Presto is a fare card system that was introduced in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) in late 2009. As its namesake suggests, Presto makes fare payment fast and convenient for those transferring between the region’s different transit systems.
Presto will eliminate the need to pre-purchase tokens, tickets or passes from multiple transit agencies. Transit users can purchase a Presto card for $6 and load money onto it for use on participating public transit systems.
Each user will tap his/her Presto card at Presto fare terminals at both the starting and destination stations. The kiosk will scan the customer’s card and deduct the correct fare from their account.
Customers can reload their cards online, by phone or at selected retail outlets. Reloading cards can be done manually or automatically. The autoload feature reloads the user’s card when it reaches a specified minimum balance.
Transit riders who register their Presto cards can have the remaining balance on lost or stolen cards transferred to a new card within 24-hours. An additional benefit to registering a Presto card is that registered cardholders can incur a negative balance if they do not have sufficient funds to pay the fare but have a card balance greater than $0. This can be done for one trip and a fee will be applied to the user’s account. This allows the user to travel to their destination and pay later when they have an opportunity to reload their Presto card.
The City of Toronto, Province of Ontario and Government of Canada have committed $140 million to implement the Presto system on the TTC. The transit commission estimates that the project will cost $365 million. Once Presto has been rolled out across the entire TTC system, tokens and monthly metropasses will be discontinued in favour of the new fare card. Reduced fares apply after the 35th trip and fares are free after 40 trips in a month for GO commuters using Presto, travelling the same route.