Thursday, July 22, 2010

Open Payment, Part II

Mr. Giambrone's Facebook posts and tweets today make it quite clear to me that this has become a debate about municipal governance:
Presto was state of the art when it was first proposed seven years ago but is already obsolete. Adopting Presto because it already exists would just be throwing good money after bad. Mayoral candidates need to decide if they will stand up for Toronto or if they just want to impose the Province's will on the City.
If we're going to have the debate about municipal governance and municipal autonomy then let us have it. But, let's be open about the fact that this has ceased to be about Presto vs Open Payment.

The Councillor also said:
The McGuinty government has signed a $250 million contract with Accenture for the Presto card and the public does not know what is in it. The TTC has to spend its money very carefully and cannot enter into expensive contracts without a very clear understanding of it.
To this I respond, for the third time, will the agreement with the open payment firm be opened to public scrutiny to the public?

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Open Payment

According to Adam Giambrone's Facebook profile:
With all the talk about Presto today, remember that the TTC will have a signed binding deal for Open Payments (credit card and debit payment at the turnstile) this fall with implementation starting Jan. 2010. We have not said no to Presto, but Presto will take longer and be slower than "Open Payments"
I have been a huge supporter of the PRESTO fare card pretty much since day 1, and the benefits of the way its being implemented are many:
  • Virtual monthly passes (where the rider pays for each ride until the reach a monthly cap) allow those who can't afford a monthly pass in a lump sum to still get the discounts because the PRESTO balance can be loaded as needed.
  • Virtual monthly passes let riders pay for what they use, so they aren't left with a monthly pass that hasn't been used to its full potential, nor are they left regretting buying a monthly pass because they underestimated their use.
  • PRESTO will work for all transit agencies in the GTHA, and is the vehicle through which future fare reform can take place.
  • For Brampton residents, PRESTO will end the confusion at two ends of the city. Going northbound from the courthouse, Mississauga Transit buses come most frequently and offer free transfers to Brampton Transit - but Brampton tickets and passes aren't valid even though you're boarding in Brampton. With PRESTO, it won't matter - you'll get the discount of having a pass regardless of the system. Out in the west end, Route 77 is shared between Brampton Transit and YRT, and it has never been clear to anyone which tickets are valid under what circumstance. Under PRESTO, it won't matter - you'll get the discount of having a pass regardless of the system.
Now, back to Mr. Giambrone's Facebook post. I support, in principle, any effort to improve public transit in the GTHA. So, let's take a look at open payment.
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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Presto problems?

With the rollout of Presto on the Lakeshore Line and the downtown subway stations almost complete, I'm wondering how people are finding the system. My first card was defective and wouldn't register, but I got a replacement card and haven't had a problem since. The system does have some quirks and limitations right now, and some (especially those on Urban Toronto) feel that this amount to a failed launch. I disagree, but I really want to know how people are finding it.

Please comment.

For more information on Presto check out their website or my Metronauts post from a while back.

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Daily commute to Toronto forced me to move -

This article appeared on this past week, and it's worth reproducing in its entirety. Of course, some of the commenters on the article argue that the author will feel differently once he is older, has a full time job and a family, but I disagree. It might be a desire to party, a desire to enjoy your hobby or a desire to spend more time with your family - long commutes are no way to live because they take time away from living your life.

Going forward, all municipalities have to encourage live-work-play developments and move away from just being bedroom communities. They also have to invest in all-day, bi-directional transit service to reduce congestion and make their neighbourhoods more accessible and attractive. If they don't, there is a real risk of a mass exodus when the price of oil rapidly forces people to look for alternatives to their cars.

Article after the jump.

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