Peter VS Presto

It’s been an interesting week for me, as I have been having problems with my “Presto Card”. For years I have purchased a monthly transit pass. I appreciated the economy and convenience and the utility which my monthly pass offered. I proudly carried it in my left back pocket for ease of access. However, as transit in the Greater Toronto Area began to change in scope, the”powers that be” announced the advent of the “Presto Card” program, and they began phasing out tickets, tokens, transfers and passes, inter alia.

I kept my faithful monthly pass until December 2018, when the program was terminated by “Metrolinx” a). For January 2019 I had to pay an additional $6.00 to buy  the “Presto Card”, over and above my actual monthly fare purchase. (Albeit the $6.00 charge was theoretically a “one time thing”.) Every month following, I would “reload” my card. The card could be “reloaded” at a certain chain of pharmacies or any TTC station. Sounds simple, eh?

So I stuck the new acquisition in my left rear pocket and out the door I went. As I’ve been racing around the city, from my place to Lois’ to hospitals to doctor’s appointments, it has received quite the workout. However last Saturday it didn’t register on the fare machine when I entered the bus. It was determined that the card was broken, so I had to call “Presto”. (I have had to call “Presto” several times since.) One of their “teleservice sadists” told me to go to their website, from whence I could transfer the balance for July from my old card to my new card.

The website is, of course, slow. You need a “password”. ( There are no guidelines as what constitutes an acceptable “password”, you just flounder around until you get lucky.) You have to select 3 vague verification questions. At the end of all this, it asks if you want your password to be remembered! Very frustrating.

It cost me $6.00 for a new card and they told me that I had to “load” the card with money so it could be “registered”. I explained on the phone that I am simply replacing a monthly pass and saw no reason why I had to put money on the card, as I’ve already paid for the month. I got no satisfactory answer to that, but in the event, had to put ten bucks on the card before it could be “registered”.

So I transferred my July balance from the old card to the new card. I was told by an “operator” that it could take 24-48 hours for my new card to be updated with the correct balance. Until it does, I will have to throw myself on the mercy of TTC employees. Most accept my explanation at face value and wave me through the gates.

One didn’t, on Saturday night. I had bought a new card but not put any money on it. I explained the situation and he said that he didn’t know whether I bought a monthly pass or no. He lectured me, saying that he couldn’t just “…wave people onto the subway, everyone has to pay their share…” I thought “I was buying monthly passes when you were learning to use a knife and fork!” He added that if it had been one of the older passes, he could have told at a glance. I said that I had used them for over 20 years, until THEY made me stop!

Of course lately, when cataclysm rides the Main Street of the frontier town of my fortune at High Noon, it is never a singleton. Suddenly I realized I needed a washroom. One of the shames of the TTC is that while there are around 70 stations, only about 10 have washrooms. So I hied to the closest public facility, getting drenched in the torrential downpour on both legs of that journey, swam back to the station, tossed in my $3.25 and went to see Lois.

Fingers crossed that the transfer goes through, I logged on to the “Presto” site about an hour ago and can’t get signed in. “Time will tell”, I guess. Wish me luck. As a bonus, I offer this slogan for “Presto” “Don’t Presto….unless you have a lot of changeo…” (You’re welcome.)


Johann Sebastian Bach is my favourite classical composer, with Beethoven and Mozart not far behind. Bach’s “Double Violin Concerto in D Minor” is a beautiful piece of music. This video came up on my Memories from a year ago. The young girl would now be about 7 years old. She certainly does not look (or sound) out of place here. She is obviously very talented and has a great future ahead of her. Frankly, I can’t play this piece that well on my CD player!

I am going to finish off this week with the spotlight on another blog. I have known Gary Kent for years, we “met” on Brett Green’s excellent “Hyperscale” plastic modelling discussion site. As well as being an accomplished plastic modeller, Gary is a fine musician and a damned nice guy. His blog, “The Blob” is a chronicle of the past week in Berkshire, England. He has a way with words that makes the mundane interesting. When he writes of finally getting up the enthusiasm to work on a car repair, only to run out of paint halfway through the job, you feel his frustration when he realizes that he will have to wait 12 hours for the particular shop he requires to open. Likewise, when the local bore corners him at the local, (you know, one of those people who has nothing to say and all the time in the world to say it!), you feel sympathy when you see that Gary has neither a plausible nor a polite way to gracefully exeunt the situation. Highly recommended reading. You can find links to Gary’s blog HERE.

See you soon

  1. a) The umbrella transit authority.

4 Responses to “Peter VS Presto”

  1. Marlene Says:

    Bach is also one of my favourite composers. The little girl in the video reminds me of Em playing at that age with an adult symphony.

  2. Balsac Forskinsky Says:

    Put the Presto card in your wallet with your money. On the website, set it to automatically reload every month. I love my presto card. I did not have a monthly pass and tokens were cumbersome. Now, when the balance goes below ten dollars, it tops it up to 50 and bills my visa acct. Sorry to hear of your issues. I have had none hat so ever

    • Peter Montreuil Says:

      I am happy to hear of your good experience with Presto. I started using the TTC when cash, tickets or tokens were the only payment options. When passes came into being, I used them for the reasons mentioned in my column. My point is that I used passes problem free for well over 20 years, until I was forced to enroll in the Presto plan. I was not given any special instructions on the care and feeding of my Presto card, and since it broke, a week ago today, I have phoned Presto 7 times. I get told one thing one call and a different thing the next. I need to use the TTC on a daily basis, several times a day as my girlfriend is very ill, and I have all the stress I can handle right now. I am unsure as to why one can transfer money into a completely different bank half way around the world in the blink of an eye electronically while it takes them 4 days (and counting) to transfer my funds in the same database electronically. It’s very frustrating and I feel that it’s quite unnecessary.

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