Presto card launch delayed, next deadline in April
A full rollout of OC Transpo’s troubled Presto payment system is being delayed again.
Provincial transit ageny Metrolinx said the target of February for a complete smart card launch won’t happen, with months of delays likely.
The city's transit committee said Wednesday morning they'll decide whether or not to go for a full launch in an April 17 meeting.
"I think somebody doesn't know what they're doing," said one OC Transpo rider. "This was generated through Toronto and I don't think Ottawa thought it through."
Metrolinx said they will reimburse the city $4 million to $7 million for the delay, plus a $3 million rebate.
"The other option would be to walk away," said OC Transpo general manager John Manconi, who said in June he would be "looking for plan B" if Presto wasn't ready by now.
The city will get all of its $25 million investment back if the system isn't ready by June 1, according to transit committee chair Diane Deans.
Delays now approaching a year
The Presto smartcard payment system was originally supposed to launch July 1.
However, widespread technical glitches with the pilot testing program caused that launch to be delayed.
The system seems to be working with a 98 per cent success rate, but Metrolinx said they need a staggered rollout to make sure it's working properly.
"We wish we didn't have those issues, of course," said Bruce McCuaig, CEO of Metrolinx. "But I think we are on the right course and right now the system is fully functional."
"This has happened in the past with private companies where they overcommit, they bite off way more than they can chew," said Ottawa councillor Tim Tierney, speaking about the fact it's a government agency.
"Typically if it was a private company they'd go under receivership, they'd close their doors and that would be the end of it."
Among the latest problems is monthly passes not being recognized by the bright green readers mounted at each bus entrance.
Another 10,000 cards will be issued for testing in January, on top of the 2,000 already being tested.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's John Hua