There are now two million activated PRESTO cards in circulation across the GTHA and Ottawa. No, this didn’t happen overnight. PRESTO, available as a fare payment option on 11 transit agencies, has been transforming transit fare payment on a regional scale for a while now.
With the Regional Transportation Plan, adopted in 2008, Metrolinx envisioned a more integrated transportation system across the GTHA. One critical element to deliver on was an integrated fare payment system for the entire region – the solution that made sense was PRESTO. While we’ve been building a customer-first transportation network, we’ve been unifying the customer experience with one fare card.
In 2007, every transit agency in the region had a separate fare payment system, but by the end of this year, the vast network of PRESTO devices will allow more than two million transit riders to use their PRESTO card on any transit agency across the GTHA from Oshawa to Hamilton, and also in Ottawa.
Our fare payment smartcard has come a long way since its debut in 2007. Starting as a 500-card pilot, PRESTO devices were installed at select transit spots in Mississauga and at Union Station. Following the pilot’s success, card adoption grew as devices came online across GTHA transit agencies. A significant growth spurt occurred in 2013 when PRESTO went east and was rolled out on OC Transpo in Ottawa.
By mid-2014, one million PRESTO cards were in circulation, and PRESTO was the primary fare payment method for commuters on several transit agencies, including GO, Oakville Transit, and Brampton Transit. Transit users across the GTHA were steadily replacing traditional paper/token/cash fare with this reloadable wallet card that can be automatically topped up as needed. It was within reach for PRESTO to be the premier payment platform across the region; however, full implementation on the TTC was the missing link.
We’re pleased to say that PRESTO is now rolling out across the entire TTC network, currently available on all TTC streetcars, at 31 subways stations, and more than 550 buses. By 2017, PRESTO will be fully available in Toronto, and as a result, it’s projected that nearly three million cards will be in circulation.
PRESTO cuts out the guesswork of paying for transit in the GTHA and Ottawa. Very soon, you’ll only need one card to travel on all 11 transit agencies — it’s just that simple.