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Ontario Premier Doug Ford Must Learn from Toronto’s Auditor General Report on the Failing PRESTO Fare System

Why is Metrolinx Outsourcing Ontario Jobs to India?

TORONTO, ONTARIO – (October 24, 2019) – Toronto’s public transit union, ATU Local 113, is calling on Ontario Premier Doug Ford to learn from the Auditor General report presented to the TTC Board today on the failing PRESTO fare system and the consequences of privatization.

“Toronto’s Auditor General report outlines the obvious: the PRESTO fare system is failing, and urgent action must be taken to stop it from further damaging our public transit system,” said Carlos Santos, President of ATU Local 113. “As in-station ticket, token, and pass sales phase out next month, the TTC must implement all 34 of the auditor’s recommendations to salvage the system, while joining Toronto’s public transit workers as we call on Ontario Premier Doug Ford to learn from the consequences of privatizing public transit.”

Premier Ford is set to use the failed PRESTO playbook for new transit projects in the city. Instead of utilizing Toronto’s highly skilled public transit workers, there is always a threat the Progressive Conservative Premier could privatize new TTC Subway lines. That will split the workforce and make it vulnerable to repair delays, governance gaps and many of the same issues outlined in Toronto’s Auditor General report. TTC workers are already onsite and understand the system best, having been trusted to operate and maintain it for over 100 years. Privatization means relying on outside contractors motivated by providing the least service for the most amount of money.

Here are the most worrying findings from the report:

  • PRESTO card reader availability calculations were overstated and not complete. That’s because Metrolinx relies on outsourced workers in India instead of keeping these jobs in Ontario. PRESTO staff were unaware data was not provided during holidays in India, and couldn’t event confirm as data is purged after 60 days (it is required to be kept for 7 years per the contract)!
  • Metrolinx and TTC have a governance gap, fueled by reliance on vendors and sub-vendors. At least 40 per cent of the TTC’s contractual business requirements have not yet been delivered by Metrolinx, including key priority items.
  • Revenue losses continue to hurt the system. The TTC estimate of $3.4 million in revenue loss for 2018 due to malfunctioning PRESTO fare equipment does not appear to be overstated.

The PRESTO fare system is an example of the failures of privatization. The only way to improve and expand Toronto’s public transit system is to keep it public. ATU Local 113 calls on Ontario Premier Doug Ford to learn from Toronto’s Auditor General report on the failing PRESTO fare system and commit to keep transit public.

Media Contact

media@atu113.net