Way back in 2007, the transit committee and council approved a staff recommendation to buy smart card technology for OC Transpo. That technology is now known as Presto.
There’s something curious in the minutes of the Nov. 26, 2007 transit committee meeting and it has to do with the budget increase approved by council.
There were questions at committee about why the city’s budget for the project was going from $15 million to $22 million (now it’s about $25 million, and that doesn’t include any of the extra costs attached to the Presto delay).
Here’s the response from Transpo staff to questions by Innes Coun. Rainer Bloess, according to the minutes:
The reason that the cost has gone from the $15 Million original estimate to the $22 Million now estimated is because although internal budgeting estimates originally amounted to approximately $15 million, there are also internal costs associated with the final system design, as well as some functionality differences and features that will incur additional costs, such as integrating Para Transpo
Staff also mentioned Para Transpo in an answer to budget questions posed by Kanata North Coun. Marianne Wilkinson.
Thing is, Para Transpo, to my knowledge, will not get Presto. I know Transpo has been working on a smart card solution for Para Transpo, but it won’t be Presto. Not now, anyway.
Here’s a bit from OC Transpo’s FAQ section on Presto:
Will Para Transpo adopt the new PRESTO system?
Para Transpo users will continue to use photo identification cards and paper monthly passes and tickets. OC Transpo is currently developing a new fare system for Para Transpo service that will provide additional convenience and flexibility to Para Transpo customers.
Tickets will continue to be available for customers until a practical alternative to tickets is implemented. Once a system has been developed for Para Transpo all of our Para Transpo clients will be contacted and provided with information about the new system.
In my May 14 sit-down with Transpo GM John Manconi, he said Presto won’t work on Para Transpo and at the time there was no firm reason why.
Council, then, would have signed off on the budget increase on Dec. 7, 2007 with the assumption Para Transpo was getting Presto.
But it’s not.