OC Transpo smart card to raise ticket, cash fares

Proposed changes to OC Transpo fares effective July 1 would spark the introduction of the PRESTO smart card, eliminate the Ecopass and see ticket and cash fares rise.

Normal adult fare up 15 per cent if using paper tickets, OC Transpo proposes starting July 1

Changes in prices meant to encourage use of new smartcard. 2:03

Bus passengers in Ottawa are about to see a new way of paying their fares, which could be cheaper for some and more costly for others.

New ($)Now ($)Change (%)
Regular Pass96.2594.002.4
Express Pass119.00116.002.6
Rural Express Pass119.00145.00-17.9
Senior Pass39.0037.005.4
PRESTO (smart card)2.652.601.9

OC Transpo plans to introduce its new PRESTO smart card system July 1 where riders can reload a card to pay their fare instead of using a pass, ticket or cash. The system can exist on a pay-per-month basis or pay-as-you-go.

The move would make a normal adult trip $3.30 using cash and $3.00 using a ticket, but just $2.60 if someone has a smart card.

The move towards a smart card system also proposes the card replaces the Ecopass. Para Transpo riders would have to continue using their bus pass because smart cards are not set up for that service.

The big savings are expected to come for those who use the rural express routes as OC Transpo wants to make that bus pass and daily fare the same amount as the normal express service.

The PRESTO smart card, which could be topped up at a machine or online, was part of OC Transpo's business plan revealed in January. It is expected to be interchangeable with cards in cities such as Toronto and Hamilton so people can use them when they travel.

Proposed changes would also mark the elimination of free bus service for seniors on Monday and Friday. The discount would remain on Wednesdays.

OC Transpo's report, which will go to the transit commission Apr. 23, also said at the end of 2012 they would discuss ceasing operation of the paper bus ticket.