Presto – It’s Here

What’s with this new Presto card? For a user of the weekly pass, I had to find out if it’s worth my time and money. I went on a quest to see if it was better.

A few transit riders brought the card to my attention. For one month, I traded in my pass and paid the $6.00 fee to get the Presto transit card and loaded it up. It took longer than usual to register the card, as they were having system problems so instead of the convenient 24 hour wait to register the card, it took me nearly a week. After I was able to finally get it registered, I was able to see all my transactions online. Apparently, the card provides you with discounted travel but if you do the calculations, there is no discount. It’s the same price as buying a strip of adult Mississauga tickets.

The immediate benefits is not having to purchase three different transit tickets, if you travel through cities. I travel to Toronto, Brampton, Mississauga, Burlington and also take the GO from time to time. With the Presto card, you carry one card that does the trick instead of lining your purse with tickets or passes.

Unfortunately, loading it up is a chore. I had to travel one hour to a bus terminal where I could load the card and then an hour home, so two hours traveling just so I could add to the card was the biggest reason I was going to say forget this! Then I saw that you could load it with a credit card or through your bank. I immediately filled out the form and mailed it in. Even after a month, loading it through the banking system didn’t work. I had to opt to use my credit card, which I was trying to avoid.

Presto seems like a good card on the surface but there are still improvements that need to be made. Making it easier to load would be nice. Not a lot of people have a working credit card or computer to load the card and the banking method seems to be a hit and miss, if you can get it to work at all. Plus it take 5 to 7 days until you see the funds. Hopefully you have enough money until then!

My conclusion is that if you live and work in the same city and don’t have to get around much, stick to the piece of mind of the weekly and monthly passes. However, if you do intercity travel, then it’s the right choice for you but be careful, it’s not that easy to load. Carry extra change in case you need it. I use the Presto card but its days may be numbered! I’ll keep you posted.

Fellow transit rider

By J. Catherine Andrew Posted in Comment

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