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Monday, April 30, 2012

Scarborough Fair?

Scarborough residents have to swallow "no subways for you." 

I recently looked into the Presto payment option and discovered that there are multiple Presto machines at various TTC subway stations all across the city...except in Scarborough. 

Here is the list of TTC stations where Presto machines are located:
  • Union
  • Bloor/Yonge
  • College
  • Dundas
  • Queen’s Park
  • St. George
  • St. Patrick
  • Kipling
  • Islington
  • Don Mills
  • Yorkdale
  • York Mills
  • Finch
  • Downsview
Beyond these "end" stations, there are several other stations included. Why does Islington, the next station east of Kipling end Station, also get Presto machines ahead of Kennedy or the Scarborough Town Centre?  Same question with respect to Yorkdale & Downsview?

The thing is, Presto offers a discount on fare. Why should Scarborough have less access to the opportunity to save on fare than other areas of the city? Scarborough continues to get less service - yet pay the same fare, and that's just not fair.

I contacted TTC about it, and was told:

"The TTC is still in the process of finalizing agreements with Metrolinx/PRESTO for a system-wide installation of PRESTO at all TTC stations and vehicles. Metrolinx/PRESTO is hoping to have this installed throughout the TTC network in time for the 2015 Pan American Games."

2015? Hello? It's 2012. Why should Scarborough residents have to wait for several years to have equal access to services to which others have access right now? And, what if there were no 2015 Games?

This is not acceptable. Are there grounds for class action here? Scarborough will continue to get the short end of the stick until it kicks back and refuses to accept 2nd class status, or gets a discount on fares reflecting the diminished services it gets relative to the rest of the city.


DA said...

Apparently, PRESTO is a stupid proprietary system anyway. I'm not a fan of having to remember to both "tap on" AND "tap off" when leaving GO. Figures an Ontario government initiative would be something that's more a pain to use than it is of value.

Lionel Braithwaite said...

I agree, and also think that these RFID things are quite overrated. The priority should be building Transit City and not this technological gimcrack that makes a 'beep' sound when you wave a card in front of it.

Anonymous said...

I know this post is old, but I came across it through a link in a GridTo article. I don't disagree with you, but just wanted to clarify that Islington and Yorkdale stations both have presto because they are both major connecting points to other transit. Yorkdale has a Go bus terminal and Islington has several Mississauga transit routes running in/out of the station.

DA said...

Hey Anonymous,

Thanks for your thought. Do keep in mind that Scarborough Centre Stn. also has a GO Bus terminal, so it should by all rights be treated equally.

But, even if Scarborough Centre Stn. did not have a Go Bus terminal, shouldn't there be SOME kind of access for TTC riders from Scarborough, somewhere on the system?

Scarborough is a big chunk of real estate with almost 700,000 people in it - the better transit access is, the less cars/pollution/gridlock.

I am not alone in observing a consistent and unfair neglect of this region of 416.

DA said...

BTW, I started using Presto a few months ago, primarily on GO Train but also on TTC where tap terminals are available (such as Dundas Stn.) While not perfect, I am willing to say it is an improvement on Metropass in that it can be refilled at any time - no more need to line up like cattle for a few days at the end of each month.

Of course, I had not experienced an issue with my balance getting screwed up, so my experience with it is limited.

I also found it in poor taste that, while it can be used on TTC, yet TTC personnel had no training to answer commuter questions about its use...deployment execution is poor.