City to distribute 200,000 free PRESTO smart cards

OC Transpo riders will soon experience the convenience of using smart card technology with the official launch of the PRESTO card this summer. OC Transpo has successfully negotiated an agreement to distribute the first 200,000 smart cards for free to its customers starting June 10, 2012.

“Smart card technology is the easiest, most convenient and secure way of operating a transit fare system for both transit users and for the City,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “Transit users will be able to go online to purchase, renew, or load up their cards, reducing the need to wait in lineups every month to purchase a new transit pass or buy tickets.”

OC Transpo and PRESTO will make it even easier for customers to acquire the smart card by waiving the cost to the user of each PRESTO card for the first 200,000 cards distributed. The City’s cost of providing this service is $250,000.

The PRESTO system uses smart cards and readers, which are considered industry best practice because they enhance customer service and allow rapid boarding. PRESTO cards will be operational on most OC Transpo buses and on the O-Train starting July 1, 2012.

“Two hundred thousand free PRESTO cards will make the transition to our new state-of-the-art smart card technology even easier for our customers,” said Transit Commission Chair Diane Deans. “This is great news for Ottawa transit riders.”

The free cards will be available online and at select City facilities starting on June 10. More information about the PRESTO smart card implementation and how residents can receive a free card will be presented at the Transit Commission meeting on Monday, April 23, 2012.