Wynne tells Giambrone that when it comes to Presto cards, it’s her way or the highway

Wynne tells Giambrone that when it comes to Presto cards, it’s her way or the highway

Here’s another thing Toronto’s transit system needed: having pioneered new ways to argue over who’s paying for what, the city and province are now arguing over how to pay for a ride.  The province has declared that we’ll all have to use a pre-loaded smart card system called Presto, while the city wants to investigate a system that would let riders swipe their debit or credit cards. Relations have become so fraught that Transportation Minister Kathleen Wynne is holding a gun to Transit City’s head and threatening to pull the trigger.

So says the Star:

The TTC should honour promises to fully adopt Ontario’s regional Presto smart card, Wynne said, adding that doing so is a condition of Toronto continuing to receive a share of the gas tax ($161 million this year), provincial funding for replacement streetcars ($416 million) and new light rail vehicles for four Transit City lines ($770 million).

“People need to understand agreements were contingent on participation,” Wynne said. “I fully expect the city will take part in the Presto system and stop discussing a separate and potentially confusing system.”

So, either the city relents and we give up the convenience of using our debit and credit cards, or we potentially lose out on much-needed new transit money. It’s like Aliens vs. Predator: no matter who wins, we all lose.

A Toronto Star editorial makes the relevant point that of the three people involved in this—David Miller, Adam Giambrone and Wynne—the minister is the only one running for re-election. It’s a fair question to ask whether these kinds of issues should be decided over people who won’t be around to pay any kind of political price if things go belly-up. If Torontonians can’t get money or convenience, then we should at least get to look forward to vengeance.

• Province demands TTC halt ‘confusing’ smart card work [Toronto Star]
Man behind TTC’s push for “open payment” sticks to his guns [Toronto Star]
• Province lashes out at TTC over fare system [CTV News]
• TTC double fare system wastes money: minister [Toronto Sun]
• Not for lame ducks [Toronto Star]