Thursday, December 5, 2013

Oh Presto ... can we talk?

GO Transit has kindly offered to look into it my penny skimming situation involving my Presto card - detailed here. I knew I could count on them but I really want Presto to pick up the torch here and chat with me about this glitch.

And speaking of "glitches", have you been caught in a Presto refund boondoggle? I love that word by the way. It's a scouting term apparently and it's become my word du jour of late. It's right up there with fubar.

The Toronto Star's Ellen Roseman wrote an article yesterday documenting one woman's Presto woes and even got a soundbite from the Vice President of Presto. He blames rapid adoption and growth for the problems affecting GO Transit cardholders. Thousands of people were forced to give up monthly paper passes. The onus was on your team, Mr. Hollis, to have the call centres and mechanisms set up and in place before the transition/expansion/growth/forced adoption happened, not after.

Let's outline all of the errors of Presto's ways, shall we? Wait, I don't have to. It's been done, written about numerous times on this site, but in a nutshell:

In 2012, transit usage reports, due to be released by end of February go up in late March only to be taken down for almost two weeks, inaccessible to customers because of a system error. In 2013, the track record wasn't any better.

Mr. Hollis, I welcome you to contact me to discuss what happened on March 2 in 2012 that resulted in a a critical phone call between myself and your IT department. You can reach me at 905 442 7423.

We should really chat. It's not enough that GO Transit is investigating my fare situation. I'm a Presto customer and I deserve an answer. I need to speak with someone at Presto, preferably you.

I regret now not staying on top of my fare situation when I first noticed this past February as I believed it would be resolved after I was told it was probably a glitch resulting from the fare increase a few weeks prior. I put it out of my mind because 10 cents really didn't matter and I was told the system would correct itself.

Turns out, it does really matter because this glitch is not a problem just with my account.

Where is this extra fare going?

But back to some nuggets of historical problems with Presto...

Presto machines began freezing along the Barrie line when the temperature hovered below -20C with wind chill. Passengers were unable to tap. Presto put the onus on customers to find machines and I quote, "covered in huts" which for many meant trudging 500 metres to opposite ends of platforms to find another reader not exposed to cold weather.

Monthly passholders quickly find out that their Presto card no longer allowed for free travel for one adult guest on weekends. Not sure who to finger for this but to all out remove this perk with no consultation with passengers was pretty low. A friend of mine headed into the city with her mother on a Saturday and a fare inspection revealed that mom should have bought a ticket. Adding further insult to injury, her 86 year old mother is on file with GO Transit with a registered warning. Nice, right?

In fact, to help others better understand all that is an annoyance with Presto ... it's like standing in front of a buffet of wrongs and not knowing which one to pile on your plate first ... I have chronicled all of their shortcomings in a web series that runs up to 24 chapters. It's a bloody book and you can read it here.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad you brought up the free travel for one adult issue, I too assumed that it was allowed until told otherwise. Now if I have to go downtown on the weekend with my daughter I drive. No way I am spending close to $40 on GO for 2 of us to travel. I can drive downtown from Whitby AND park for half of that.

Anonymous said...

Saw Frank Klees tweeted you. It would be a great place to start.

Michael Suddard said...

Go with Frank Klees methods. He has been at Queen's Park as an MP for over 10 years. He also used to the be the Transportation Minister and is currently the Transportation Critic, so he will know how to work the system for this Presto injustice.

Presto on regional systems was just as badly rolled out. York Region Transit delayed the roll out of Presto for no explanation and when it eventually launched, there were bad logistical and technological issues. Of course there was lots of prepared "everythings great" Presto bafflegab.

I blogged about York Region Transit (YRT) Presto back in 2011 here:

Al said...

I knew before the paper passes went with the Dodo that that perk was also kaput.

Sylv said...

I recently joined the "waiting for Presto refund" club. After not hearing from them for almost a week (after they said 48 hours), I called yesterday. Apparently they tried to call me the day before, but had the wrong phone number on record (yeah, the customer service rep sounded 3/4 asleep when I called, so I get that!). I am now waiting (again) for the "investigator" to contact me.

Peter said...

The only way I have found to get Metrolinx employees to take issues seriously is to e-mail the president of GO Transit directly and copy Customer Relations. Of late, I've copied CJ, too. I believe it's time to add Frank's e-mail address to the list.

Anonymous said...

Isn't that how Richard Pryor made all his money in "Superman III"?

Anonymous said...

Can Presto do anything right these days?