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Friday, May 12, 2017

My Presto card broke. Again. And because people don't read every word of every post, this post also has a shout out to the amazing CSR at Oshawa GO Station re: 8:30pm on May 11 (Holla!)


It may be time to run another contest. It was just a little over 2 years ago that my Presto card cracked... and now its replacement has met the same fate!

Surprisingly, nothing has changed with respect to the hassle for replacing a card. You still have to pay $6 for a new card. No warranty is offered. Your old balance can't be transferred right away. You have to spend close to an hour in telephone IVR hell across two different phone systems (Go Transit and Presto Card) to get the new card registered, and initiate the balance transfer and STILL... STILL ... STILL lose your loyalty steps. So then you have to rant and rave on Twitter and hope that someone reaches out and tries to help.

I've been told loyalty steps can be re-established but it's on a case by case basis. I've got a ticket in with GO about this and an email has been sent to an analyst at Presto Card. But until I have an answer, while all of y'all are paying $1.31 a ride on the days near the end of this month. I'll be the sucker paying full fare.

However, it wasn't all bad, at Oshawa GO, I had a great interaction with the agent working last night. She was incredibly helpful and took great care of me, which I appreciated. Front line staff at GO have all my respect. ALL OF IT.

I'll post an update about my loyalty steps when I know more.

6 comments:

Outburst said...

F#$k. Happened to me a few years ago. Such a painful process.
I now have mine in a plastic protector. I shouldn't have to do that, but these things are so weak and cheap that it's a necessity.

C.J. Smith said...

I feel like I have to bust out my nana's 24k gold plated cigarette case from the 40s and put the new one in it.

The company that makes the cards also makes the TD bank cards which are more durable. But TD has billions of dollars so maybe cheap plastic is all us schmucks deserve. But for $6, it should be more reliable.

Anonymous said...

Does the card not work if it has a crack√Č

Goddamn it!! French keyboard strikes again!!!!

C.J. Smith said...

Not if the crack is where the rfid chip is. Renders the card useless.
And of course, my card cracked right at the chip.

Warren Downe said...

Anonymous,
For a proper answer, we need Tyson (aka @tysmo) to comment, but here goes a layman's attempt...

If the integrity of either the chip or the antenna is compromised, the card is toast. The antenna picks up energy from the reader and activates the chip, and the data transfer follows. So, if the card cracks, even partially, from the edge inward, the antenna is severed, and the card is inoperable. For further reading, reference http://bit.ly/1CPzZU0 (How do contactless smart cards work?).

HTH.

Tyson Moore said...

For a proper answer, we need Tyson (aka @tysmo) to comment, but here goes a layman's attempt...

Hi!

Warren, your explanation is bang-on. The antenna in the card is a couple millimetres in from the outer edge, and severing that renders the card useless.

People often ask "why can't I punch a hole in my Presto card when my building's ID card has a hole?" Well, old 125 kHz proximity cards generally had circular loop antennas in the lower 2/3rds of the card, meaning one could punch a hole at the top without worry. Modern 13.25 MHz contactless cards (including the Presto card) need larger loops to operate effectively. While there are still some varieties that can be punched (HID sells some iCLASS cards that come pre-punched), Presto cards cannot.

As an aside, most 13.25 MHz cards (credit cards, iCLASS cards, Presto and other MIFARE cards etc.) use very few wire loops (usually 4) because they can induct more energy from the higher-frequency field. This is why old 125 kHz cards are generally thicker; they need many more windings.

That's about as far as my knowledge of antenna design goes -- it's as much of an art as it is a science.

(P.S. If anybody has a Tangerine credit card, you can actually see the antenna loops through the translucent orange parts on the card edges.)