the trouble of PRESSING lol :p
Or the "Just Tap & Go" type! :b

Which is what I think they should actually be using. Why bring a whole new form of payment when there is Mastercard PayPass which is starting to see devices installed in convenience stores. When this was first looked at Dexit made a proposal but didn't get much consideration. Now Dexit seems to be changing directions or shutting down while there is this new PayPass thing replacing it.

Or we could just hook into Vancouver's format, breeding coast-to-coast togetherness and transit comradery...
Re: farecard

National Post

Link to article

New TTC tokens are designed to fight fraud
New ones will be made of same material as toonie

Glynnis Mapp
National Post

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Toronto Transit Commission is spending $1.7-million on "teenie toonies" in an attempt to stamp out transit fraud.

The TTC has ordered 20 million new tokens, which will be unveiled by TTC chairman Howard Moscoe and general manager Gary Webster on Monday. The new tokens are made of the same metal as the $2 coin and have different coloured metals to ensure durability.

The money-like transit tender is said to be "designed with the latest technology, making it next to impossible to re-produce," the TTC said in a statement.

"We have minted a token that will be significantly harder to counterfeit; it'll be a bi-metal token," Mr. Moscoe said yesterday. "The complicated nature of the metal will make it more secure."

The TTC estimates that fake tokens have cost it more than $10-million since 2001.

TTC officials began noticing a problem with fake tokens in 2004, and have been working on tracking down counterfeiters.

The TTC led an 18-month undercover investigation that year that saw 307 people arrested, 450 charges laid and more than 20,000 falsified tickets collected by officials.

Last February, Toronto police and FBI agents broke up a $5-million fraud operation involving three brothers in Canada and a woman in Niagara Falls allegedly selling fake tokens. Mr. Moscoe said a U.S. mint made the fake tokens, but he said he could not offer more details because the TTC has filed a lawsuit against the mint.

The TTC is still trying to crack down on counterfeit metro passes that look realistic but have phoney electronic stripes on the back. The fraudulent passes have put a $300,000 yearly dent in the transit system's budget.

Mr. Moscoe said the TTC is moving in the direction of "smart cards" -- all-in-one payment cards that will make easier for transit commuters to hop from one system to the next across the Greater Toronto Area. He hopes to eventually phase out TTC issued tickets, metro passes, and the new tokens.

"All of this media will eventually be replaced by smart cards," Mr. Moscoe said. "But it'll become a reality in the 905 area way before it becomes a reality here."
Re: farecard

Came across this news release - don;t think I've seen it posted here before.

Thales builds presence in North American market with secure ticketing system for Greater Toronto Area (GTA) bus and commuter rail networks

December 11, 2006
The GTA is the latest major urban area to adopt Thales’s smart card technology

Brétigny-sur-Orge, France, 11 December 2006: Thales today announced it has been named the subcontractor to supply the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) transit network with an integrated secure ticketing system. A ten-year contract, awarded to Accenture, for the design, production, installation, support and administration of the system will involve nine transit agencies¹ with a total of approximately 2,000 vehicles, including bus, subway and rail. The total value for the fixed contract is CAD 250 million including sales taxes (€ 175 million). This contract win is a strategic step for Thales in the North American transit market.

The GTA Fare System will make travel across the GTA easier by using smart card technology to replace tickets, tokens or passes. The convenience of a seamless transit system will give people the incentive to leave their cars at home. Riders will be able to load their fare card with value at wickets, select retail outlets, via pre-authorized payments, by telephone or Internet. As a passenger boards a public transportation vehicle, the card is placed in front of an electronic reader, which scans the card to calculate the fare and deduct it from the card balance. When the system is fully operational, it will accommodate passengers traveling across GTA transit systems from Hamilton to Durham.

As subcontractor to Accenture, Thales will provide all on-vehicle smart card processing systems and back office systems to the GTA’s eight municipal service providers and to GO Transit. Thales and Accenture will jointly implement a key component of the GTA Fare System, the Integrated Fare Collection System. This system enables the acquisition of transactions from farecards and front-end equipment and the daily apportionment and distribution of funds across the GTA’s service providers and participating third-party agencies. The GTA fare system will be introduced on a limited basis in mid-2007 and will be fully implemented by 2010 at eight transit agencies and five TTC subway stations.

“Thales is building its presence in North America, which is an important market for the company,†said Jean Louis Olié, managing director of Thales’s transportation systems activities. “We are confident that our extensive experience in providing fare collection solutions worldwide and our close partnership with Accenture will prove successful once again in delivering a secure ticketing system to the GTA.â€

¹ The new GTA Fare Card system is a joint initiative with Brampton Transit, Burlington Transit, Durham Region Transit, Hamilton Street Railway Company, GO Transit, Mississauga Transit, Toronto Transit Commission (on five subway stations), Oakville Transit and York Region Transit.

Thales’s smart card solutions and associated back-office systems are now present in major cities throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East and North America.â€

About Thales
Thales is a leading international electronics and systems group, serving defence, aerospace and security markets worldwide, supported by a comprehensive services offering. The group’s civil and military businesses develop in parallel to serve a single objective: the security of people, property and nations. Leveraging a global network of high-level researchers, Thales offers a capability unmatched in Europe to develop and deploy critical information systems. Thales employs 60,000 people in 50 countries and generated revenues of € 10.3 billion in 2005, with a record order book of over € 20 billion.

The Transport & Energy activity of Thales ( ) integrates secure systems for public transport and energy activities like integrated fare collection, train supervision and control, road toll collection, traffic and fleet management, public parking systems, telematics and geolocalisation solutions.

Press Contacts
Verena Adt
Tel +33 (0) 1 69 88 58 79

Becky Kiely
+44 (0) 20 7608 4657