Saturday, February 5, 2011

Delays in implementing SmartCard system

Delays in implementing a SmartCard fare system have made it unlikely that the system will be ready before 2012, according to a report on 580 CFRA. The City had hoped to have Presto available "by 2011", but... apparently, that timeline was too ambitious.

From 580 CFRA:

OC Transpo says there are delays in implementing the new Smart Card system that will allow riders to pay for bus passes and transit fares online.

OC Transpo General Manager Alain Mercier says the city will use Presto, which is the provincial Smart Card system.

Mercier says the delay is because of new features Ottawa will use with the system.
The cards have been in the works for a few years now, and implementation at the time was budgeted at $12M--no word on whether or not that bottom-line number has changed since 2008, when it was originally brought up. The cards are supposed to store either your monthly pass credit or a cash balance for fares, and will reportedly be implemented on the STO fleet, as well--but I've got no news on that front.

UPDATE: David Reevely picked up on this post over at Greater Ottawa, and it turns out smart cards for OC Transpo have been in the works for more than just a few years. The Ottawa Citizen first reported plans to implement them in 1997, with the timeline at that time being "within five years". Reevely raises a good question: Why can't we figure out how to do this?