How do I convince the TTC that it’s their fault I couldn’t pay my fare?

Dear Urban Diplomat,

The other night, I took the Queens Quay streetcar to Union Station. It was a new car, but both of the fare machines were out of order, so I couldn’t pay. When I got off, the inspectors in the station hassled me for not having a transfer—the few other riders apparently all had Metropasses or Presto cards, so I was the only one. I explained the situation, but the streetcar was long gone by the time we finished arguing, and they gave me a $235 ticket. Now what do I do?

—No Fare!, CityPlace

Gear up—this, like most trips on the TTC, is likely to be a long, slow ride. Officially, you have two options: fight the ticket in the Ontario Court of Justice or meet with a TTC prosecutor to settle the charge. Drivers are supposed to file reports on things like on-the-fritz fare machines, so there’s a chance a prosecutor could excuse the ticket if the records back your story up (or lower the fine, if they don’t). While you wait for a date, do yourself and fellow commuters a favour by telling customer service that you don’t deserve to be dragged through bureaucratic purgatory because the TTC doesn’t have its act together. If your complaint strikes the right balance between civil and stern, it could motivate the commission to look into—and, one can dream, fix—the problem. Send your questions to the Urban Diplomat at


Sign up for This City, our free newsletter about everything that matters right now in Toronto politics, sports, business, culture, society and more.

By signing up, you agree to our terms of use and privacy policy.
You may unsubscribe at any time.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.


More Urban Diplomat

Dear Urban Diplomat: My wife keeps stealing berries from our neighbour's tree

Dear Urban Diplomat: My wife keeps stealing berries from our neighbour’s tree