News / Toronto

TTC to phase out collector booths at subway stations by end of 2018

Two stations — Sheppard West and Wilson — have already undergone the transformation. Instead of the booths roving customer service agents will be on hand.

TTC collector booths are being phased out across all subway stations, as part of the stations transformation program.

Torstar News Service Order this photo

TTC collector booths are being phased out across all subway stations, as part of the stations transformation program.

The familiar booths at subway stations where passengers purchase metropasses and tokens or simply ask for directions are being phased out, as part of the TTC's stations transformation program.

Two stations — Sheppard West and Wilson — have already done away with the booths starting this past Sunday, according to a statement on the TTC website. Instead, as is the case for the six newly-inaugurated stations extending into the York Region, a number of customer service agents are on hand to offer any assistance needed to passengers face-to-face.

Other stations will follow throughout next year as the TTC looks to add more eyes in the stations to help with safety issues or directions, said TTC spokesperson Stuart Green.

"Rolling out Presto will mean that the entrance to the stations is automated," he said, noting there will be no more need to sell tokens or tickets at the gates. "This is about creating a more customer-friendly environment."

Travellers will still be able to use their metropasses, tokens, tickets or even cash for their rides on the subways; they just won't be able to buy them at the stations, he said.

The TTC has been in the process of adopting the use of the PRESTO cards across the board for a while, and the phasing out of the human fare collection at the stations is part of that process.

Currently, TTC riders can purchase PRESTO cards on fare vending machines available at eight subway stations, as well as a few Shoppers Drug Mart stores and Gateway Newsstands. The vending machines will be installed at other stations as they transition from collector booths as well, Green said.

"Integrating the PRESTO on TTC is quite complicated," he said. "There are a number of things we're still sorting out with PRESTO but that should be done over the next year."

TTC Riders executive director Shelagh Pizey-Allen said the main issue is about PRESTO not being accessible to low-income people across the city.

"There needs to be something that you don't need a bank account for, something you can buy anywhere in the city, something social service agents and drop-ins can distribute, something that's affordable at the same price as the tokens," she said.

"Convenience is definitely a part of this but our big concern is that soon TTC will be even more inaccessible for people on low or fixed income."

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