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I used to purchase sheets of OC Transpo bus tickets to help my offspring get around town if they didn’t have a loaded or valid bus pass.

I would also carry extras with me as a backup plan if my PrestoCard balance ran out or to help out if a bus buddy forgot their pass.

Soon that will no longer be an option.

OCTranspoTicketsGoodUntilApril302018 - Edited (1)

Ottawa’s public transportation service will not accept paper tickets after April 30th. Commuters will have to have a Presto Card handy and loaded or carry $3.50 in exact change.

Coins350BusFareApr2018 - Edited

So, you could offer to pay for a fellow OC Transpo commuter who has forgotten their pass or doesn’t have the $3.50. You could offer them your backup stash of coin or indicate to the driver you wish to pay for another’s fare with your PrestoCard.

Presto Card pic from Prestocard.ca site

Presto Card pic from Prestocard.ca site https://www.prestocard.ca/en/

The latter will cost you 5 cents less but require social interaction with two people instead of one and delay others getting on the bus…

I suppose I will use the PrestoCard payment method for a friend instead of offering cash. It’s a matter of me remembering to load enough on my card.  

On a related note, I wish PrestoCard would send an email or text to notify you when your balance gets to a day’s value or less. 

Gone are the days of the paper passes 😦 and Federal tax credits for using public transportation.

I find this ticket-less system counter-productive and risky:

  1. Low income riders have to jump through hoops to prove their financial status in order to qualify for a Community Discount pass.
  2. Social service agencies can no longer provide bus tickets to their clients so they can get to appointments or related events.
  3. Buses may be carrying more coin as alternate payment rather than paper tickets. This could make for theft opportunities or cause more fuel usage due to extra weight.


Are you an Ottawa public transportation user? How are you adapting to these changes? What’s your opinion on this new system plus the city’s attempt to prepare commuters for the late and over-budget Light Rail Transit system?