Sunday, December 15, 2013

This Crazy Train's Presto Chronicles, Chapter 25: The Insidious Travel Window

In this chapter of the Presto Chronicles, This Crazy Train guest contributor, Frank E. Futor, provides a closer look at the insidious Travel Window.

My trip cost how much?
By Frank E. Futor

On Nov. 26 and 27, @GlobalTom, @GOtransit, and @GOvoygr had the following exchange on Twitter:

1. @GlobalTom: @GOtransit Travel window with @prestocard is 3hrs. If my GO trip is longer than that, what happens when I transfer to local transit system?
2. @GOtransit: @GlobalTom It will depend on your regular trip; do you have defaults or just tap on/tap off; we can help; ^JA
3. @GlobalTom: @GOtransit No defaults - tap on/off
4. @GOtransit: @GlobalTom Each time you tap your card, ie: when transferring from GO to GO, or GO to local trans, the 3 hour window is extended. :) ^JK
5. @GlobalTom: @GOtransit Website says "There is a 3 hour travel window to complete your GO trip" - can you fix this please?
6. @GOtransit: @GlobalTom Sorry for the confusion; we'll look into this; thank you for bringing it to our attention; ^JA
7. @GOvoygr: @GOtransit Had @GlobalTom answered that his PRESTO card has a default trip, what would your answer re Travel Window & local transit be?
8. @GOtransit did not respond to the last question.

My Presto card has a default trip between Burlington and Pickering.  I tested the Travel Window last Friday afternoon.  With reference to the Presto transaction history below, there were two transfers, namely, GO to GO at Burlington and GO to DRT in Pickering.  Neither of these transfers extended the Travel Window, since the DRT co-fare of $0.65 was not applied after 3:11:00 of travel; rather, I was charged the discounted adult fare.  When I first started using Presto, CSR ^RA in Customer Relations told me the only way to guarantee being charged the co-fare is to purchase a paper ticket with Presto and carry $0.65 in cash.  I almost fell off my chair when I heard those words.  Isn’t that an admission of failure and that the old monthly passes and 10/2-trip tickets were a better solution?

GO Transit, it’s time to fess up.  What’s the story with this Travel Window “extension”?  Fact or fiction? And why is tapping all the way versus a default trip significant vis-à-vis the Travel Window?

This trip cost me how much?

The reverse trip on Sunday afternoon was uneventful until I got to Burlington; again, reference the Presto transaction history below. After I tapped on the bus, I asked our driver if there was enough time to rush to the washroom.  She said there was.  On my way back to the bus, I realized my Presto balance was low, so I stopped at the ticket booth and loaded $80 to the card, or so I thought. The transaction receipt shows an “Underpayment Value” deduction of $6.65, so my account was credited with only $73.35.


Upon closer examination of the Presto transaction log, the tap off at St. Catharines cost another $4.85; the amount should have been $3.91.  Instead of being charged $8.76 for the bus trip, I was dinged $4.85x2 + $6.65 = $16.35 (regular adult cash fare is $9.60).  And was exiting the bus at St. Catharines really a tap off? What is the state of my card for the next trip?

GO Transit, you got some ‘splainin’ to do!  Your $700,000,000+ “solution” is NOT enhancing my travel experience.  I never had these problems with 10-ride tickets.  I never had to inspect my receipts for transaction irregularities.  I never had to logon into a website to conduct accounting audits of my travel history.  Presto leaves much, far too much, to be desired.


Michael Suddard said...

I thought Ottawa was bad, but that one takes the cake.

Here is a story that is on today's Ottawa edition of the Metro Newspaper:

Important note is the response from the Presto / Metrolinx representative. "Everythings great, there are no glitches, etc." Really? There are still glitches and the system has now been around for 2 plus years. Even the Auditor General in 2012 said there were issues in his report and what was Metrolinx's response? Same as above...blah de blah de blah.

George said...

Presto was created by a thousand monkeys at a thousand keyboards trying to come up with usable code.

Nothing surprises me any more and GO has to take the heat for Accentures incompetence.

Thankthe Liberal weenies for this mess. Remember them next October.

Anonymous said...

Can Presto do anything right. What other smartcard system in the world has these onerrous rules?

Peter said...

Per the 2013 "Sunshine List" (, we taxpayers paid the Executive Vice President, Presto Fare Card $269,649.76. Self-preservation dictates whoever holds that position would object "to saying there were 'bugs' within the system".

Passengers are clients of their respective transit systems, NOT Presto. Passengers need to demand to talk the head of customer services at those transit companies, NOT Presto. And customers need to complain especially loudly to their elected representatives, namely, city councillors, mayors, and MPPs.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

What is the context of $700K?

Michael Suddard said...

@Peter Good luck with talking with head of YRT customer service.

Tried 3 times over 2 years ago and all I got was voicemail. Good luck with that.

But do contact:

Your MPP for GO Transit.

Your Regional Councillor for Durham Transit & York Region Transit.

I filed a complaint about a TTC route, contracted by YRT north of Steeles Avenue, with YRT that went nowhere. So I wrote an e-mail to the Mayor of Aurora (the Town's Regional Councillor) who happened to be on vacation. She actually called me that evening with a couple of questions of clarification and got the ball rolling. Man did York Region Transit give me a call pretty quick with an action plan for my issue the next day.

Peter said...

@Michael: Q.E.D.

We must remember that civil servants abhor the scrutiny of elected officials.

JeNNy the Jet said...

I tried to comment but it didn't work. So lets try this again..
First, I recommend no default settings. It can save you time however it can also cost you money.
If you loaded your card after tapping on you automatically pay the full fare deducted from your card to the "end of the line" as it concludes the trip in your card in order to load the money. It's told the computer you didn't tap off, even though you haven't had the opportunity. So when you in turn tapped off you did in fact tap on because you had already paid the fare as the computer told your presto card you did when you loaded it.
So never load your card in the middle of a trip. Now in fairness there is no way for a station attendant to see that this is the case when they see your info on the card and it's in an underpayment they should explain this to you as should the driver however some don't always take the time. Had they have perhaps you could have explained you tapped on and they would have had you reverse the charge before loading the card.

Also if you have a co fare and travel with go transit BUS to start, we can change the window on the card however it has to be done per each trip, this is meant for a major delay however in your circumstance I think it would be ok. I would do it at least if you explained it to me.
Also in regards to the co fare perhaps you don't see the full charge, the co-fare savings comes off the second part of the trip, so if you ride from go transit to city transit the co fare is deducted when you use it on the city bus however If you come from city bus to GO your co-fare deduction isn't applied until the end of your go transit trip. Hope this helps.