New PRESTO devices are now available across GO Transit, UP Express and transit agencies in the 905 region

New PRESTO payment devices make card load times eight times faster and set the stage for more payment options to come

You know that old saying, “change is good”.

Well, it’s true… at least for PRESTO customers.

Over the course of the last year, Metrolinx embarked on an effort to replace the existing PRESTO payment devices on GO Transit, UP Express and the 905 agencies.

Because many of the local transit agencies in the GTHA have been using PRESTO for many years now, some of their devices were nearly 10 years old. That includes Brampton Transit, Burlington Transit, Durham Region Transit, GO Transit, Hamilton Street Railway, MiWay, Oakville Transit, UP Express and York Region Transit/Viva.

Those old units had a good run, but new PRESTO devices are here.

The devices have a new design, including larger screens that display information in a clearer and more intuitive manner, enhancing both user experience and accessibility. 

But like any wise person will tell you, “it’s not just about the looks”. This new technology does more than look cool.

What can these new PRESTO devices do?

Setting the stage for more payment options coming soon

PRESTO’s modernization is well under way and these new devices are a key part of making this happen.

The new devices have updated technology, making them ready to accept payment by credit card, debit card, and mobile wallets when these options are introduced.

These new forms of payment will be available first on UP Express early this year and roll out to additional transit agencies sometime after.

Customers will also notice a barcode reader on the new devices, just below the card reader. That means these new devices will soon have the capability to accept PRESTO E-Tickets.

PRESTO UP Express device
New PRESTO devices were recently rolled out at UP Express stations. (Metrolinx photo)

PRESTO E-Tickets are currently available on Durham Region Transit and Hamilton Street Railway and are expected to rollout on even more transit agencies in the coming months. Right now, PRESTO E-Tickets are checked by operators viewing an activated ticket on a customer’s phone, and soon riders will be able to scan their E-tickets on these new devices.

Metrolinx will let customers on participating transit agencies know when this is available so they can use their E-Tickets to ‘tap on’ with their mobile phones.

Pretty handy right?

As always, tap on (and off, for GO and UP customers) the device where indicated. The new devices are designed to process one card at a time, so make sure you’re only tapping your PRESTO card against the reader (not your entire wallet filled with cards) to complete payment.

Presto device in the York Concourse
Remember to only tap one card at a time, rather than your whole wallet. (Metrolinx photo)

Faster card loading on the web

There are many ways for customers to add funds to their PRESTO cards, including several instant load options. The PRESTO App is the fastest with NFC-enabled capability (where you hold your card on your phone). Customers can also instantly load funds using self-serve devices and customer service outlets including Shoppers Drug Mart.

While those are the most popular ways to load funds and passes, there’s good news for GO, UP and 905 transit agency customers who load their card online at prestocard.ca. These customers will now see a significant reduction in the time it takes for their funds to be added to their card.

Funds will now be added in as little as two hours, reduced from up to 24 hours, when using prestocard.ca or the non-NFC version of the PRESTO app.

Remember, if you have an NFC enabled phone you can load your card instantly using the PRESTO app, from anywhere.  

GO customer tapping their PRESTO card at Union Station
The PRESTO app is still the fastest way to load funds and add passes to your account. (Metrolinx photo)

Other key features

The new PRESTO devices have an improved interface that makes them easier for customers to use.

The new station devices for GO, UP and York Region Transit customers have a ‘Mode Button’ that can be used to check your balance. GO and UP customers can also press the button to reverse a tap; and GO customers can also use it to override a default trip.

The new station devices also have an ‘Audio Button’. This is related to the audio mode, which provides spoken instructions for customers with visual disabilities. The audio mode is accessed by inserting a 3.5mm headset jack into the receptacle to the right of the button. The Audio Button can be used to adjust the volume of the spoken instructions.

Stay tuned to Metrolinx News for the latest PRESTO updates and you can follow PRESTO on social media to stay up-to-date.

Story by Brandon Bernard, Metrolinx Communications Planning Senior Advisor