Adults using child Presto cards is a big part of TTC fare evasion and it's remarkably easy to do
We know fare evasion is a problem on the TTC but now we are learning how many people are avoiding paying.
TTC staff say adults using child Presto cards are a huge problem that could cost the system anywhere from $12.4 million to $23 million each year.
They're taking advantage of the TTC's "kids ride free" policy.
A quick online search shows just how easy it is to do. Listings for "unlimited Presto" cards can be found for as little as $35 dollars.
Setting up a child card is as simple as showing up at a Shoppers Drug Mart or TTC outlet and showing proof of age but there's nothing stopping adults from going to different locations and setting up multiple cards.
The Toronto Star reports that staff told the TTC's audit committee this week, nearly nine out of 10 child trips could actually be misuse.
Presto data from January showed riders were using the child cards during the school day, when schools were closed, and late at night.
They were also used a stations you wouldn't expect many children to use.
Most child card taps happened at York University station.
To make matters worse, the TTC has known about this issue for at least a year.
Mayor John Tory's office says he has lobbied Metrolinx to make a child card that looks different from a regular Presto Card.
A statement from spokesperson Don Peat reads:
"The TTC is moving ahead with hiring more transit enforcement officers specifically focused on fare evasion.
Mayor Tory has lobbied Metrolinx directly to change the child Presto card so it isn't visually the same and to improve the overall Presto system.
The Mayor has been clear that it is totally unacceptable for people to ride the TTC without paying their fare - it is theft - and reports of fare evasion have been outrageous and infuriating.
Kids Ride Free works - it helps families, helps keep the city affordable, and it, along with the two-hour time-based transfer that the Mayor introduced and the Fair Fare Pass, encourages people to use transit more often. You'll note GO Transit also adopted kids ride free program last year."