10,000 Presto transit cards to be released Friday

Some of Ottawa's public transit users will be able to pick up a Presto smart card Friday morning as OC Transpo's new payment system moves ahead after multiple delays.

OC Transpo will release 10,000 Presto cards this Friday in a partial rollout of the new, twice-delayed payment system for Ottawa's public transit.

Transit riders will have the chance to obtain the smart card online at 8 a.m. Friday or at the four OC Transpo sales and information centres.

The full rollout is expected in the next five months and 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.

Software bugs caused 2 delays

The terminals on buses had trouble reading the cards and there were some other unidentified software bugs.

The system works 99 per cent of the time, Metrolinx president and CEO, Bruce McCuaig said in November. But the system launch was delayed again.

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

The exact timetable of that full rollout remains unclear.

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

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.