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Blast from the pass

Image - Blast from the pass

OC Transpo Adult TransPass 00001 issued in January 2000. 

Is it embarrassing to get excited about a transit pass?  

No, we didn’t think so either.  

A customer recently turned in a very special transit pass from the year 2000.  

Not only was it from the first month of the year, but it was the very first pass issued of the millennium!   

That’s right – transit pass 0001. 

Our jaws dropped when seeing the excellent condition of this historic pass. We immediately added it to our archives.  

This made us wonder, what other vintage transit passes do we have kicking around? 

OC Transpo transit passes from the 1970s to present  

Our archive of old transit artifacts did not disappoint.

Check out the gallery of transit passes below to take a trip down memory lane.

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The Tele Transpo pass was introduced by the Ottawa-Carleton Regional Transit Commission in the 1970s. It provided on-demand service to smaller communities where a regular bus route had not yet been established. The service continued until 1983.
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Pope John Paul II visited Ottawa in September 1984. He was so popular that OC Transpo rolled out the “Papal Pass” for his day in Ottawa.
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A 1979 OC Transpo Unipass with a funky Western font.
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An OC Transpo Unipass from 1981.
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An OC Transpo Senior Citizen pass from 1983.
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The Visipass could be used on any route after 8:30 AM. It could be purchased at hotels across Ottawa. Customers would scratch their travel date.
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An OC Transpo ENVIRO pass from 1992.
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A 1993 Student Unipass.
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A 2010 Student Express pass.
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A 2015 OC Transpo Adult Express pass

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Evolution of transit pass design

Transit passes have evolved over the years to take many different shapes and forms. While some of the more creative features were often guided by colour and font trends, there are many other considerations that go into designing a pass. These include:

  • Changes to branding
  • Protecting against fraud and counterfeiting
  • Making it easy for bus operators to inspect
  • Changes in fare policy
  • New passes created for new types of customers
  • Technological improvements to allow for tapping

What’s next for transit payment and passes?

From paper to Presto, OC Transpo’s passes have changed over the years. We’re continuing to introduce new and more convenient ways to pay.

At Line 1 stations, you can tap to pay with your credit card and smartphone mobile wallet at specially marked white fare gates. We have also started to replace fare readers on our bus fleet to prepare for offering payment by credit card and mobile wallet. Read more about how we’re upgrading our fare readers.

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