Saturday, March 22, 2014

I was under the impression that if you worked for Metrolinx/GO Transit, your fare was free, so why is Metrolinx CEO McCuaig using PRESTO? TTC?

from: MS
to: CJ Smith
date: Fri, Mar 21, 2014 at 8:09 PM
subject: More news from The Star's The Fixer

Hi CJ.

Here's another article I found on the Star website:

It suggests that auto-reloading when your card hits $20 will save on problems. This comes direct from Bruce McCuaig, who claims he has his Presto card set up to auto-reload from his chequing account when the balance hits $20. I bet his account has never been double dipped.

My sister was on auto-reload until her credit card got hit twice and then it took almost three weeks to get it fixed.

And as it's pointed out, regular users of GO have no other option than Presto, unless they want to buy a day ticket every time they ride.

from: CB 
to: ""
date: Sat, Mar 22, 2014 at 10:49 AM
subject: The Fixer

This was in today's Toronto Star.  So Bruce McCuaig, CEO of Metrolinx says he puts an automatic reload when his presto card reaches $20. The technology they are using was created 7 years ago explains is his reasoning as to why it takes at least 24 hours for your online load to appear.

What'll happen when they add all TTC stations to be Presto accessible and reloads take a day or more?

Great, were definitely keeping up with the times ;)


TomW said...

I wish they'd just say: "For reloads to appear on every on-vehicle machine quickly would require every bus to be in constant communication with the central server. That would cost a lot of money, particularly in operational costs"

Unknown said...

If I have a computer client pay via interac email transfer, it is near instant.
If they pay via credit card through Square, it takes ~3 business days.
Why is that info important? Because Interac is bank to bank. Credit Card is a longer process. My guess is Presto is using tech like CC companies.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe this story whatsoever. These GO/Metrolinx employees have a card with a sticker on it which gives them free rides. They walk on and flash their card like they're gods when ticket checkers come... or, they keep the lanyard around their necks so they look important. Bunch of idiots.

C.J. Smith said...

I've seen that, too, which is why I don't understand why Bruce has a PRESTO card. The only thing I can surmise is he is a TTC user.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous jelly much. Go/Metrolinx employees do ride for free with their I.D. Only on Go/Metrolinx Train or Bus. Any other Transit they must pay.

Peter said...

I’m pretty sure Bruce McQuaig is not the CEO of Metrolinx; Bruce McCuaig is, though. Ref. Jack Lakey needs to fix his Toronto Star column.

As CJ already pointed out, Bruce may use PRESTO for the odd occasion he uses TTC. As a Metrolinx employee, he rides GO Transit for free, and we pay him a healthy car allowance. Ref.

Anonymous said...

I want This 24 hr garbage to stop fix the problem or GO HOME in other words Bruce resigned from metrolinx!! its time these senior civil servants do some jail time along withs their political masters
YOU say E Health gas plants , oriange and PRESTO

C.J. Smith said...

I did a copy pasta.
Fixed it all over and the emails. Thanks Peter!

Michael Suddard said...

"Since then, improvements in transmitting wireless data to and from transit vehicles have created opportunities to reduce the lag time for deposits to Presto accounts, in some cases down to four hours, he said." - Bruce McCuag, Metrolinx. the less than 24 hours IS possible? Wasn't there someone not to long ago in a post saying this wasn't possible?

Oh right, Vanessa Thomas (Metrolinx Media Relations Officer) was quoted here:

on the 24 hour issue saying it wasn't possible.

Looks like Vanessa needs to ask the chief if it is possible.

RC said...

But why are the funds available right away if you load at the station? They take the money right away when you load on-line, it should be available the next time you tap-on.
Mind you, I always load in the evening and most of the time it's there the next morning. If it's not then I consider it their problem. I'd love to argue that one...

Anonymous said...

Folks, transit employees can ride for free on their respective transit agencies they work for. Their employee IDs will suffice.

Only police officers in Ontario can ride ANY public transit system by flashing their badges.

Alex said...


Unlike virtually every other stored value card system, PRESTO keeps your money on the card itself. This is what allows the transaction to be instantaneous, rather than the few seconds it takes to tap and pay at Tims or similar. This also means the system doesn't have to be connected to the central server, handy when you're on a bus and not necessarily within cell range.

When you load online this money needs to find a way onto the card. The system does this by sending your load information to every reader, on every bus and in every train station. This is where the delay is. Buses only sync when they return to the garage. Even if the reader is fixed, like at a station, they only get updates every four hours because instantaneous online load was not a specification in the design when most buses didn't have cellular connections to make it happen.

When you go to a station, the agent takes your money, taps your card, and, ahem, presto - your money is on the card, the same with a GO bus.

You can load online in the evening and have it on your card the next morning because that bus was at a garage overnight. On systems with 24 hour service, buses might not have been to a garage overnight, for example OCTranspo specifies a wait time of 24-48 hours.

When the TTC rolls out, I would assume the cards will be reloadable at subway collectors or vending machines. OCTranspo is rolling out the machines starting in 2016. The thing for everybody to realize is that this is not a PRESTO specific problem, there are no contactless transit payment systems I am aware of that do instantaneous loads from online. The difference is that most of these systems have a network of convenience stores, train stations and machines to load cards at so online loads are not important to the masses.

George said...

It always amazes me that people like the anon ranter can actually use a computer. You'd think after performong a few spittle-flecked rants that keyboard or something would be unusable.

People like that person conveniently forget that in order to serve jail time, you have to have done something against our criminal codde, get charged, convicted and then lose any appeals. That wouldn't look good in a misspelled, grammatically incoreect and barely coherent rant I suppose.

Presto is a pile of junk and it's far too late to do anything about it but complain until someone steps up. Of course with the Fiberals in power, that's never going to happen.

The only thing Presto does properly (acceptably that is) is collect fares, but even then it screws up. All back office prodeures are awful and outdated.

RC said...

Thanks for the explanation Alex!