UPDATE: December 21-2011 – It seems Presto is still having problems, if you sign up for automatic deductions from your bank account or credit card to top up, as reported in The Star today. Click HERE to read about the unwanted deductions from a clients card.

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UPDATE – September 14/2010 I must admit I am very impressed by PRESTO, now. They have updated their WEBSITE and included information on how to activate your PRESTO card. Well done.
This is from their website….

“Activating your PRESTO card

You only need to activate your PRESTO card if you have ordered a registered card from the PRESTO website. If you ordered an anonymous card from the website, or purchased your card in person, you do not have to activate your card. It is already activated.

To activate your PRESTO card, click on the “Activate my PRESTO card” link at the top of this page and fill in your card number and pre-set PIN number.

Your card will not be activated immediately. You must tap your card on to a device to process the activation. Please note: TTC devices are not equipped to process card activation. It is recommended that you tap on to a balance checker to process your Auto load contract, to avoid inadvertent fare deduction. There is at least one balance checker located at every PRESTO-activated GO Station, as well as three in GO Union Station. For images and descriptions of the balance checker and other PRESTO devices, scroll to the bottom of this page.”

UPDATE – September 10/2010 Thunderbolt, it has been revealed in this Toronto Star article that Accenture, the company that won the $250 million contract to design the province’s rival transit fare card, is involved in PRESTO.
But if nothing is being hidden, why is this information about activation, not posted on their website?
UPDATE – September 10/2010 Thunderbolt, it has been revealed in this Toronto Star article that Accenture, the company that won the $250 million contract to design the province’s rival transit fare card, is involved in PRESTO.

UPDATE – September 9/2010 PRESTO card discussed in THIS Toronto Star article today. It’s amazing no-one asked about the problems “activating” the card. It appears the Government of Ontario want the PRESTO card used. WHY? Someone please tell me.

UPDATE – September 5/2010
Toronto – I spoke last month about the activation procedure for the PRESTO card in Toronto but it doesn’t appear much has changed. From what I could see, there is still no explanation on their website (Presto card) how to activate the card.

Manger David Smith at PRESTO , gave me some answers. The first question I asked was about how to activate the card after I had registered, and right away he told me it must be done at “a non-TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) tap machine.” He went onto say, “We’re set-up for activation at Union Station only and the TTC has requested that the machines in the TTC not activate cards,” and yet you can use a PRESTO card on the TTC if you have already activated it.

I asked him why it is not on the website about the activation process. Smith said, “I would have to go and check, because I don’t have that information in front of me,” and concluded “We are not trying to withhold any information from the public.”I originally wanted to use the card on the TTC and was unable to activate it, and they have since sent me a credit, but it has deducted $4.20 for original activation at Union Station in Toronto, and then when I credited the voucher at Union on the weekend it deducted another $6.75. The reason I was told, is the system thinks I tried to use the GO train (which I did not) so I have been charged $10.95 so far for doing nothing but trying to activate the card.

If the public is to try this, I suspect it is important that this information be clear and be posted on their website and was told by two employees to go to Union Station to activate the card, which I did. I was never told “which tap machine” to use.

They (Presto customer service) say in an unsigned letter “from the PRESTO TEAM” received September 1/2010, “As PRESTO begins it’s public roll out, (since May 2010) there is a learning curve for both staff and customers that is to be expected. Your feedback on your experience with PRESTO has greatly assisted our efforts to identify areas, where there is a greater need for education, both for customers and front line staff. We continually work to provide our customers with the information assistance that they require to use PRESTO.”

So let’s review the procedures.

– Go to the PRESTO website and purchase a card for $6.50 which will be mailed to you, and you must load a minimum of $10.00.
– Go back to the PRESTO website and register your card once you receive it.
– Go to Union Station in Toronto or any GO station which is PRESTO active and activate your card. (but you would not know this if you read their website.)
– Another important “TIP” make sure you “tap it” at a special machine that only gives you the “balance” and NOT the regular machine or you will be on the merry-go-round that I encountered.

All photos are © COPYRIGHT – All rights reserved – with “DMB” Watermark.

A reader of the original story indicated, but not confirmed from Presto, that once you have the card and want to add funds you can do it on their website, but must go to a GO train activation “tap machine” within seven days and add the funds to your card. There is another way around this, you register for “e-wallet” where you register your credit card and it takes and adds money to the card as it is depleted.

And don’t forget, they get use of “OUR” funds until they are depleted/used. Maximum you can load onto your card is $320.00, minimum $10.00.

Sounds like a good idea, but they have many problems to correct and where did my $10.95 go?

Why do they not tell us all the information on their website?

And what about the “tap on, tap off” instructions on their website, does that apply for people using the TTC? It’s very unclear. If you were to “tap off” when you exit the TTC, I think you would be charged another fare.

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Daniel … Toronto, CANADA
My take on everything