Metrolinx begins contactless fare payment pilot in Toronto

Wearable being used to make a contactless payment on Metrolinx Toronto
CASHLESS: To pay, passengers tap their contactless device on a reader at the start and end of their journey

Passengers travelling on Metrolinx’s Union Pearson (UP) Express airport rail link are the first in the Canadian city of Toronto to trial an open payment system that enables them to pay their fares with a contactless credit card or mobile wallet, without needing to buy a Presto transit card or e-ticket.

To use the new Presto contactless fare payment service, passengers tap their physical card or payments-enabled smartphone or wearable device on a fare reader at the beginning and end of their journey to ensure they are charged the correct amount.

Metrolinx is piloting the service on UP Express alongside its existing Presto transit card and e-ticketing system prior to rolling it out to other transit networks and agencies across the Greater Golden Horseshoe region.

“Presto contactless payment offers a new and easy way for customers to pay for their transit fare, with no need to load funds or purchase a ticket ahead of time,” Metrolinx explains in a blog post.

“Just like with other contactless payment systems across the world, customers should take the card they want to pay with out of their wallet, purse or phone case when tapping onto a Presto device to pay. This avoids a situation called ‘card clash’ and ensures the correct payment method is charged.

“Customers must also tap on and off in the same way. If you tap on with your credit card, you must tap off with the same credit card. If you tap on with your phone or watch, you must tap off with the same phone or watch using the same card set up in your mobile wallet.

“You can also pre-set your preferred credit card in a mobile wallet on your phone (or watch) for easy access and use anytime you feel like using credit as a payment method.”

A short video shows how the system works.

The system currently supports Visa, Mastercard and American Express credit cards, as well as Apple Pay and Google Pay.

Metrolinx plans to introduce support for debit card transactions via Interac Debit “in the spring”.

Metrolinx originally announced plans to trial an open payment contactless ticketing system in November 2019 and launched Presto e-tickets for occasional public transport users in September 2020.

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