Thursday, May 23, 2013

Presto card lost or stolen? Guess what? Presto victimizes you a second time when they steal your loyalty steps

I had my Presto card stolen last week. I was pick-pocketed and of course, I should have been more aware when standing in a crowd of people near Union Station. Also taken was my bank card and $10. The person simply reached into my purse and took what they could snatch from the visible inside pocket. Thankfully, that's all that was taken.

I replaced the Presto card and just discovered this morning after logging into the Presto website that although my balance, registration and PIN were transferred to the new card, my transaction history for this month, specifically the loyalty steps that factor into the discount at the end of the month, were not. This means that my GO Transit fare for the month of May will be $369.60. With the loyalty discount, it should be about $38.00 to $40.00 less. May is a long month. I'm surprised by how angry this has made me. It's not the money but the principle.

Why can't the loyalty discount be transferred? What kind of state-of-the-art, electronic fare system is this? It's wrong. It's all kinds of wrong!


Squiggles said...

I can't say that I am surprised. In fact, I thought I read about a similar incident on this site back in the fall.

Essentially, I think they are doing that to protect themselves. Otherwise, can you see a whole rash of people claiming that their cards were stolen, only to receive the bigger discount sooner?

April said...

Presto victimizes you every chance they get. I keep meaning to write to you about my fun experience with the disappearing credit card load. It was a fun story.

calvinhc said...

There are some other poor design issues with Presto, as I have discovered with YRT. YRT has three fare zones and the cost to travel into a new zone is an extra $1.

One is supposed to pay for the additional zone before one makes the trip, which is reasonable as one has to do that with any one-zone trip (on YRT, or on any other municipal agency in the GTHA). If you know when you first tap on, you can tell the driver who will activate the two-zone setting, or at a VIVAstation, you can press the two-zone button. These will charge you $4, the $3 fare and the $1 zone supplement. If you realize mid-trip that you need the upgrade, asking the driver or using the 2-zone button will only charge you the $1 as the system knows you still have a valid 1-zone fare in effect.

Here's where the first issue rears its ugly head: if you find youself boarding in another zone while your original zone fare is still in effect and simply tap on, the system charges you a whole new $3 for the new zone! None of its smarts is used to determine that you already have paid for the other zone and only need the $1 supplement!

YRT claims this is to counter the effect of people only paying a single zone fare and travelling into a second zone. Even so, if they continue their trip in the new zone, they should still have to only pay $1!

The second 'bug' in the system comes from the fact that Presto terminals on buses have no idea where they really are - they are not tied into the GPS system that announces stops. They know about the schedule and make assumptions about where the bus is. The driver can 'update' it along the route, to re-sync where it thinks it is, but if they don't, it goes on its own assumptions. How often does this rear its ugly head on GO buses?

I discovered all of this back in December when my daughter and I took a trip to the Service Ontario office at Bloomington and Yonge. The visit was short and Bloomington is the north border of YRT zone 1. We boarded a YRT bus that turned out thought it was still one stop further north and got dinged for the extra $3 instead of no extra charge.

I know now to ask the driver to re-sync the Presto terminal when boarding a bus coming from another zone, but that is not something that a passenger should have to do.

TomW said...

It will be transferred.
(I lost my card, and the balance was transferred right away but the loyalty steps took a while to arrive. No idea why.)

Anonymous said...

Why is it that Presto can't do anything right?

Sylv said...

Been there!

C.J. Smith said...

Two presto csrs told me loyalty steps aren't transferred.
Other people wrote me to tell me they had to involve go transit and some got a credit and others were told there was nothing that could be done.
In fact, if you got yours, then the system is truly flawed and further training is required on presto's end to educate staff.

Unknown said...

Just FYI - the entire Presto system will be down (online functions included) from May 31- June 2 for "system migration". I got an email about it at work today from our communications group.

Peter said...

Let’s remember that we’re customers of GO Transit, not Presto. GO Transit chose (was forced) to retain Presto (a sister organization) as their provider of payment services. Any issues with Presto should be brought to the attention of GO Transit, who can deal with Presto.

Unknown said...

Hey @calvinhc, GO buses do not suffer from this problem; the driver must manually input the zone/stop before any cards can be tapped.