Tap On: The benefits of using the Presto card for students

(Leslie Walker/ The Ryersonian)

(Leslie Walker/ The Ryersonian)

Metrolinx has an ambitious goal in mind: to expand the Presto electronic fare card system for the Pan Am Games, the Toronto Star reports.

Officials at Metrolinx say they’re aiming for more subway stations, streetcars and buses to be equipped with Presto card readers by the start of the games in July 2015.

With Ryerson located in the heart of Toronto, students could benefit from the growth of the project.

With a large campus population of commuters, many students come from  the GTA or a different city using the GO system or the TTC. For many, Presto has already become a daily transaction.

“I started using the Presto card when I began commuting for school at Ryerson,” said Vanessa Develter, a third year urban and regional planning student.

Presto is marketing their product as a quicker and more convenient payment method. With a tap of a card on the reader, the fare is deducted.

Convenience is important to students but cost is usually a top concern.

“Using paper tickets takes time because you have to get in line each trip,” Develter said. “It also costs more and there was no option for a student discount.”

Both GO and Presto provide discounts to post-secondary students, but discounts increase the more you use the Presto card.

Presto was intended to replace the multi-ride and monthly passes at GO stations. For students, the first 30 rides are 17.25 per cent of the adult fare, which is only 15 round trips. After those first 30 trips, your discount increases to 95 per cent off until you reach 41 trips in which your fare becomes free. Of course, there is always a catch.

The trips reset each calendar month. As for riding the TTC with a Presto card, a student’s fare drops to $2.70. But if you plan on using TTC services more than 66 times within a month, a Metropass is still the better option.

Fourteen of the 69 TTC stations currently have Presto card readers. The next step is making Presto available on four streetcar routes and 11 more subway stations, a Presto update notes.

“I use a university discounted Metropass because I don’t go outside the city,” said Patrick Richard Garcia, an occupational and public health student at Ryerson. “If it had the ability to act as a Metropass without paying for each trip – I would switch.”

Also with tax season upon us, some students don’t realize they can claim their Presto expenses. All that’s needed is a Transit Usage Report which is available online with a registered Presto card.

GO infographic

With Ryerson being in the heart of downtown, most students use some form of public transportation. They either commute from out of town using GO, or use the TTC. For many, Presto has become a daily transaction. However, those same students may not know exactly how their discount works.
The discounts increase the more you use the card. For students, the first 30 rides on a GO train or bus are 17.25% of the adult fare. That is only 15 school days. After those first 30 trips, your discount increases to 90% off until you reach 41 trips, 21 school days, in which your fare becomes free. Of course, there is always a catch. The trips reset each calendar month. (Illustration Jamie Webster/ Info sourced from Metrolinx)

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