Smart Cards on the horizon for HSR

News Nov 05, 2009 Ancaster News

How about walking onto a bus, or train and simply flashing a

card to get on board?

What about going to a Canada Post office, or a Metro grocery

store, or even using your phone, to load up your smart card as you do a gift

card? And for good measure, the card contains flexible travel plans, a loyalty

program, and possibly value-added deals?

The elimination of bus tickets, transfers and cash bus fares

may seem like a science fiction movie, but Hamilton is scheduled to introduce

the new Presto transit card program by next September that will introduce

e-commerce to the city’s Hamilton Street Railway system.

The PRESTO smart card, which was first introduced in a 2007

pilot project in Mississauga, is expected to expand to include the Greater

Toronto Area and Hamilton by 2011. In November 2009 the smart card technology will

be introduced in Oakville, Union and Bronte rail stations, with Hamilton,

Barrie, Lakeshore East, Richmond Hill, and the Go Bus services preparing for

the launch in September 2010, said Nick Houston, project manager for the PRESTO

Implementation program in Hamilton.

The idea is you could use the card on a bus in Hamilton, and

continue to use it on all the transit systems across the Greater Toronto Area.

Smart card technology has been in wide use for years in

Europe. Montreal introduced in 2002 its Opus card for transit users to

wide-spread acceptance.

The smart card has received rave reviews from Toronto customers,

but for the last few years the program, managed by the province through Go

Transit, the technology has been an obstacle. There has been some trouble

installing the card readers in buses and trains. And there is the issue of

operating costs. The smart card capital program will be paid through the city’s

$11 million gas tax revenue it receives from the provincial government. But the

annual operating costs the individual municipalities will have to bear, said

Mr. Houston. He did not know how much Hamilton’s operating costs will be.

The card, similar in size to a gift or debit card, contains

a computer chip that communicates with a card reader installed on buses and

trains that is suppose to calculate the lowest fare for your trip, deducts the

amount automatically from the balance that is stored on it. The card will

eliminate tickets, passes, and cash.

“It takes it out of the operator’s hands,” he said.

If a card is lost or stolen, the person can register for a

replacement card, said Mr. Houston.

The card will allow a flexible payment process, through the

internet, phone, or automatically, so that a person can load up to $1,000 on

the card.

“There can be flexible travel plans, flexible payment

plans,” said Mr. Houston.

He said Hamilton is fielding proposals from potential

third-party agents, including Canada Post, which he said has “forward a very

interesting proposal.”

Mr. Houston cautioned introducing the card system will be

carefully phase-in for the public.

He said the city will hold information meetings early next

year, but location and times have not been established. Mr. Houston said he

wanted to wait until after this year’s bus fare discussions have been completed

before moving forward with the meetings.

 

   

Smart Cards on the horizon for HSR

News Nov 05, 2009 Ancaster News

How about walking onto a bus, or train and simply flashing a

card to get on board?

What about going to a Canada Post office, or a Metro grocery

store, or even using your phone, to load up your smart card as you do a gift

card? And for good measure, the card contains flexible travel plans, a loyalty

program, and possibly value-added deals?

The elimination of bus tickets, transfers and cash bus fares

may seem like a science fiction movie, but Hamilton is scheduled to introduce

the new Presto transit card program by next September that will introduce

e-commerce to the city’s Hamilton Street Railway system.

The PRESTO smart card, which was first introduced in a 2007

pilot project in Mississauga, is expected to expand to include the Greater

Toronto Area and Hamilton by 2011. In November 2009 the smart card technology will

be introduced in Oakville, Union and Bronte rail stations, with Hamilton,

Barrie, Lakeshore East, Richmond Hill, and the Go Bus services preparing for

the launch in September 2010, said Nick Houston, project manager for the PRESTO

Implementation program in Hamilton.

The idea is you could use the card on a bus in Hamilton, and

continue to use it on all the transit systems across the Greater Toronto Area.

Smart card technology has been in wide use for years in

Europe. Montreal introduced in 2002 its Opus card for transit users to

wide-spread acceptance.

The smart card has received rave reviews from Toronto customers,

but for the last few years the program, managed by the province through Go

Transit, the technology has been an obstacle. There has been some trouble

installing the card readers in buses and trains. And there is the issue of

operating costs. The smart card capital program will be paid through the city’s

$11 million gas tax revenue it receives from the provincial government. But the

annual operating costs the individual municipalities will have to bear, said

Mr. Houston. He did not know how much Hamilton’s operating costs will be.

The card, similar in size to a gift or debit card, contains

a computer chip that communicates with a card reader installed on buses and

trains that is suppose to calculate the lowest fare for your trip, deducts the

amount automatically from the balance that is stored on it. The card will

eliminate tickets, passes, and cash.

“It takes it out of the operator’s hands,” he said.

If a card is lost or stolen, the person can register for a

replacement card, said Mr. Houston.

The card will allow a flexible payment process, through the

internet, phone, or automatically, so that a person can load up to $1,000 on

the card.

“There can be flexible travel plans, flexible payment

plans,” said Mr. Houston.

He said Hamilton is fielding proposals from potential

third-party agents, including Canada Post, which he said has “forward a very

interesting proposal.”

Mr. Houston cautioned introducing the card system will be

carefully phase-in for the public.

He said the city will hold information meetings early next

year, but location and times have not been established. Mr. Houston said he

wanted to wait until after this year’s bus fare discussions have been completed

before moving forward with the meetings.

 

   

Smart Cards on the horizon for HSR

News Nov 05, 2009 Ancaster News

How about walking onto a bus, or train and simply flashing a

card to get on board?

What about going to a Canada Post office, or a Metro grocery

store, or even using your phone, to load up your smart card as you do a gift

card? And for good measure, the card contains flexible travel plans, a loyalty

program, and possibly value-added deals?

The elimination of bus tickets, transfers and cash bus fares

may seem like a science fiction movie, but Hamilton is scheduled to introduce

the new Presto transit card program by next September that will introduce

e-commerce to the city’s Hamilton Street Railway system.

The PRESTO smart card, which was first introduced in a 2007

pilot project in Mississauga, is expected to expand to include the Greater

Toronto Area and Hamilton by 2011. In November 2009 the smart card technology will

be introduced in Oakville, Union and Bronte rail stations, with Hamilton,

Barrie, Lakeshore East, Richmond Hill, and the Go Bus services preparing for

the launch in September 2010, said Nick Houston, project manager for the PRESTO

Implementation program in Hamilton.

The idea is you could use the card on a bus in Hamilton, and

continue to use it on all the transit systems across the Greater Toronto Area.

Smart card technology has been in wide use for years in

Europe. Montreal introduced in 2002 its Opus card for transit users to

wide-spread acceptance.

The smart card has received rave reviews from Toronto customers,

but for the last few years the program, managed by the province through Go

Transit, the technology has been an obstacle. There has been some trouble

installing the card readers in buses and trains. And there is the issue of

operating costs. The smart card capital program will be paid through the city’s

$11 million gas tax revenue it receives from the provincial government. But the

annual operating costs the individual municipalities will have to bear, said

Mr. Houston. He did not know how much Hamilton’s operating costs will be.

The card, similar in size to a gift or debit card, contains

a computer chip that communicates with a card reader installed on buses and

trains that is suppose to calculate the lowest fare for your trip, deducts the

amount automatically from the balance that is stored on it. The card will

eliminate tickets, passes, and cash.

“It takes it out of the operator’s hands,” he said.

If a card is lost or stolen, the person can register for a

replacement card, said Mr. Houston.

The card will allow a flexible payment process, through the

internet, phone, or automatically, so that a person can load up to $1,000 on

the card.

“There can be flexible travel plans, flexible payment

plans,” said Mr. Houston.

He said Hamilton is fielding proposals from potential

third-party agents, including Canada Post, which he said has “forward a very

interesting proposal.”

Mr. Houston cautioned introducing the card system will be

carefully phase-in for the public.

He said the city will hold information meetings early next

year, but location and times have not been established. Mr. Houston said he

wanted to wait until after this year’s bus fare discussions have been completed

before moving forward with the meetings.