OC Transpo fare hike gets final approval

City council decided to agree with the transit commission and approve some fare hikes and a move towards the Presto smart card beginning in July.

Despite more questions from councillors regarding the new Presto smart cards, a new OC Transpo fare hike got the final stamp of approval from city council.

New ($) Now ($) Change (%)
Regular Pass 96.25 94.00 2.4
Express Pass 119.00 116.00 2.6
Rural Express Pass 119.00 145.00 -17.9
Senior Pass 39.00 37.00 5.4
Ticket 3.00 2.60 15.4
Cash 3.30 3.25 1.5
PRESTO (smart card) 2.65 2.60 1.9

OC Transpo plans to introduce the 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 switch to the card technology will cost about $32 million, staff said, with the province kicking in about $9 million.

Councillors also agreed public transit users in Ottawa will still be able to use their bus tickets in 2013 after the PRESTO smart card is introduced.

While the cost of a smart card is projected to be cheaper than that of a bus pass, there will be a higher cost of riding on OC Transpo buses with a ticket or cash.

OC Transpo, making a push to get Ottawa commuters to make the switch, will be launching a marketing campaign in shopping centres, libraries and public buildings to encourage people to make the switch.

Customers will be able to purchase the cards online, at OC Transpo kiosks or at kiosks at city hall and the St. Laurent and Bayshore shopping centres starting June 10. The card itself costs $6, but OC Transpo will waive the fee for the first 200,000 people to buy them.