A partial rollout of the Presto electronic card system is now planned for January but a full rollout for OC Transpo is not expected until later in the year, the city's transit commission heard today.

The original summer launch of the electronic smart card had been put on hold until February as the company behind the card, Accenture, and the provincial agency that administers the system, Metrolinx, worked to fix glitches.

It all started in the summer when there were issues with getting the terminals on buses to read the cards, as well as other software bugs.

Now the system works 99 per cent of the time, according to Metrolinx president and CEO, Bruce McCuaig. But there is another three-month delay in the full launch, transit commissioner Diane Deans announced Wednesday.

Presto plan was 'ambitious,' Metrolinx CEO says

McCuaig said the original timeline for the Presto smart card was "ambitious."

"In retrospect, we believe a better choice would have been to go with a phased approach," he said.

The plan now is to roll out 10,000 Presto cards in January and report back April 17 to discuss a "risk-managed deployment plan" for the full program.

The exact timetable of that full rollout remains unclear.

Final deadline in June

If Presto isn't working by June 1, 2013, the city does have the option to cancel the deal with Metrolinx, but Metrolinx representatives said this was a "very remote likelihood."

Nevertheless, some members of the city's transit commission have grown impatient.

"I'm not sure ... whether I'm more sceptical or more confused, but I'm definitely both," said Coun. Keith Egli.

The city can still back out of the Presto deal in April and receive a full refund.

For now, Metrolinx has agreed to change the total cost of the program from $3 million to $2.3 million to cover the costs for the delays.