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Update — June 13, 10:32 a.m.: GO Transit has let us know that they’ve revised the schedule for activating PRESTO cards at Clarkson, Port Credit and Long Branch GO Stations.

They’re not quite ready to set up PRESTO agencies at the the three stations, so the schedule in this post is no longer in effect. We’ll update you further when GO announces new dates.

Update — June 8, 6:07 p.m.: Reader Stew Farago e-mailed us to identify the dancers as Shawn Byfield and Janaye Upshaw.

Two talented tap dancers star in a GO Transit video introducing GO passengers to the new PRESTO “smartcards” for paying transit fares. The dancers — whose names, unfortunately, we don’t know — remind passengers that tapping is the key to successfully using PRESTO.

Their message? Tap your card against the reader before you get on the train and again after you get off. Since GO calculates fares by distance, remembering to tap your card when you get off is especially important.

PRESTO also offers frequent travelers free trips after they use the cards a certain number of times each month.

Passengers could use the PRESTO cards just to pay fares at Bronte and Oakville GO Stations during a pilot project starting last November. Since May, however, GO and PRESTO have established formal agencies to help passengers complete several fare transactions.

GO has now announced when more stations become PRESTO “agencies”. At a PRESTO agency, you can

  • buy a PRESTO card,
  • “load” value onto your card,
  • check your balance and
  • make various other transactions.

Aldershot GO Station and the Hamilton GO Centre become PRESTO service agencies this Monday, June 7. Clarkson GO Station is an agency on Monday, June 14 and Port Credit GO Station is an agency on Monday, June 21. Finally, on Monday, June 28, Long Branch GO Station becomes an agency.

The Downtown Burlington Transit Terminal and Oakville GO Station became a PRESTO service agencies, on Monday, May 10. Bronte GO Station became an agency on Monday, May 17. Appleby GO Station became a PRESTO agency on Tuesday, May 25 and Burlington GO Station on Monday, May 31.

PRESTO is an easy-to-use fare card that lets you travel on and between several transit systems with a simple tap of the card. The Government of Ontario is developing the PRESTO fare system with eight municipal transit systems in the Greater Toronto Area, Hamilton and Ottawa areas, and GO Transit.

Oakville Transit and GO piloted PRESTO cards at Oakville and Bronte GO Stations, and on OT buses operating along the 22 Upper Glen Abbey, 32 Burloak North and 110 West Industrial North routes, starting Monday, November 30.

During the trial of the system, passengers could also use the cards at Union Station in Toronto and on TTC streetcars operating along two routes from Union Station: 509 Harbourfront and 510 Spadina.

Burlington Transit and Oakville Transit passengers were the first in the Greater Toronto Area to start using the PRESTO farecards to pay their fares on all buses, starting next Monday, May 10.

BT has installed PRESTO equipment on all its buses and, on Monday, adults — passengers older than 21 but younger than 65 and all university or college students — can start using PRESTO cards. Students younger than 19 years of age, children younger than 12 years old and seniors older than 65 will be able to use the cards this fall.

OT already had PRESTO card readers on some routes during a trial of the system. Starting May 10, adult passengers on all routes could use the cards. (Oakville Transit also considers you to be an “adult” if you’re older than 19 or younger than 65.)

GO is rolling out the system, station by station, along the 01 Lakeshore West train line throughout the spring and summer. And, it will also equip GO buses that serve the stations with PRESTO equipment as it outfits each station.

The TTC is installing PRESTO card readers at six subway stations: Bloor / Yonge, College, Dundas, Queen’s Park, St. George, St. Patrick also later this spring.

Later this summer, PRESTO technology will appear in two more TTC stations — Kipling and Islington — while GO will start using PRESTO along the 21 Milton and 31 Georgetown train lines and on GO buses that serve stations along those lines.

By fall, look for the cards on Brampton Transit, Hamilton Street Railway and Mississauga Transit buses and in GO buses and trains in the 09 Lakeshore East, 61 Richmond Hill and 65 Barrie corridors.

Early next year York Region Transit and Durham Region Transit will have their turn, while GO will finish “PRESTO-readying” its network of trains and buses by installing the system along the 71 Stouffville train line and any remaining bus routes.

GO has also produced a more serious, perhaps more informative video, explaining how the cards work. (It also explains the value of “buying” your card online).

A smartcard is any pocket-sized card with embedded integrated circuits which can process data.

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