- Buy a card for $
- Register your card
- Load money or a pass onto your card
- Keep your card loaded with Autoload or Autorenew
Use (or lend) your card to ride:
- OC Transpo buses and the O-Train
- Para Transpo (monthly passes only) or STO routes (transfers and passes only)
Buy your card
The PRESTO card costs $. You will also need to load any pass or at least $10 to your e-Purse. You can pay using a credit card, Interac Online TM or Pre-Authorized Debit Agreement.
Where to buy your card
Online at prestocard.ca or by phone at 1‑8‑PRESTO‑123 (1‑877‑378‑6123)
- It can take up to 7 days for your card to ship
- In person at an OC Transpo Customer Service Centre, or at one these select ServiceOttawa Client Service Centre locations: City Hall, Kanata or Ben Franklin
Register your card to protect your balance
As soon as you receive your card, you should register it at prestocard.ca or complete a paper PRESTO registration form and mail it to the PRESTO Customer Service Centre. Registration lets you:
- Transfer funds to a new card if your card is lost or stolen
- Take one ride in overdraft (25-cent charge + cost of the trip)
- Access your Transit Usage Report for tax credit purposes
Set your PRESTO card for a discount
Before you can take advantage of a fare discount (Senior, Child, Student or Community) for which you qualify, you need to bring your card and proof of eligibility [for a discount] to an OC Transpo Customer Service Centre. Once you have bought and setup your card, you’re ready to load it.
If your card is registered, you can transfer your balance to a new card if it gets lost or stolen:
- Report your card lost or stolen (can take up to 24 hours to be blocked on the readers – you are responsible for charges during this period)
Get a replacement card
- Do not register your new card, set a concession (a fare discount) or load a pass because this would prevent the transfer of your information
- Transfer your information by phone or online
Please note that until your new card is active and the transfer is complete, full fares must be paid using another valid payment method such as cash or tickets.
Loading your PRESTO card
Once your card is setup, you can add money to your e-Purse or load a pass.
Where to load your PRESTO card
- Online at prestocard.ca
- By phone at 1-8-PRESTO-123 (1-877-378-6123)
- In person at a OC Transpo Customer Service Centre, or at either the City Hall, Kanata or Ben Franklin ServiceOttawa Client Service Centre
Load money into your PRESTO e-Purse
You need to load at least $10 at a time. Your e-Purse cannot contain more than $1,000. Card readers on the bus are updated at least three times a day. Be sure to leave enough time for your online purchase to get activated on the buses. Once loaded, you need to tap onto a card reader within 30 days to complete the transaction.
Autoload your card
Make sure your e-Purse never runs out of money by setting up Autoload:
- Register your card
Set-up an Autoload contract at prestocard.ca
- Choose the balance at which you want to reload
- Choose the amount that will be loaded at each reload
- Activate your Autoload contract by tapping onto a reader within 30 days
Load a pass onto your PRESTO card
You can load a monthly pass onto your card up to 14 before the start of the month. Before you can ride with your pass, you need to activate it by tapping your card onto a PRESTO reader on or after the first day of the month. If you have not done so, your monthly pass is not valid and does not constitute paid fare.
Autorenew your pass
Make sure you always have a pass loaded to your account by setting up Autorenew. Your payments will go through six days before the start of the month. Simply cancel Autorenew before the 20th day of the month to stop the following month’s pass from loading. At the start of the month, you need to tap your card as part of a regular trip to activate the load onto your PRESTO card. Until you have done so, your monthly pass is not valid and does not constitute paid fare.
Use your card to ride
Using your card on OC Transpo buses and the O-Train
Once your card is loaded and ready to go, you can use it to pay for your travels. Whether it's pay per ride or monthly pass, always tap your card when boarding. The readers are located near the doors of buses and on the O-Train platform.
When you tap, PRESTO will instantly calculate the fare and deduct it from your account as needed.
- If the screen goes green, your fare was accepted
- If a red light goes on and you hear two beeps, the transaction did not go through. If this happens, pay the fare with cash or tickets and contact PRESTO.
If you ride without tapping (and your card isn't loaded with a valid pass or transfer), you may be fined.
Tapping every time also helps us better plan our service levels. We review the number of taps on our different routes and factor them in when we develop schedules.
Sharing your card
Lend your monthly pass
Unlike paper passes, you can share your monthly PRESTO pass with someone else, who can use it when you aren’t. However, if your card is set for a discount (Senior, Child, Student or Community), you can only lend it to someone else who qualifies.
Use your card to pay for a second fare
If you pay-per-ride aboard a bus, you can use your e-Purse balance to pay the fares of others you are traveling with. Here’s what to do:
- Board at the front of the bus
- Let your driver know that you would like to pay an additional fare — if you are travelling with a child or a senior (ID may be required), let the operator know to receive a fare discount
- Wait for your driver to hand you a Proof of Purchase (POP) transfer for your travel companion
Current system limitations only allow you to pay one fare at a time at the O-Train station using a PRESTO card. You can purchase a second person's fare from the vending machine using cash or a credit card.
When you tap to pay your fare, you will be given a 90-minute transfer window. The time remaining on your transfer and the route type will be stored on your card. Simply tap onto a reader to see how long you have to transfer to another route (including STO routes) without paying. If you are transfer from a regular route to an express premium route, you will need to pay a fare top-up.
Using PRESTO on Para Transpo
Para Transpo accepts PRESTO cards loaded with a monthly pass. As Para Transpo vehicles are not equipped with PRESTO readers, you will need to show proof of pass purchase (either an online confirmation, email receipt or in-person receipt) when you board. You cannot use your PRESTO e-Purse to pay for a Para Transpo trip. For this reason, Para Transpo cash fares have been lowered to line up with e-Purse fares.
Using PRESTO on STO routes
You can use your PRESTO pass and valid transfer to ride on all STO routes, without a fare top-up. Simply tap your card. You cannot use your e-Purse to start your trip on an STO route. If you’re boarding in Gatineau before 9 am, you have to use the OC Transpo Rider Card (issued by the STO to Ontario riders who provide proof of residency).
Do practically everything online at prestocard.ca
You can manage practically every aspect of your PRESTO account at prestocard.ca except setup your card for a discount (Child, Student, Senior or Community Pass), which needs to be done in person at an OC Transpo Customer Service Centre.
You can use the PRESTO website to:
- Order a New Card
- Load Your Card
- Register Your Card
If your card is registered, you can log onto prestocard.ca to:
Hotlist (block) your card
- It takes 24 hours after reporting your card lost or stolen for it to be blocked on the bus. Fares deducted from your e-Purse in that time period cannot be recovered.
- Transfer your balance to a new card if it is lost or stolen
- Set up Autoload or Auto Renew
- Pay cost of trip taken in overdraft
- Pay 25-cent overdraft fee
- Get your usage report for tax purposes
- Track your balance