By: Steven Chmielash

After hearing about all the delays and problems associated with the new Presto cards, I bet you were reluctant to get a card when OC Transpo decided to roll out 10,000 of them in January?

I couldn’t say the same thing.

I was actually eager to get the new Presto card. Why not? It’s the newest technology and whether it’s Metrolinx making the cards or not, electronic bus tickets and monthly passes are the wave of the future.

And while it’s been over a month since I’ve been using the card and while there have been some negatives, there have been more positives.

When OC Transpo distributed the cards at Baseline Station on Jan.22, I immediately went to get a card. It came as a surprise when I arrived and saw only a few people waiting to get it.

I was first told by an OC Transpo representative to register it online before using it. The registration process was easy. I went to the Presto card website, activated it and the rest was easy: registration completed.

It’s a paperless process. I’ve been using the card instead of bus tickets and monthly passes. It’s one card for everything, and I no longer have to go out of my way to buy tickets and monthly passes. I open my computer, sign-in to my account and refill the card.

I haven’t run into any problems so far.

Which bring me to the negatives. It takes a minimum of 24 hours for the card to be loaded with either the bus tickets or monthly pass. And then once it’s loaded, you have a seven day window to use it.

This caused much inconvenience as I forgot to load my Presto card on March 1. I scrambled to load the card with the March pass and hoped that it would work later day.

Unfortunately, it didn’t. I was forced to use the space bus tickets that I carry around in case of emergency.

In that case, it’s a pain that it takes a minimum of 24 hours for your card to be loaded especially if you forgot to do so beforehand. I could easily sign-up for the pre-authorized payments where Metrolinx deducts the monthly pass each month from my credit.

Personally though, I’m not a huge fan of that.

Despite these problems, it’s a long ride from plan to placement and the bumps along the way shouldn’t be the passenger’s final assessment.