Starting today, all you need is a nickel to load your PRESTO card. When buying the card in person — which will still cost $6 — PRESTO users now only need to load five cents.
That’s a huge drop from the former $10 minimum. All of this is taking place as the TTC gets ready to eliminate standard tickets and token payment options.
Back in September, Annalise Czerny, Executive VP of PRESTO, announced that they knew "the minimum load requirement is a concern among our customers, who see it as a barrier to switching to PRESTO.
“By taking this first step in lowering it to five cents across in-person retail and service outlets, we’re making it easier for more people to discover the many benefits of getting a card, whether it’s automatic top-ups when funds get too low or balance protection on lost or stolen cards.”
The five-cent minimum load is part of a step-by-step approach.
As of today it applies only to cards bought at in-person outlets (Shoppers Drug Mart and Customer Service outlets). Five-cent loads via self-service machines and online transactions are next up, depending on when software changes are “tested and rolled out.”
So why even charge a nickel?
It’s a requirement of the system’s programming, says Metrolinx. Now that pennies are gone, the five-cent load is the lowest option available.
Starting Nov. 30 TTC subway stations will no longer allow commuters to purchase tickets, tokens nor day passes onsite. Instead, people will have to buy their individual fares at third party retailers, which could be a huge inconvenience.
As reported by Deidre Olsen in Toronto Storeys, this decision by the TTC to stop sales in subway stations is part of a systemwide initiative to make all commuters use PRESTO — an electronic tap-and-go system that you can load with money.