Passengers in North America’s fourth biggest transit system may be able to pay their fares with their phones in the near future thanks to Toronto Transit Commission support for platforms like Apple Pay and Google Pay.
Hints of such functionality emerged this week via Metrolinx, the agency that administrates the tap-to-pay PRESTO transit card used by TTC passengers. Speaking to The Toronto Star, a Metrolinx representative said that the organization was seeking to support mobile payment platforms, suggesting that the PRESTO card could be virtualized for use in a digital wallet.
Metrolinx asserted that Apple had already reached out to the organization last week about integrating Apple Pay into the plans, but there could be some technical stumbling blocks with respect to that specific platform. According to the Metrolinx official, the PRESTO card features an electronic chip that has a digital counterpart in Android devices, but not in Apple’s iPhones, so it could be that Google Pay ends up getting support first.
Other major cities have also embraced mobile payments for their own transit systems. New York’s Metro-North Railroad and Long Island Railroad, for example, started accepting Apple Pay and Masterpass in 2016, and Apple Pay made its debut on London’s Tube as far back as 2015. Those who are familiar with the delays of the TTC, meanwhile, will not be surprised to learn that Metrolinx doesn’t have a firm timeline for its mobile fares plan and expects the project to take at least a few years.