I live in Toronto and I use the public transit system, the TTC, to get to work, so every month I buy a Metropass for unlimited travel. This month I was out of town on vacation for three weeks, so I didn’t get a Metropass. I need something for the rest of the month, so I reckoned it was time to get a Presto card, which is the new thing the TTC is moving to. I knew nothing about them, because I’ve been ignoring them until I have to get one—the Metropasses are easier to use.
I went into a subway station and went up to a green Presto machine, but it only lets you put money onto a card you already have. I asked the gate attendant where I could get one. She said they sell them at the Gateway newsstands inside the stations, and waved me through so I could buy one. I went to the newsstand and asked for a card. “We’re sold out,” the man said.
There was nothing more to be done, so I got on the subway to go downtown. There was some sort of delay holding up the entire system, and for fifteen minutes we waited while one train was stopped just outside the station and another was stopped just waiting to get in. I went down to Spadina, transferred to the streetcar to go down to King Street, but it short turned at Queen, so I had to walk.
Welcome back to Toronto.
For the rest of the day I got around by streetcar, which use Proof-of-Payment, where the driver doesn’t ask for payment but you may be checked by a fare inspector, and if you haven’t paid you’ll be in trouble. I figured if I did get stopped it would be a good chance to make a complaint, but I wasn’t.
Today I went to another subway station and went to the gate.
“I need to buy a Presto card—is the Gateway store downstairs open?”
“I tried to buy one at St. David station yesterday and they were sold out.”
“Those stores are always sold out!”
She gave me some tips on where I was likely to find one. I bought three tokens to tide me over.