Staff Looking to Expand Presto Availability in Hamilton

HSR 1013 in a Presto full wrap

The PRESTO card pilot at Fortinos is a success.

Back in September of 2014 Hamilton city council approved the implementation of a third party PRESTO vendor network, which began across all Fortinos locations in Hamilton in November of last year. The pilot equipped the Loblaws stores with equipment and training so that customer service staff could sell, load, and reload PRESTO cards to transit users. This third party network more than tripled the available locations to load the smart card and expanded availability to all corners of Hamilton.

Part of the pilot included 5,000 preloaded cards which waved the initial fee to purchase the smart fare card.

“The 5,000 preloaded cards prepared for Fortinos were essentially sold out by the end of April 2015,” read one line in the report. “Since then we have supplied Fortinos with 1,350 of blank card stock.”

The total PRESTO loads and card sales at Fortinos locations during the pilot period amounts to approximately $500,000.

With the agreement between the city and Fortinos set to expire at the end of July earlier in the year, the pilot was extended until the end of the year. Staff is now looking to extend the pilot once again and enter into an agreement with Loblaws Inc. on an ongoing basis for a period of one year beginning January 1, 2016 with the option to renew for three additional one-year periods for Fortinos locations throughout the City of Hamilton.

Since the start of the pilot, total rides utilizing PRESTO have increased 2%, now at 16% from 14%.

Now staff are looking to expand the availability of PRESTO smartcards within the city of Hamilton and add up to 25 new vendors to the network. These locations would be selected through a request for proposal process, with a request for information initiated first in order to survey the market place.

Capital costs for setting up these additional vendors would be a cost to the city with each site costing approximately $4,200 each.

The report will be brought before the Public Works Committee on Monday, October 19th. The meeting starts at 9:30am.

Disclosure: I use the PRESTO card and load nearly 50% of the time at a Fortinos location. It is just as easy as loading at the Hamilton GO Centre.