Tuesday, September 9, 2014

GO bus operators suffer from Presto pain too!

Special to

by Luke Warmbath

We’ve read the stories of PRESTO pain – primarily from passengers.  This Crazy Train’s Presto Chronicles stands at an astounding 29 chapters!  GO Transit bus drivers are also users of the technology, and it fails them, too.

I boarded the bus and was about to tap on, when the driver motioned me to wait.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“The GPS satellite link isn’t working.  I have to set our location manually,” responded the driver.

We were able to board after a few deft taps on the user interface.  Unfortunately, this procedure had to be repeated at each stop along the route – wasting precious time.  When we arrived at our destination, a number of passengers had questions about continuing their trip to Union station.  Rather than have them block the exit of the bus talking with the driver, I volunteered to provide assistance outside, since I was heading that way, too.

As I finished with my fellow passengers, I heard our driver inside the bus exclaim, “Nooooooo!”  I poked my head inside the door and I asked what was wrong.  The driver responded that the PRESTO terminal had lost the end of trip report.

This report is critical for drivers; it’s a sales summary report that drivers use to remit their cash to accounting.  Without the report, drivers estimate their ticket sales and PRESTO ePurse loads for their “cash-in”.  If a subsequent audit exposes a variance, the driver must make good on the amount that is due, or is issued a credit for the excess remitted.

If you’re thinking this business process is convoluted, you’re absolutely spot-on.  But remember, this is PRESTO.  The bus POS terminal hasn’t lost the transaction details, because they make their way to our respective transaction logs, and accounting has access to the numbers to perform their audits after the bus terminal synchronizes with the system.  So why can’t drivers print their end of trip reports on demand?  Is this another example of “users unfamiliarity with the features” per Rob Hollis, Executive VP, PRESTO?

C’mon, I’ve been in IT over forty years.  A report is a report!  Why does the bus POS terminal not allow drivers to print a sales summary report when they want to?  Alternatively, why can’t drivers get access to this report via some accounting back office facility?  

Let’s face it, this is another PRESTO bug.


Anonymous said...

As a Go driver that is an excellent question. One that we as drivers have been asking for years. Questions that have fallen on deaf ears. Presto the worst waste of tax payers money.

Squiggles said...

I've come across the "Free Ride" on DRT buses when the presto reader acts up and the driver gives up trying to fix it. Same philosophy should apply to all transit systems. That way, if enough revenue is lost, it may be fixed?

And yes, I am safely ensconced in my happy place right now :)

Dan-1 said...

Presto: the government-championed turd that just keeps on giving...

Anonymous said...

Just more proof that Presto cant do anything right.

If this was the private sector, heads would be rolling instantly.