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PRESTO not-so-autoload annoyance

June 11, 2015 @ 13:10 By: gordon Category: General

My physiotherapist moved a while back from being within walking distance to a bit farther away that has terrible parking options, so lately, I’ve been taking the bus once or twice a week. I acquired a PRESTO card a few months ago because I rarely have bus tickets and I don’t tend to have a pocket full o’ coins most days.

I checked the PRESTO website to confirm my balance and found it’s sitting at -$2. Odd, I thought, because I have an autoload set up to load $20 whenever it drops below $5. The website even said the autoload was active:

Based on that, I concluded that everything was set up properly and that the problem of my card not auto-loading was on their end. When I called the PRESTO customer service number, the person I eventually reached told me that the autoload was expired, even though the website said it was active. Apparently, I didn’t tap my card within 30 days of setting up the autoload, even though I’m reasonably certain I did. I can’t confirm this with 100% certainty because you can only pull up transactions from the last three months and this would have been sometime in November or early-December.

So, the customer service person resent the autoload confirmation so it’ll be added to my PRESTO card the next time I tap it. But, because the card has a negative balance, it won’t automatically load money to the card until after the balance is brought above $0. And loading money onto a card can take up to 24 hours, so even though I loaded money today, it’s highly unlikely that it’ll be there when I tap my card to go to my physio appointment this afternoon. Fortunately, I think I have some bus tickets in my wallet. (Hopefully they haven’t expired, too!)

There is no obvious way I could tell from the website that the autoload had expired. PRESTO/Metrolinx needs to update their website so that it clearly indicates when an autoload contract hasn’t been completed within the time limit. Other autoloading things I use let you know right away when there’s a problem and there’s no excuse for the PRESTO card website not to do the same. 

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