Fare evasion on the rise on GO Transit: Metrolinx

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Metrolinx is asking commuters to top-up their PRESTO cards before using GO Transit, as fare evasion appears to be on the rise. 

In a blog post penned by Matt Llewellyn, a Metrolinx spokesperson and senior adviser, the transit agency asks riders to check the balance of their PRESTO cards and, if necessary, load them before getting to the station to prevent accidental fare evasion. In the post, Metrolinx said that while 97 per cent of GO Transit riders typically pay their fares, that number has dropped to around 95 per cent in recent weeks.  

"I think it's fair to say it's taking some people a little while to get back into regular routines, which includes tapping on and off the trains with their PRESTO cards," said Bill Grodzinski, GO Transit's Chief Special Constable and Director of Transit Safety, in the post. 

"We expect this won't be as much of an issue as customers start travelling with us more regularly during the next few weeks."

Grodzinski said that historically, GO Transit does see a slight increase in fare evasion around this time of year, something he said could be linked to people shifting from summer vacation mode to their usual routine. 

"What we often hear from customers is that they've had some time off, were running late on their first morning back and forgot they needed to add money to their PRESTO card," he said in the post. 

"I think that's kind of similar to what we're seeing right now. Some customers haven't been on our trains since March and it's taking them a few trips to get back into their routines."

In the post, Grodzinski said that customers can use new, touchless ways to pay for their fares, adding that the PRESTO app recently received a major update that gives both Android and iOS users the ability to add funds instantly to their PRESTO cards with NFC enabled phones. Riders can also enable the autoloading feature in the app so that funds won't need to be added manually. 

Riders can also buy e-tickets online. 

In the post, Metrolinx said that returning commuters should also note that masks and/or face-coverings are required in all GO stations, on platforms, and onboard vehicles. 

Metrolinx said about 98 per cent of customers are regularly wearing face coverings.

The policy does not apply to people who cannot wear masks or face-coverings for medical reasons.

Photo courtesy of Metrolinx

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