With GO Transit set to abandon the use of monthly passes, riders in Scarborough and across the GTA will soon be left with PRESTO cards as their only options.
Last week, GO Transit announced sales of monthly passes will be suspended effective Jan. 1, 2013. This announcement comes just over two months after the transportation outlet stopped selling two-ride and 10-ride passes to its customers. As a result, GO riders have made the shift to PRESTO cards, which are electronic passes that require users to load money onto them before tapping them on electronic readers prior to boarding a train or bus.
Mark Ostler, the media relations and issues specialist for, Metrolinx, revealed that 60 per cent of GO riders use PRESTO while only 18 per cent still buy monthly passes. Additionally, Ostler revealed that 78 per cent of GO Transit users indicated their satisfaction with the electronic fare card in a recent customer survey.
Despite the technical risks involved with implementing PRESTO across the board, Ostler said GO Transit users will quickly adjust to the transformation.
There are some operational deficiencies with PRESTO. We do have technical issues and when you introduce a major technological system of a different kind, you can encounter issues,” Ostler said. “PRESTO has been a very reliable fare method for riders and we’ve got high satisfaction rates with it shows that.”
The PRESTO card system has also proven itself as a cost-effective measure. On trips to Toronto, Scarborough-based riders pay $ 4.32 compared to $ 4.65 through a single ticket. Furthermore, Scarborough students pay .69 cents less on a single trip via PRESTO to Toronto and, like adults, get free rides should they travel more than 40 times a month.
Ostler suggests that PRESTO users will benefit from the lower costs and loyalty programs offered through this electronic system.
“If you use it a lot, you’re going to get a lot more out of it,” Ostler said.