Monday, April 30, 2012

This Crazy Train's Presto Chronicles, Chapter 19: Is it, or isn't it, an e-wallet?

Saturday I took the kid into Oshawa for the Durham Parents of Multiples Clothing and Toy Sale.

It was at the Oshawa Curling Club, just a bus ride across Highway 2 aka King Street.

I didn't try very hard to look for the $2.25 in change I would need for her fare as I had my Presto card and my Presto card acts as an e-wallet. However, I had $2.25 in change on me just in case Presto would fail, or GO would fail, or the driver would fail (someone always fails).

As we walked to the bus stop, I started counting out the kid's bus fare when I dropped a loonie. It rolled onto the road and like a flash, it was gone. My kid became super anxious, convinced she won't get on the bus and we'll have to walk to Oh-shwa (how she pronounces Oshawa). Relax, I tell her. I've got a Presto card. It will be fine!

I had $1.60 left in change. The bus shows up, we climb on and I ask the driver to use my Presto card to pay for the kid and I'll tap on when he's done with her fare.

"I can't do that," he says. "Pardon?" I ask. He sighs. "You can't use Presto twice. If you pay for your daughter, you can't tap on."

"I was told you could use the funds on my card to pay for her fare." I say. "Yes, he says, "but then you can't pay yours."

I realize that people are staring, the bus is now behind schedule and these people just want me to either get off or find some money and pay already.

I tell him I had exact fare and now I don't. I'm frustrated because I was told that I could pay for my kid with my card and use it for myself ALL AT THE SAME TIME. Not in the same transaction but as two different transactions, a fact that was lost on this bus driver.

This woman sitting near the front spotted me the .65 cents I needed and we were on our way.

In Oshawa, I made sure I had money for the kid's ride home.

At 9:30 am, we boarded the GO bus and guess who was driving? The same driver. I got the same answer so I gave him the cash. I had asked him to inquire at the station or to call into his dispatch about how Presto's e-wallet feature works. I see he made that a top priority, so I bitched about it on Twitter.

Turns out, I was in the right. Presto cards can be used to pay fares for people traveling with you provided there are sufficient funds in your e-wallet. Then, once those transactions are done and the tickets are printed, you can tap your card and use it like you normally do

Balls! Right?

Why would drivers not learn how to use the card for "cash" fares? Why take cash? Why carry cash? Who wants to be responsible for money? What about theft? Robberies? Electronic money can't be handed over.

I don't understand. Where's the problem? Is it Presto not educating the Transit Systems who offer Presto? Is it the Transit Systems not educating their employees, or is it the employees just being lazy?


FRED said...

Where do drivers put the cash they get? Do they have a safe?

ExGOnowTTC said...

You don't want to know.

Anonymous said...

@CJ: I assume you fired off an email to Customer Relations and CC'd Gary McNeil.

AngelSil said...

This contradicts the Presto published information which says that 2 people cannot ride at the same time using 1 card. So, no it isn't an e-wallet in any sense of the word.

I was told the same thing (can't do it) when I tried to bring my husband into the city using my card a few months back. Maybe they've changed it, but it used to not be possible.

C.J. Smith said...

I plan on it.

C.J. Smith said...

It apparently can be done. Maybe the rules have changed. Maybe Presto just can't be bothered to update their literature.

I dunno, man ... it's just reedonkeylous.

C.J. Smith said...

No need. I can see why. Not this is a secret ... but safety first!

Peter Seelert said...

Thank you, Cindy.

lswgirl13 said...

I still don't see how you can tap twice. If you did that you and your friend, spouse, partner, etc. could tap and you'd reach your free rides in half the time. Or get 40 friends and tap all of you at once and you'd ride the rest of the month for free.

hooker_on_hwy said...

You can buy a ticket using your e-purse. Then tap on. But buy ticket first because after you tap a transaction can't be done after the tap on.

Anonymous said...

I was told that you could do it at the GO station where they sell tickets. They issue the ticket from your epurse and then you can use the card as usual to the GO bus or train. I do not think the driver can do it.

C.J. Smith said...

Official answer from Presto and GO Transit is all Presto machines on buses are equipped to debit fare for anyone traveling with a Presto cardholder from the e-purse (or e-wallet) provided the fare e-payments are executed before the cardholder taps.
Drivers who don't perform this service are either forgetful, un-trained or just don't want to do it.

lswgirl13 said...

Ohhhhh, okay, got it now.

hooker_on_hwy said...

CJ is correct. The drivers have all been trained at this but some don't want to do it.