Transit Hack of the Day: A Sleek Card to Hold Toronto's Old-School Tokens

It's almost as convenient as a system that just uses an automated transit card.

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Photo Courtesy YG Sun

Toronto's had a bit of a rough go in its efforts to leave the old-fashioned subway token behind. When the Toronto Transit Commission last tried to phase in a ticket system, they had to shut the pilot down after rampant counterfeiting (by their own employee, no less). Now, only students, seniors, and those who spring for a weekly or monthly pass can get around those pesky tokens.

City residents were last promised an integrated electronic system as part of the regional PRESTO system by 2015. Or maybe it's more like "four to five years," TTC CEO Andy Byford said this spring.

Either way, YG Sun is sick of waiting with the tiny, change-like tokens jangling in his pocket. Since this winter, Sun has been working on a design for a credit card-shaped token holder that would make the antiquated process as convenient as possible. The sleek design is made to fit easily inside a wallet, and the simple but clever cover releases one token at a time, with up to eight stored at once. See it in action in the video below.

"Sometimes it’s dark, or at night, and you don’t know if it’s a dime or a token. It’s very easy to give them out as change," Sun says of the small tokens, each worth C$2.65. He used to keep the tokens in a small change purse or plastic bag but found it hard to keep them handy without adding bulk to his wallet.

And it looks like Sun's not the only Torontonian sick of misplacing his expensive tokens. On Monday, Sun turned to Kickstarter to solicit enough orders for a first round of holders. Nearly all 200 of the half-price card offers (C$3, instead of the regular C$6) sold out by mid-day on Tuesday. As of noon on Wednesday, 265 backers had raised 60 percent of the $2,000 goal.

If the project is successful, Sun says that he has his eye on Philly -- the last major U.S. transit agency to use tokens (though they'll be gone by next summer).

Top Image courtesy of YG Sun.

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