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Presto! -- Ontario Government launches new "Smart Card" for transit users

Commuters on nine transit systems between Oshawa and Hamilton will soon be able replace tickets, transers and passes with the new Presto card.

The Presto card is the first regional fare card for public transit in Canada. It looks like a debit or gift card and can fit into a wallet or purse. Presto contains smart technology that can easily calculate and collect transit fares. You simply “load” the card with a dollar value and tap it onto a fare card reader in a transit station, on a bus or train to pay the fare. The card reader will deduct the value of the fare from the amount that you have loaded onto the card.

Beginning this July, the City of Mississauga will introduce Presto on a limited basis for regular GO Transit riders who start their trip at the Cooksville or Meadowvale stations and take Mississauga Transit shuttle routes, or transfer to Toronto Transit Commission vehicles outbound at Union Station.

The Greater Toronto Transportation Authority (GTTA) will assume responsibility for rolling out the Presto fare system across the region.

In late 2008, Burlington and Oakville commuters will be able to use the Presto fare card, including passengers on the GO Transit Lakeshore West line. By 2010, Brampton Transit, Burlington Transit, Durham Region Transit, GO Transit, the Hamilton Street Railway, Mississauga Transit, Oakville Transit and York Region Transit will have fully implemented Presto. The TTC will accept the Presto card at five subway stations — Don Mills, Downsview, Finch, Islington, and Union.

The Presto card will help create a seamless transit network, making it easier for people to take public transit. Presto complements MoveOntario 2020, the multi-year, $17.5 billion rapid transit action plan for the GTA and Hamilton, which the Ontario government also recently announced.

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