Thursday, September 25, 2014

TIL: You can't buy a day pass one day in advance


Here I am hoping to do my part to avoid delays on my bus route by planning my trip a day in advance, where I'm bringing my daughter downtown with me tomorrow, and I'm told I have to pay her fare -- tomorrow.

I'm not getting a PRESTO card for a kid who uses GO Transit once a year. Especially since I can't use the card for adult fare.

By the time I left the ticket counter at Oshawa GO this morning, I was confused and irritated.

I know I can pay for her from my e-purse but in the past when I tried this on THREE separate occasions, each driver had no idea how to do this and in one case, she rode for free because the driver didn't want to deal. On that trip, I made sure my PRESTO card was loaded and figured I was safe carrying no cash. Wrong.

And! I've not seen such a transaction take place yet. I can't recall a single time where two passengers have boarded and the fare was paid using one PRESTO card. Is this even true?

How does this work for the train when it's just you, your husband, a PRESTO machine and no counter sales available? Guess what? It doesn't -- illustration available at this link. Remember when this wasn't a problem? Especially on weekends when passholders could bring a guest for free?

So today, I will have to take the time to withdraw $20, buy a coffee I don't need (but twist my arm) and make sure I have $5.05 on hand for her for tomorrow's trip that starts on a bus.



VRS said...

Saw you at the Oshawa counter this morning. You looked annoyed and now I know why.
Found an old 2011 Presto roll out FAQ thingy that said you can't do it:
Two people cannot travel at the same time using the same PRESTO card. The Fare Payment Device will only deduct one fare per ride on GO Transit. However, PRESTO cards are transferable. When using someone else’s card, be sure you are aware of any settings
That being said this is from before it was rolled out fully to the buses. From what I have heard from a couple of the ticket checkers it still isn't possible.

C.J. Smith said...

I dislike lying. I really do. Metrolinx was too quick to adopt this piece of trash. No one planned out how customers could use the card beyond tapping it for work and back. Stupid. Stupid. STUPID.

Anonymous said...

CJ Do you ever contact Metrolinx with these issues? I'd love to hear their response :)

C.J. Smith said...

I'm overdue for a conversation.

mary said...

On a bus two people CAN ride on one presto card - providing there is enough money on it for two! But the trick is to buy the ticket using the card first before the owner of the card taps on.

C.J. Smith said...

Hi Mary
In April of last year, my daughter boarded first and I asked the driver to deduct her fare from my Presto card. He has no idea how to do this saying he hadn't been informed. Fair enough. I tapped and my kid rode for free to the station and I bought her a ticket there and that teller didn't know how to pay using my e-purse so I wound up using my debit card for her fare.
I'm not conducting any experiments tomorrow because of time constraints. I will pay cash for her.
I'm hoping more drivers know the process or have learned how to do this in the past year.

Anonymous said...

I tried to buy one in advance to avoid delay the next morning only to find out the same annoying policy that they choose to adopt (has to be bought no more than x hours before use). How convenient and customer focused!

C.J. Smith said...

Who cares if you can buy tickets in advance? It's like a gift certificate. GO has the money. Who cares now what happens next?

What's the logic here?

Anonymous said...

Only one person can "Tap" using Presto.
However, a ticket can be purchased from the card "E Purse"
On a Bus, before "tapping on" tell driver you need to purchase ticket from my E-Purse.
Driver sells ticket as normal but where it says "cash" on his screen he selects "E-Purse".
It will then ask for the card, once placed on machine ticket can then be issued. Once issued other person can the "tap on"
It's easy!

Sol T Knuts

C.J. Smith said...

Hi Salty Nuts (I see what you did there).

For shits and giggles, I'll try this tomorrow with Dave, one of the drivers I get along well with. He probably knows but I didn't want to torture him if he didn't.

With these instructions, I can assist him.

Thank you.

April said...

You can't buy the tickets in advance because the date they are purchased is printed on the ticket. If they let us purchase them in advance, someone could buy a ticket and use the same ticket all month by saying they purchased it in advance.

Remember back in the old OLD days when you could buy the tickets in advance and the bus driver punched them to show they had been used. That outdated technology THAT WORKED!

C.J. Smith said...

All they have to do is change the ticket and like plane tickets and concert tickets, they are only valid for the date purchased for

#### VALID September 26, 2014 ####


April said...

But that makes SENSE!

C.J. Smith said...


But this is what we're left with when you have a system designed by engineers and bureaucrats who drive every where and probably never take transit with their families or friends and walked to high school or lived in residence at University.


Bicky said...

Something to bring up at the CSAC meeting.

Anonymous said...

Hi Cindy, some drivers just don't want to do it & a lot of drivers have just forgotten how to do it as training was 3 years ago.
Remember to tell him, change "cash" to "E-Purse"
S T Knuts

Michael Suddard said...

Sorry CJ, I've seen 2 people ride a bus on a 1 Prestocard.

Sorry again, it wasn't in Toronto.

Sorry again, it was people even older than both of us. Saw an elderly couple, (yup!) board an Ottawa OC Transpo bus. The husband explained to the driver he would like to bring his wife with him.

The best part, the only question from the driver was: Would you like a daypass for both of you at $8.10 or would you like 2 regular fares at $4.40?

Daypass it was, tap of the card, pick up of a transfer and off we went.

Again, I apologize, must be because I'm Canadian.

Peter said...

Want to see how good your driver is? Ask them to do a split transaction to purchase a ticket, e.g. $4 cash and the rest from your ePurse. :-D

Anonymous said...

In Washington DC, only one person can use their smartcard system at a time. No multiple people on one card

Mary said...

Hi again C.J., Yes I also hope more drivers know how to sell a ticket using the "e-purse" payment, I know I do! I think as more people use presto they are finding out about buying a ticket with it so the procedure is becoming more familiar. I am sorry you were not able to do it last year but I am glad your daughter rode for free! Give it another whirl one day, you can tell the driver how it's done - the method of payment has to be changed to "e-purse"

Mary said...

Oh my bad just read the previous comments about using e-purse loads! Note to self; read comments before commenting Mary.