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Transit tokens -- where are they still used?


Ed Drass
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Our current fare system has been referred to as the "gravity method". You drop the coins or tokens in the fare box -- and it's as simple as that. Passes are just shown to the operator or some can be swiped at subway turnstiles.

If you've never been here: http://www3.ttc.ca/Fares_and_passes/index.jsp

http://www.citynews.ca/news/news_5430.aspx (image of old and new tokens plus transit scenes)

In our somewhat unique* case, going to a smart card would benefit most TTC users in the same way that an electronic key would benefit most home and car owners -- i.e. the old technology works pretty well and all those cool advantages of smartcardery would cost us over $200 million...

There is a card coming to Ontario, but the TTC is not in a big rush to take part ... even if the provincial government pays.

http://www.prestocard.ca/

*Many surface routes connect with the subway inside a "fare paid area" and transfers are free, so there has never been a huge push to bring in fare cards to simplify transfers.

Now, in the age of Charlie Cards, Oysters and Octopi I cannot think of any other major transit system worldwide using tokens. Is there even one?

-Ed.

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I believe there's still quite a few out there.

From my own experience, Dayton, Ohion and Buffalo, New York still use tokens.

And while it's far from a major system, Banff just started using tokens with their revamped transit system!

I believe all 3 systems mentioned above use electronic fare boxes.

Edit: I believe I remember seeing a tender recently for the minting of tokens for SEPTA.

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The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority and LA Metro still use tokens.[/color]

Not quite. Washington uses paper and plastic farecards exclusively, and the LA Metro only uses tokens on buses (and even then, they're hard to come by.)

One system that continues to use tokens is SEPTA in Philadelphia, PA.

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I believe there's still quite a few out there.

From my own experience, Dayton, Ohion and Buffalo, New York still use tokens.

And while it's far from a major system, Banff just started using tokens with their revamped transit system!

I believe all 3 systems mentioned above use electronic fare boxes.

Edit: I believe I remember seeing a tender recently for the minting of tokens for SEPTA.

I don't think MTA still uses tokens anymore. I'm saying this cause I am currently in New York and they're all metrocards. All you do now is just fill up the cards with money or buy a weekly or monthly card.

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I don't think MTA still uses tokens anymore. I'm saying this cause I am currently in New York and they're all metrocards. All you do now is just fill up the cards with money or buy a weekly or monthly card.

MTA got rid of tokens (sadly) a few years ago...IMO they should have kept them in NYC at least...it's such a part of "Subway nomenclature".

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MTA got rid of tokens (sadly) a few years ago...IMO they should have kept them in NYC at least...it's such a part of "Subway nomenclature".

Tokens were more of a hassle to deal with than one would think. MetroCards have new features, such as unlimited rides, free bus transfers, and multi-ride discounts, that were impossible to achieve with tokens. That's not to say that the MetroCard is flawless -- it's based on outdated technology, state-of-the-art about a decade ago, that has its weaknesses.

The tokens have been gone for a good while now. Ironically, a good number of the electronic screens at the turnstiles still read "NO TOKENS" -- as if that's a surprise...

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Many subway systems in Russia and in the former USSR are still using tokens. I actually have a token from Moscow and one from St.Petersburg (formely Leningrad).

Boston was using tokens until a few years ago. They actually have them on my last trip to Boston in 2000.

Atlanta and the DASH system (in LA) are using tokens.

Chicago was using them until the mid 90's and NYC until 3-4 years ago.

Also, many transit system in Canada until the 60's were using tokens. I have one from the Hull,QC streetcar system.

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Minneapolis still uses tokens, but there not for sale to the public. The system used the old streetcar-era tokens from the 1910's (I think), but new ones were minted in the early 2000's and the old ones were phased out.

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Since Toronto is likely to keep using metal tokens for a few more years, I am trying to locate items that can hold them securely. Has anyone seen holders of any kind for the tokens still in use out there?

Here's a brief list of token and transit pass holders available in Toronto: http://eddrass.com/trinkets1.htm

BTW- Washington DC may still have "school tokens".

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My current guess is Toronto may phase out tokens by the time the Pan Am games arrive in 2015.

In the meantime, I just received 1,000 plastic disc-shaped TTC token holders from the UK maker. Next step is to test them in various stores that sell TTC fare media.

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