Last Thursday, OC Transpo General Manager Alain Mercier presented the 2012 Business Plan to the Transit Commission. The 36-page document can be found here. Over the course of this week, we will look at this plan and pick out the highlights. Everything from operating costs to park and rides will be discussed.First, let's take a look at Presto.
As many of you are aware, Presto cards will be launching later this year to replace paper tickets and passes. These cards are transferable between anyone in the same fare group. For example, if you pay student fare, you may give your Presto card to another person who also pays the student fare – of course, you can't be on the bus or O-Train at the same time.
Another benefit with Presto is the different methods of payments you can choose to reload your card: internet, phone, mail, or in person. This should reduce the lengthy line-ups for passes each month. There is also an option to have your pass automatically purchased for the next month, which is adds to the convenience.
OC Transpo wants to simplify the system to two types of fares for students, adults, and seniors: single trip fares (similar to the existing ticket for less frequent travellers) and monthly passes. Since Presto does not use paper transfers, it might be difficult for most people to remember how much time is left on their single-fare. The plan does not go into the specifics of how the whole fare system will be implemented. However, it might best for OC Transpo to install balance checkers at each Transitway station, on buses, and the O-Train.
Express fares will remain for express routes and the Day Pass, Family Pass, and U-Pass will continue. But, semester passes will be discontinued and the annual passes have stopped since December of last year. There was no mention of children's fare in the report but, it would make sense to have a fare for children, 6-11 years old, as they always have.