Monday, October 22, 2012

Better keep your Presto Card in a glass case and wrapped in velvet...

This wonderfully insane story comes to us today from Manel
date: Sun, Oct 21, 2012 at 6:44 PM

SO. Yesterday (Oct 20th), I was riding the Lakeshore West train into union. As the train was pulling in, the train cop (Transit Safety Officer) was checking tickets. I handed him my PRESTO card, and he scanned it.

I got the PRESTO card when it first came out in December of 2010. Physically, the card is in pretty bad shape, so it doesn't always scan right away.

As I handed the train cop my card, I explained: "You need to hold it against the scanner for about 30 seconds." And he did, and my card scanned no problem. By this point, the train has pulled in, it's about 6:05 PM, and people are getting off. The train cop asks another lady for her card, and still has mine in hand. He instructs me to wait in my seat, and he took off to get another train cop.

When he returns, he compares this lady's card (which is brand new) with mine, which is old and worn out.

He then proceeds to say: "I have reason to believe that this card is counterfeit, and you're going to have to come with me."

He escorts me onto the platform, and I'm surrounded by like 6 of these train cops. I sarcastically exclaim, "I'm a business student, obviously I don't have a PRESTO counterfeiting operation going on in my basement! This is completely ridiculous, I need to get going!"

The train cop replies "Well, usually when somebody has nothing to hide, they don't act aggressively." Isn't this guy a dumb ass? He thinks that a sense of urgency + a worn out transit pass = a counterfeit? I said:

"You're making a baseless allegation, can I have my card back so I can leave?" He makes me wait around for about a half hour, and then escorts me to the ticket booth to have a new card issued. He kept my old card, and said that I will be investigated by Metrolinx. He ends up wasting 45 minutes of my time.

Doesn't Metrolinx issue some sort of training? Is it acceptable for one of their offices to take matters into their own hands, and use poor judgement to accuse somebody of having a fake PRESTO card?

I think they should just stick to checking tickets, and kicking drunks off the train.

Just a friendly warning to all other commuters: Do not have a sense of urgency OR a worn out card. You may also be labelled as a presto-counterfeiter!


April said...

It isn't just the old cards. My daughter has a brand new card, she bought it when she moved back home on September 1 of this year. It doesn't always scan. She had a Transit Security Officer accuse her of having a counterfeit card too. Hers didn't scan right away, he kept trying, all the while telling her that her card was counterfeit.

I wonder if it was the same train cop? My daughter is 22, I wonder if they enjoy targeting students for this crap.

I hope that you will complain to Metrolinx and insist that they compensate you for your lost time.

Squiggles said...

This is the first I have heard about counterfeit Presto cards. At least with the TTC tokens, they told you about it often.

But, if counterfeit ones are out there, how secure is the card? And by secure, I am wondering how long it will be before someone figures out how to drain the balance?

Todd said...

Counterfeits are obviously on their radar. When checking tickets they always ask to see the card, no wallet tapping.

I'm guessing the worn out card was an indication that it may have been tampered with. But I've only had mine for a year and it's starting to peel at the edges.

Anonymous said...

Wait until this person realizes that their rides don't carry over to the new card issued. They will end up paying more this month because they won't get the discounted rides. I have a friend that had this happen and is still arguing with GO about it.

She was planning on switching back to the monthly pass, but it looks like they are being cancelled now.

Anonymous said...

If the cop has any reason to believe the card was counterfeit, wouldn't he just confiscate it and get you to criminal court for theft? The fact that Metrolinx gave him a new card tells me that it was a bad judgment call because if the cop can prove it is counterfeit, I doubt GO would bother issuing a new Presto card. If I were you I would talk to a lawyer about this! Start with Criminal Lawyers which may sound counter-intuitive, but some of them sue government agency for this kind of abuse on the civil side too.

Anonymous said...

typical rent-a-cop behaviour.

Anonymous said...

FYI. If the GO cop had reason to believe the card was fraudulent, or counterfeit, he/she should have arrested the passenger on site. Just because a Presto card didn't scan doesn't mean its counterfeit. The GO cops can radio their central dispatch on Presto card information and they do have this information.

If confronted with a situation like this, do the following:
1) You have the right to be silent hence you DON'T have to answer the officer's questions.
2) Unless the officer has legal grounds to arrest or detain you, you DON'T have to stick around. You have this right.

3) If you're that desparate, RUN from these guys

Todd said...

I agree with Anon 4:49, they cannot detain you and you are free to leave, but they are able to detain your presto card. So you can leave but you'd loose the card.

Dan-1 said...

Don't worry GO, I give my PRESTO card a hot bath each night, dress it up in its little nightie and tuck it in to bed. And a wax every weekend for that smooth, sensitive feel that all the tap-on machines love.

Anonymous said...

And now they're taking away the monthly passes. For this.

Lord please help us all.

Anonymous said...

Oh yah Baby!

Counterfeiting the most confusing, user-UNfriendly transit payment system in the entire freaking Universe would be first and foremost on my agenda . . . PULEEEAAASE . . . are they serious????!!!!!

Funny that they are looking for SUPPOSED counterfeits - how would they know? They can't even figure out their own AUTHENTIC system!

LOL . . . That's rich . . . LOL

Anonymous said...

Try to walk away when they already have suspicion you're using a counterfeit card, lol!
Good advice...

Jack C. said...

Next time respond:"I see. Well, I have reason to believe you're not a real cop. This counterfeit will not stand, I say! Put down your crackerjack-box badge and leave my sight, Cadet! Begone! Dis-MISSED!"

blindwheels said...

Brampton Transit have found a cool solution...

A really nice little hard case, on a keyring, really sturdy, for $2..

I had mine for my CNIB Card, then when I got Presto, I got a card holder from Brampton Transit, that was in Early 2010 when BT first started selling PRESTO, Still have it, still use it for CNIB card, no problems, perfect condition & In abuse the hell outta it..

BTW, It worked with my PRESTO, PERFECTLY... tap on's, tap off's, fare cop reads, sat on it numerous times, it got run over by a TTC bus once! still good..

so if you ever find yourself in the ol' BT region, go to the main Terminal, or offices of BT & pick one up..

Rob Stewart said...

As far as I know it's virtually impossible to counterfeit due to the encryption on the card.