News Centre

News Releases

PRESTO ADOPTION: removal of paper media from circulation

Hamilton, ON – Earlier today, Hamilton City Council approved the removal of paper media (HSR paper Bus tickets and monthly passes) from circulation. The PRESTO fare card system was approved by Council and implemented with the intent of replacing legacy paper tickets and paper monthly pass products.

As part of the approved operating agreement with Metrolinx, the City of Hamilton is required to pay a 9% commission on 80% of its Transit revenues one year after the installation of new equipment, regardless of what media is used to earn the revenue.  The deployment schedule provided by PRESTO targets a full equipment installation by the end of September 2020.

As of February 2020, 58% of HSR Customers are using a PRESTO card as their preferred method of payment. To move the remaining customers to PRESTO to achieve the adoption rate prescribed in the agreement by September 2021, a strategy for legacy paper media removal has been developed. 


  • HSR will discontinue the paper monthly passes on October 31, 2020. Starting November 1, 2020, passes will be available only on a PRESTO card. 
  • Paper tickets will stop being sold on October 31, 2020. After that time tickets will only be available on a PRESTO card. 
  • HSR will continue to accept paper tickets already purchased until December 31, 2020.
  • Residents who are 80 years and older will receive a one-time free PRESTO Card when they obtain their Golden Age pass for unlimited free transit in Hamilton.
  • A special purpose ticket will be created for social agencies and school boards that utilize paper tickets to support their clients; and available at the Customer Service Office at 36 Hunter Street East. Customers may also purchase up to two (2) special purpose tickets at a time at the Customer Service Office They will remain available until PRESTO has released suitable functionality that meets their needs.
  • Staff are currently working with PRESTO to rollout equipment to vehicles utilized by DARTS.  More information will become available as the project progresses.
  • FAQs about PRESTO Cards

Historical background

  • At its January 24, 2018 meeting, Council approved the new PRESTO operating agreement with Metrolinx (PW17033a).
  • In early 2018, Metrolinx completed the rollout of PRESTO devices to over 400 Shoppers Drug Mart locations; 30 locations are in Hamilton along with 9 Fortinos locations. This agreement provides the much-needed locations for our customers to purchase and reload their cards.
  • As of June 2018, PRESTO released functionality to allow the roll out of PRESTO for the U-pass programs at Universities and Colleges. McMaster and Redeemer have been operational since September 2018 and Mohawk since May 2019.
  • Since the summer of 2018, self-service devices have been available at all GO Transit terminals, including Hamilton GO Centre, McMaster University and West Harbour.
  • In January 2019 PRESTO launched an App which allows the card holder to perform most of the functions available on the Web and in addition if the customer has a near field communication (NFC) enabled Android phone they can immediately load the funds and transit passes just purchased. As of June 1, 2020 this App is also available on iPhone 7 or higher.
  • Limited Use Media (LUM) was introduced on the TTC in April 2019 as an alternative to paying a cash fare and focused at the subway stations.
  • A second App has been developed for use on our Specialized system, which will allow for sub-contracted taxis to accept PRESTO as payment. TTC tested the solution in September 2019, and it is expected to be available to all Transit Agencies in early 2020.
  • As of October 28, 2019, customers are no longer required to load a minimum of $10 when the transaction is in person at Customer Service locations or Shoppers Drug Mart/Fortinos. This will reduce the financial burden for some of our customers, making it even easier to switch to PRESTO.