TransLink scrambles to get ticket machines to take new coins

No leniency for transit fare evaders who cite lighter loonies.



New lighter weight loonies and toonies just issued by the Royal Canadian Mint can’t be read by TransLink’s ticket vending machines.

But transit officials say passengers who normally pay with cash must make sure they use older coins or find other ways to pay until a fix is made to ticket vending machines.

TransLink spokesman Drew Snider said it’s expected a solution can be found by about May 12.

He said passengers caught without the right fare but newly issued coins in their pocket won’t get a break.

“No, there’s really no grounds for leniency,” he said. “There’s so many other different ways of doing it.”

Ticket dispensing machines at Canada Line stations only need a software upgrade, while ones on the Expo and Millennium lines need a hardware change.

Snider said providers will first work to make sure at least one machine in each station accepts the new coins before upgrading the rest.

TransLink says passengers can use debit or credit cards at stations or buy pre-paid FareSaver tickets instead of using cash.

Snider said fareboxes on buses already accept the new coins.

Changes are also underway to retool city-run pay parking meters, vending machines and coin laundry machines.

The change from nickel coins to plated steel is saving Ottawa a projected $16 million a year but expected to cost the vending industry $40 million to recalibrate.