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Frequently Asked Questions

General?

Loading e-Purse and/or Monthly Passes on your PRESTO card

Fares

Using Your PRESTO Card

PRESTO Benefits

PRESTO Card Care


General

What is PRESTO?

PRESTO is an electronic fare collection system that enables transit riders in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) and Ottawa to move within and between transit systems using one fare media - the PRESTO card.

How does the PRESTO card work?

Each card has a stored dollar value. When you tap on a fare payment device, the system instantly calculates and deducts the correct fare.

You can also load a monthly pass. In this case, when you tap on the system recognizes your right to travel.

How much does it cost?

The PRESTO card normally costs $6.00. This charge covers administrative fees for the cost of the card and using the system.

PRESTO card issuance fees are waived during the Friends and Family and Next-On trial periods.

How long is it valid?

Your card is guaranteed for 4 years, but is valid for about 5 years. The expiry date is written on the back of the card.

How secure is the PRESTO card?

The PRESTO card's chip technology is as secure as your bank or credit card. The PRESTO system meets Ontario's Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) and Canada's Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) legislation to protect your privacy. No personal information is stored on the card.

Why is the PRESTO system an improvement over the current fare system?

PRESTO has several advantages over other methods of payment:

 

  • It gives you more flexible payment options: load funds online at your convenience, set up Autoload and load passes.
  • It simplifies paying fares across multiple transit agencies.
  • It allows you to share your card and pay companions' fare.
  • It allows you to replace your card and recover your balance in case of loss or theft.

 

When will the PRESTO card be available to me?

Up to 10,000 PRESTO cards are being made available as part of the Next-On program. Next-On is the the next important phase for the new fare card payment system.

To participate, simply order your PRESTO card online or pick one up at an OC Transpo Sales Centre from January 18 to February 1. If you're a monthly pass user, you can load your February pass online or at a Sales Centre, then start using your new PRESTO card to ride on February 1.

Seniors and students who wish to participate must pick up their card in person and proof of age or full-time attendance at school. Community Pass users, please bring proof of ODSP eligibility.

Next-On participants can use PRESTO to ride on the O-Tran and STO buses, but not on Para Transpo.

Why were some people using the PRESTO card on the bus before these dates?

OC Transpo's Friends and Family pilot initiative ended on January 14, 2013. 2,000 volunteers signed up to become the first users of PRESTO during field testing.

 

Are all OC Transpo vehicles equipped with card readers?

 

All of OC Transpo's service buses are equipped with PRESTO card readers. New double-decker buses are equipped with card readers before being put into service.

>Card readers have been installed at all O-Train platforms and are fully functional.

Can I still use the STO (Société de transport de l'Outaouais) the same way I do now?

Yes. If you're using e-Purse, PRESTO deducts the fare and records a transfer product on your card. When you transfer to STO, the STO system recognizes that transfer, and as long as your journey is within the transfer window, no additional fare is required.

If you have a monthly pass on your card, the STO system confirms that your pass is valid for the fare class and current month.

Can I use my PRESTO card in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA)?

Eventually, yes. But not right away. OC Transpo will be using the latest version of the PRESTO system. Until the GTHA agencies migrate to this version in 2013, the cards are not interoperable.

Where can I get a PRESTO card?

Go to prestocard.ca, call 1-8-PRESTO-123 (1-877-378-6123) or visit an OC Transpo Sales & Information Centre.

To get a PRESTO card, you pay a $6 issuance fee and load at least $10 to e-Purse, an OC Transpo monthly pass, or both. PRESTO card issuance fees are waived during the Friends and Family and Next-On trial periods.

What is this “e-Purse” I keep hearing about?

e-Purse is short for Electronic Purse. It is where you store cash value that, with a tap of your card, you can use to pay a full or top up fare, purchase a day pass, or pay for a companion.

The minimum e-Purse load is $10. You can put any cash value you want on the card, up to a maximum balance of $1,000.

 

How do I change my card's language settings?

Your PRESTO card can be set to either English or French. This determines the display language on PRESTO devices when you tap. You can visit a Customer Service Outlet? to change your card's language setting.

To view the PRESTO website in French, click Français in the top right corner of the screen. Your card's language setting does not affect the website display language.

 

 

Will I qualify for the Federal Public Transit Tax Credit?

Yes, provided that:

  • Your PRESTO card is registered.
  • Following registration, you have taken at least 32 one-way trips within any 31 day period.

Visit the Canada Revenue Agency website.

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Loading e-Purse and/or Monthly Passes on your PRESTO card

You can load monthly passes and e-Purse remotely through the PRESTO website or in person at an OC Transpo Sales & Information Centre. If you set up a Requested Reload contract, you can also load your card by calling 1-8-PRESTO-123 (1-877-378-6123).

If your card is registered, you can set up a payment agreement to automatically reload your e-Purse when it reaches a certain amount, to automatically renew your monthly pass or both.

Loading through PRESTO Website or Call Centre

How do I load my PRESTO card from home?

Go to prestocard.ca, or call 1-8-PRESTO-123 (1-877-378-6123).

What can I load?

You can load e-Purse, an OC Transpo monthly pass, or both. To load a concession pass, your card must be set for that concession. You do this in person at an OC Transpo Sales and Information Centre.

How do I pay?

You can pay using a credit or debit card (Interac Online). Your card information is secure – the card information is not retained by PRESTO, but by our secure banking partner.

Is there a delay between when I load my card and when I can use it?

Your PRESTO card stores your balance on the chip inside the card. It does not update automatically when you load value online.

To update the balance on your card, you have to connect to the PRESTO network. Do this by tapping your card on a PRESTO device. However, it may take up to 24 hours for every PRESTO device to sync with your updated balance.

If you use your PRESTO card on a device that has not yet synced, your new balance will not be available and you risk having insufficient funds to make your trip. Therefore, we advise that you load your card at least 24 hours before you need it.

You must tap your card within 30 days of adding value, or else your transaction will expire.

What happens if I load my PRESTO card remotely and then I don't tap on?

If you do not tap on within 30 days, your e-Purse load is credited back to your credit or debit card. If you have a monthly pass and your pass expires, you forfeit the pass.

Loading through OC Transpo Sales and Information Centre

Where can I load my PRESTO card in person?

You can load your card in person in person at an OC Transpo Sales & Information Centre.

What can I load?

You can load e-Purse, an OC Transpo monthly pass, or both.

How can I pay?

You can pay using cash, debit or credit card.

Can I use more than one method of payment?

Although cash, debit and credit cards are accepted, only one method can be used per purchase.

Is there a delay between when I load my card and when I can use it?

If you load your card in person the load is recorded to your card immediately.

Automatic Loading Through Payment Agreements

Registered cardholders have the option to set up a payment agreement to automatically reload e-Purse, renew their monthly pass or both. Payment agreements can be set up using a debit or credit card.

What is Autoload?

Autoload is a payment agreement to have your e-Purse automatically topped up when your balance drops below a specified amount.

For example, when my e-Purse balance drops to $20, reload $60

How does Autoload work?

As soon as your balance drops to a certain amount, your e-Purse is automatically reloaded the next time you tap on. PRESTO then debits your account for the amount of the load.

What happens if PRESTO processes my Autoload and payment is declined?

If payment is declined, the load is removed from your card and your payment agreement is terminated.

What is Autorenew?

Autorenew is a payment agreement to have your pass automatically renewed each month. Six days prior to the end of each month, PRESTO debits your account for the value of your pass and when you tap your card as part of a regular trip writes the new pass to your card.

How does Autorenew work?

As soon as the current pass expires, the next one goes into effect.

What happens if PRESTO processes my Autorenew and payment is declined?

If payment is declined, your pass will not be loaded. However, your agreement remains in effect meaning that PRESTO will continue to process your Autorenew each month until you terminate the agreement.

How secure is my information?

The banking or credit card information used to load value on a card is not retained by PRESTO, but by our secure banking partner, and any personal information retained for the purposes of registration is kept secure and meets the requirements of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA).

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Fares

Will it cost me the same to ride the bus/O-Train with PRESTO?

Transit users will not pay more as a result of the new PRESTO fare system.

Monthly passes loaded to PRESTO cards are the same price as paper passes. The fare deducted from e-Purse fares equals the ticket price.

Will I still be able to buy paper passes and tickets after PRESTO is introduced?

Yes. We understand that not everyone will get on board the PRESTO system right away.

Are discounts available for children, students or seniors?

PRESTO recognizes three reduced-rate fare categories: child (6-12 years); student (13-19 years); senior (age 65 and above).

With proof of eligibility, you can have your PRESTO card set with a concession at OC Transpo Sales & Information Centre.

Once your concession is set you can load a concession pass through the PRESTO website or call centre, or in person at any OC Transpo Sales & Information Centre.

Note: If the concession is for a child, child fare is deducted from e-Purse.

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Using Your PRESTO Card

How can I check my balance?

How do I use my new card?

You simply tap your PRESTO card on a card reader on board the bus or at the O-Train platform.

If you're using e-Purse, PRESTO deducts the fare and records a transfer on your card. As long as your journey is within the transfer window, no additional fare is deducted.

If you have a monthly pass on your card, PRESTO confirms that the pass is valid for the route and current month.

Photo ID will no longer be required with PRESTO.

Why might I need to load BOTH a monthly pass and an e-Purse?

If you use a monthly pass there are good reasons to also load e-Purse. You can use e-Purse to automatically top up if you transfer to a higher fare route, pay fares for companions, or pay your fare if you forget to reload your pass in time.

When I load value online, why is there a delay before it reaches my card?

Your PRESTO card stores your balance on the chip inside the card. It does not update automatically when you load value online.

To update the balance on your card, you have to connect to the PRESTO network. Do this by tapping your card on a PRESTO device. However, it may take up to 24 hours for every PRESTO device to sync with your updated balance.

If you use your PRESTO card on a device that has not yet synced, your new balance will not be available and you risk having insufficient funds to make your trip. Therefore, we advise that you load your card at least 24 hours before you need it.

You must tap your card within 30 days of adding value, or else your transaction will expire.

If I don't have sufficient value to complete my journey, can I carry a negative balance?

If your card is registered, you will go into overdraft and can complete one trip.

Once your card is in overdraft, you cannot travel again until you reload e-Purse. When you reload, the cost of that trip – plus a 25-cent fee – will be deducted from the load.

If your card is not registered, the card reader will signal that you have insufficient funds. Cash fare will be required.

Can I accidentally be charged twice for the same ride?

As long as you are within the transfer window and travelling the same fare class, no additional fare can be deducted.

What happens if I buy a PRESTO card, load it, but then don't use it?

The card is good and e-Purse funds available until the card expires. If you load a monthly pass, the pass is good until it expires.

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PRESTO Benefits

How do I protect my card balance?

By registering your card online at prestocard.ca, or completing and mailing a paper form to PRESTO.

How does registration protect my balance?

Registration also has other benefits. You can go into overdraft for a single trip if you run low on e-Purse or forget to renew your pass. You can set up a payment agreement to automatically reload your card. And, you can obtain a Transit Usage Report for Federal Public Transit Tax Credit.

How secure is my information?

Any personal information retained for the purposes of registration is kept secure and meets the requirements of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA).

Can I share my new PRESTO card?

Yes! Since no photo ID is required with PRESTO, PRESTO cards are fully transferable. That means a family member, co-worker, neighbour or friend may use your card when you don't need it, as long as you are both within the same fare category.

What do I do if my card is lost or stolen?

 

  1. Immediately report the loss:
    1. Online through your account
    2. By phone at 1-8-PRESTO-123 (1-877-378-6123)
    3. At an OC Transpo Sales & Information Centre
  2. Order a replacement card online
  3. The card will arrive by mail within 7 days
  4. Activate your card online before using it.

 

Your replacement card will be pre-loaded with all registration, contracts, passes and remaining balance (minus $6 issuance fee).

NOTE: Cardholder is responsible for charges incurred up to 24 hours after reporting its loss.

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PRESTO Card Care

Will my card demagnetize if I store it next to a credit card?

PRESTO cards do not contain magnetic material, so they can't demagnetize.

Can I punch a hole in my card?

Punching a hole in the card will render it useless; the hole will damage its antenna and chip.

Can I accidentally be charged twice for the same ride?

As long as you are within the transfer window and travelling the same fare class, no additional fare can be deducted.

What happens if I tap my PRESTO card on the bus and there's not enough money on the card?

If your card is registered, you will go into overdraft and can complete one trip.

Once your card is in overdraft, you cannot travel again until you reload e-Purse. When you reload, the cost of that trip – plus a 25-cent fee – will be deducted from the load.

If your card is not registered, the card reader will signal that you have insufficient funds. Cash fare will be required.

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