Big Changes Are Coming to PRESTO Cards in Hamilton

Published September 18, 2019 at 9:33 pm

If you frequently use PRESTO on your way to and from work in Hamilton, this might interest you!

If you frequently use PRESTO on your way to and from work in Hamilton, this might interest you!

PRESTO is getting rid of the $10 minimum load requirement when you buy or reload a card at Shoppers Drug Mart and other customer service outlets.

Instead, starting Oct. 28, customers will only be required to load five cents when they buy cards from these locations. The cost of the card itself will remain $6.

“We know the minimum load requirement is a concern among our customers, who see it as a barrier to switching to PRESTO,” said Annalise Czerny, the executive vice-president of PRESTO. “By taking this first step in lowering it to five cents across in-person retail and service outlets, we’re making it easier for more people to discover the many benefits of getting a card, whether it’s automatic top-ups when funds get too low or balance protection on lost or stolen cards.”

This change comes just as the TTC prepares to phase out older payment options like tickets and tokens, and after other fare changes that now see children riding free on both the TTC and GO Transit.

PRESTO claims that lowering the minimum amount that customers load when they buy new cards will make it easier for people to shift to the service. It will also give existing customers more flexibility when they reload their cards.

PRESTO will take a phased approach to roll out the changes. By the end of October, the new minimum amount will be in place across all in-person customer service outlets that offer PRESTO card services.

These include Shoppers Drug Mart locations, GO customer service counters and the TTC’s Davisville Customer Service Centre.

Additionally, minimum load amounts for all self-service machines and online transactions will be lowered shortly after additional software changes are tested and rolled out.

So why not just entirely scrap the minimum load? PRESTO, like many fair systems, requires customers to load a minimum value to their cards when they buy them. That’s a requirement that’s programmed into the system.

“Ultimately, this is about improving access to transit across all of our various customer groups,” said Czerny. “Lowering the minimum load to five cents is the lowest option available since the penny is now obsolete. Removing it entirely would require substantial technical changes that would take a while and be costly to roll out, and this solution is something that can be put in place immediately.”

What are your thoughts on these changes?

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