Presto card partial rollout leads to some confusion
Customers ordered some 10,000 Presto tap-and-go transit smart cards on Friday, but the city said it plans to make an extra 2,000 available at two transit stations next week to meet high demand.
Confusion, however, reigned on Friday after early issues with the website led to many customers complaining they were unable to get their cards online. Conflicting messages from officials involved in the rollout also made it unclear whether the cards were still available online.
OC Transpo had said it would hand out 10,000 smart cards Friday.
Shortly before 1 p.m. OC Transpo head John Manconi issued an update to city councillors saying a technical glitch prevented the loading of some passes for customers with certain browsers, but said it was fixed within 20 minutes.
Would-be customer Matthew Dever said he tried six different times and waited about 30 minutes before the order went through.
"I'd expected they have practised the rollout, that it wouldn't crash with only 10,000 cards," said Dever.
"Imagine what's going to happen when the 100,000 cards or more are being issued."
Manconi also said an OC Transpo's sales centre goal of selling 5,000 cards online had been reached.
"As a result, cards will no longer be available online during the NEXT-ON distribution period of January 18 to February 1, 2013," Manconi wrote in an email.
But roughly two hours later, OC Transpo technology manager Robert Delage called the CBC's Alistair Steele this afternoon to say it was still possible to get Presto cards online.
Transit commision chair Diane Deans later told CBC's Cory O'Kelly the 10,000-card goal had been reached, but that an additional 2,000 would be available at two in-person sites: one at Baseline Station on Tuesday and at the Fallowfield Station Park and Ride on Thursday.
Presto to report back in April
City officials have set a June 1 deadline for Presto to be fully working. The city has the option to cancel the deal with Metrolinx – the provincial agency that administers the Presto system – if it’s not up and running by then.
Metrolinx will report back April 17 to discuss a "risk-managed deployment plan" for the full program.
The original summer 2012 launch of the electronic smart card was put on hold until February 2013 as Metrolinx, and the company behind the card, Accenture, worked to fix glitches.
Metrolinx has already agreed to change the total cost of the program from $3 million to $2.3 million to cover the costs for the delays.