New-look TTC passes designed to thwart counterfeiters

The Toronto Transit Commission today introduced new security features to its Metropass, Weekly Pass and GTA Weekly Pass in an effort to thwart an increase in counterfeiting.

Since January this year, TTC Special Constables and Toronto Police have seized more than 2,500 counterfeit passes and laid more than 500 charges. The TTC estimates lost revenue would exceed $2 million this year if changes to its passes were not made.

Starting in July, all passes sold by the TTC and its authorized agents will carry a custom designed hologram that is unique to the TTC. As well, a sticker will be affixed to passes that must be removed before use, much like the sticker on a new credit or debit card. The sticker cannot be re-applied and will end an increase in “pass renting” that has been observed over the last several months, whereby some ticket agents return passes to the TTC for a full refund as “unsold” fare media.

The TTC today also reminded its customers to purchase passes only from TTC Collectors, pass vending machines, or authorized agents who sell TTC fares to its customers.

In 2006, the TTC replaced its aluminium token with a newly-designed bi-metal token because of a rise in counterfeiting. Last fall, the TTC eliminated adult tickets, as it was facing an annual $5 million loss in revenue due to counterfeiting. In the coming months, the TTC will introduce further measures to ensure only valid fares are accepted at turnstiles, Collector booths and fare boxes on vehicles.

Later this year the TTC will outline a plan to use art on its passes. Currently, the TTC uses a combination of art and photography when designing passes. The new art will be part of the overall pass design. The TTC will be issuing a request for expressions of interest in August. TTC customers can expect to see new art on Metropasses starting in April 2010.

Fact Sheet

June 3, 2009

New-look TTC passes designed to thwart counterfeiters

  • Token design changed in 2006
  • Adult tickets eliminated in 2008
  • Metropass introduced in 1980
  • Monthly cost of Metropass: $109
  • Average monthly Metropass sales volume: 260,000 (40% of fare revenue)
  • Metropass sales distribution:
    - Collectors: 38%
    - Ticket Agents: 15%
    - Pass Vending Machines: 6%
    - Metropass Discount Plan: 17%
    - Volume Incentive Plan: 24%
  • Arrests for counterfeiting Metropasses year-to-date: 500
  • Counterfeit Metropass seized year-to-date: 2,500
  • Estimated revenue loss in 2009 if changes to passes are not made: $2 million
  • Annual cost to implement new security features: $250,000
  • Custom hologram unique to the TTC will make pass counterfeiting extremely difficult
  • Passes also come with an “activation” sticker that must be removed before use
  • It is a criminal offence to manufacture and/or purchase counterfeit TTC fares. If convicted, individuals can face anywhere from two to 14 years in jail
  • Art will be introduced to Metropasses in April 2010, following a request for expressions of interest to be released in August. Details will be outlined this fall.
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