It was billed as the largest-ever Presto card fraud bust. But a year later, it’s unclear whether the lone suspect will ever face trial — and whether Metrolinx is even capable of fighting scams
The case raises questions about the ability of Metrolinx and police to effectively deter Presto card scams that could cost taxpayers millions.
Although Metrolinx is funded by Ontario taxpayers, the agency declined repeated requests from the Star to reveal how much money it loses to Presto scams. “We will not disclose specifics that would quantify potential rewards for fraudsters,” spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins said.
It's that much, is it?
Shaking my head how the third party arrangement, combined with a lack of communication, coordination and oversight between Presto and Metrolinx, ultimately appears to leave the taxpayer on the hook for the losses incurred through fraud. And yet Metrolinx continues to pay big bonuses to their executive team while talking about the Presto system like it's the greatest thing since sliced bread. Great investigative journalism on the part of Ben Spurr. Paywall article, available through PressReader with TPL card. edited for spelling
I still don't understand how we didn't implement an existing, proven system already in use in another city. Incompetence? Corruption? Other?
Washington DC's metro has a Presto-like system that works reasonably well and even shows your card balance every time you tap on. And it launched in 1999.
The Oyster system in London allows tapping your credit card if you don't have an Oyster card. Tap on, tap off, your card is billed automagically once per day for all trips you took.
Bonus: the maximum a rider can be charged is limited to GBP7 per day (the equivalent of ~3 trips) and GBP35 per week.
Meanwhile they have no issue writing $150 tickets to honest users who forget to tap when boarding, or who only find out when tapping that their card is out of funds but they need to board anyway.
A Metrolinx staffer told me that nothing worked correctly at his station because the boss was corrupt and embezzled the funds meant to be used for decent IT systems, etc. Apparently everyone knew about it, but no charges laid. Welcome to Lagos, Ontario.
Metrolinx is the scam. Remember when the whole appeal was that the one-time tickets were cheaper? Yeah, so do I.
Whoa I been paying full price when there is a cheaper way? Time to find out where and how to obtain these cheaper cards.
I’m gonna go out on a limb without reading the story and say Metrolinx doesn’t know their ass from a hole in the ground.
I'm a transit operator in the 905.
The amount of people headed to the TTC who accidentally tap their "Child" card and then go oops wrong card and pull out their "Adult" one is infuriating.
The TTC is losing millions because Presto can't simply program a different color or sound on their machines for free child fares. MILLIONS WEEKLY in lost fares.
I have no faith in them fixing anything nor do I think they even care.
Even my friend personally bought one of these passes on Kijiji because he knows there's little to no chance he'll get caught. No one dares using child passes in the 905 because unlike the TTC the drivers can see what fare category you're using.
From what I've gathered there is lots of internal fraud going on as well instead of the money going towards a better system. Embezzlement like candy in a jar, it's not about if it will happen it's about which hands get into it.
The article is paywalled. Can someone paste in the text?
The circumstances around the case have not previously been reported. They raise questions about the ability of Metrolinx, its Presto division and law enforcement to work together to investigate, prosecute and deter Presto fare card scams. Those scams victimize riders and transportation agencies, and have the potential to cost taxpayers millions.
In the past three years, Metrolinx referred 19 suspected frauds to law enforcement. Only two of those referrals resulted in charges.
One of the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to talk publicly about Metrolinx cases, said people involved in sophisticated fare card scams have “figured out how to essentially print money on the back of the provincial taxpayer.”
Metrolinx does “nothing” about fraud, said the other source, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity. “That’s what makes them vulnerable.”
They're robbing our money and this company is like "meh. it passes through the presto network so they count as riders."
This is what happens when you get a private (or private-public "cooperation") company to run public services.
they should be dissolved. take fucking notes from every other big city in the world. it's not a hard system to manage and implement.
“Not every one of those (cases) that we bring to the police gets prosecuted,” Grodzinski said. “They’re busy people, and you’re just more work to them sometimes.”
This also happens in the City's Social Services department. Every day people are caught defrauding ~~welfare~~ Ontario Works and are kicked off the system. Many are referred to police, few are ever charged, and even fewer are convicted.
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