You can now pay for your trip by tapping a digital version of the PRESTO card in Google Wallet, on an Android smartphone or smartwatch.
Tap & Go with PRESTO!
PRESTO is an electronic fare system that allows transit users to pay for their journey quickly, easily and securely.
Using the card saves you time
Every time you ride the bus you tap your card on the PRESTO machine to pay your fare. With a beep, the system calculates the correct fare for your trip, and deducts the funds from the balance stored on your card.
Using the card saves you money
Our automatic loyalty program ensures you never overpay for transit. If you take more than 11 paid trips in one week using your PRESTO card, all subsequent rides will be free for that week, and if you do that for a month, the total will never exceed that of a monthly pass.
You do not need to sign up for the program, or have a registered PRESTO card. All cardholders travelling on HSR using funds are automatically eligible. This program excludes monthly passes, co-payment, extra passenger fares and transfers, and is only valid on HSR vehicles. The trip counter automatically resets at 12:01 am on Monday morning, and will run until 11:59 pm the following Sunday. Your trips can be taken on any day(s) during the week.
Using the card is easy and convenient
You can travel on a single fare between and within the following transit systems:
- GO Transit
- Brampton Transit
- Burlington Transit
- Durham Region Transit
- Mississauga Transit (MiWay)
- Oakville Transit
- OC Transpo (Ottawa)
- York Region Transit
- Toronto Transit Commission
Your PRESTO card is secure
Create a My PRESTO account and add up to 10 PRESTO cards to manage them. If your card is ever lost or stolen, your funds are protected. You can also review your card activity and set up Autoload and Autorenew to have funds or transit passes automatically added to your card.
Pay for yourself and someone else
If you’re traveling with someone else, you can use your funds to also pay for their ride. When boarding the bus, tell the driver that you’re paying for an additional passenger(s). The driver will assist you in how to tap on the PRESTO machine. Each additional passenger will be charged an adult fare on your card.
Saves you money at local attractions & events
You can use your PRESTO card to save with discounts on events, entertainment, attractions and brands in Hamilton, Niagara & the GTA. Check back often to see what new offers become available! www.prestocard.ca/en/about/presto-perks
Get started in 4 easy steps
Purchase, register, use & reload your PRESTO card!
The PRESTO card has an initial fee to the rider of $4 (HST included).
The minimum load onto the card is $0.05 in-person, online and using the PRESTO App. The minimum load by phone is $10.
NOTE: Do not punch holes or modify your PRESTO card, it will become invalid.
Where to purchase your card
- In-person: Visit the HSR ticket office at 36 Hunter St. GO Station, City Hall or Municipal Service Centres in Dundas, Ancaster, or Stoney Creek. You can also visit any Shopper’s Drug Mart or Fortinos location in Hamilton. View these locations on a map.
- Website: www.prestocard.ca Your card will be mailed to you within 7-10 business days. You can create a My PRESTO Account or be without an account.
- By Phone 1-877-378-6123. Funds loaded by phone may take up to 24 hours to load and will be updated on your card once you tap a PRESTO device.
Benefits to registration
- If you lose your card the balance is protected
- Check your balance and history
To activate your PRESTO Card
If you ordered a card with a My PRESTO Account from the PRESTO website, you'll need to activate it before you ride. Cards purchased in person are already activated.
Activate your card online, through PRESTO’s Chat feature, or by calling PRESTO at 1-877-378-6123 and following the automated instructions.
Youth and Senior ID
Some pass holders are eligible for a discount. To do this you need an identification card to travel at a reduced rate. See a list of qualifying passes.
After your funds or pass have been added to your card, you're ready to ride. Tap your card on a PRESTO device at the beginning of your ride to pay for your transit quickly, simply, and securely. If your card is assigned a category other than adult, you may be asked to show ID when you tap.
Transfers are valid for 2 hours from the time of your first tap. If you board other vehicles within 2 hours of your tap, it counts as a transfer and you will not be charged any additional money.
There are lots of options to reload your PRESTO Card. Choose the best one for you or mix it up:
Visit the HSR ticket office at 36 Hunter St. GO Station, City Hall or Municipal Service Centres in Dundas, Ancaster, or Stoney Creek. You can also visit any Shopper’s Drug Mart or Fortinos location in Hamilton. View these locations on a map.
Visit www.prestocard.ca to check out the many online options, including automatic reload. You may only use a debit card or credit card with most of these options.
You can check your travel history, balance and more by logging into your PRESTO card account. You must register your card to have access to this information.
Contact the PRESTO Call Centre at 1-877-378-6123 and a PRESTO representative will be happy to assist you with card loading and payment options by telephone. You may only use a credit card with this option to load e-purse value.
Use the PRESTO app for a simple, easy way to manage and instantly load your card on the go.
Frequently Asked Questions
Loading funds (e-purse) allows you to load as much money as you would like, whenever you would like (minimum of $0.05, maximum of $1,000). Each time you ride, your PRESTO card will be charged a single-ride fare. With the current weekly frequent rider discount, loading funds is less expensive than loading a pass.
If you want the convenience of only loading your PRESTO card once per month, you can load a monthly pass. Passes can be loaded from the 17th of the month prior to the 13th of the pass month. For example, a September monthly pass can be loaded from August 17th until September 13th. With the current weekly frequent rider discount, loading a pass may cost more on a monthly basis than loading funds and paying a single-ride fare each time.
The new PRESTO card is pre-set as an adult. To change your fare type to child, youth or senior, your card must be modified. Visit any customer service outlet and provide proof of your birthdate. The child fare is available for children ages 6-12 years old. The youth fare is available for youth ages 13-19. You must change your card from child to youth when you reach 13 years old or it will default back to adult. Children ages 0-5 years old always ride free and do not need a PRESTO card. At any time, HSR Operators may ask for ID for youth or seniors to prove that you are entitled to use this reduced fare.
If your card is registered, and you do not have enough of a balance for a single ride fare, your card will allow you to tap and take ONE ride only on HSR and Burlington Transit, including transfers, but not on GO Transit. Your card will then go into a negative balance, or overdraft. The next time you add funds to your card, you will have to repay the negative balance, plus a $0.25 service charge. Then you’ll be able to use your card again. If your card is already in a negative balance, you will not be able to take another ride until you reload your card.
To avoid overdraft, check out the auto-load features that PRESTO offers online. You can set up your PRESTO card so your e-purse is always replenished. All monthly passes have an auto-renew feature. Auto-load and auto-renew features can only be used on registered cards.
To receive a Senior rate, your card must be modified from Adult. Visit any of our 14 Customer Service Outlets and provide proof of your birthdate. PRESTO will work for Senior ticket, Senior monthly pass and Senior Annual pass on HSR buses. Anyone 65 years of age or older is considered a ‘Senior’ for HSR fares.
PRESTO and the HSR Senior Annual Pass
The HSR Senior Annual Pass is loaded onto the PRESTO card which provides you with unlimited travel on the HSR for 12 months.
In order to qualify for this special pass, you must be between the ages of 65 and 79 years old. Proof of age is needed when acquiring this pass.
The HSR Senior Annual Pass is only valid on HSR vehicles. You can transfer for free onto Burlington Transit with this pass, but you need to use money in your e-purse to travel within Burlington or to come back to Hamilton after your transfer has expired, if it is outside the two hour transfer window.
PRESTO and the HSR Golden Age Pass
City of Hamilton residents 80 years of age or older can receive a Golden Age Pass for free. Lost, stolen or damaged PRESTO cards or photo ID cards will require a replacement fee. You must be 80 years of age or older and a resident of Hamilton. Proof of age is required, as well as proof of address in Hamilton (acceptable ID would be a Driver’s Licence, Ontario Photo Card, Income Tax statement with name and address, Health Card that has address, etc.). A photo ID will be issued to be used in conjunction with your new PRESTO card.
The HSR Golden Age Pass is only valid on HSR vehicles. You can transfer for free onto Burlington Transit with this pass, but you need to use money in your e-purse to travel within Burlington or to come back to Hamilton after your transfer has expired, if it is outside the two-hour transfer window.
You can have your card set up with the HSR Golden Age Pass as well as an e-purse that can be used for Burlington Transit, GO Transit or any of the other participating transit agencies. You will be charged the Adult fare when travelling on the other transit agency buses. Do not have GO Transit or any other transit agencies change your card to a senior concession as this invalidates your HSR Golden Age Pass. Golden Age passengers who frequently travel on transit outside of Hamilton should purchase a 2nd PRESTO card with a senior concession to be able to benefit from other transit agency senior rates (if applicable).
For more information on the Senior Annual Pass or Golden Age Pass Program, call the HSR Fare Administration Office at 905-546-2424 ext.1882.
The transfer window is set to two hours from the time of boarding your first bus. When you tap on to the Fare Payment Device as you board, the system will write a transfer to your card when a valid fare is paid. When you tap on to the next HSR bus within the two hours, the system will recognize the transfer and no additional fare will be deducted. A paper transfer is no longer required.
Transferring to Burlington Transit
Burlington Transit recognizes the transfer written to your card, no additional fare will be deducted and no paper transfer is needed when transferring within two hours from the start of your trip.
Transferring to GO Transit
The co-fare and fare subsidy will be applied on a trip specific basis. The card will calculate and deduct the appropriate discount for the local trip to or from an activated GO Train station.
If using an e-purse, a discount of a $1.85 will be applied when you transfer to the next portion of your trip. For example, when you travel on HSR and transfer to the GO Train, the fare you pay GO will be reduced by $1.85.
On Board PRESTO Machines
The On Board PRESTO devices have a new look and offer some immediate improvements:
- As always, customers can tap a PRESTO card on the device where indicated. The new equipment is designed to allow future enhancements for credit and debit card payments. Customers are now encouraged to remove their PRESTO card from their wallet, to avoid a “multiple cards detected” error message.
- The devices have a new design, including larger screens that display information in a clearer and more intuitive manner, enhancing both user experience and accessibility. The machines also have upgraded technology to ensure that they continue to perform reliably over the coming years.
- In future, this upgrade will also make it possible for HSR to use the new barcode scanning system for E-Tickets, which includes the ability for a customer to print a ticket at home.
Metrolinx is also in the planning phases in developing other options for fare payment to include debit, credit and mobile phone. There is still work to do, but the goal is to have these new payment options available for all PRESTO customers, across the entire system.
We were one of the first transit agencies to adopt PRESTO. This means our devices are now almost 10 years old. We’re replacing these devices with upgraded ones to continue to provide reliable service.
Yes. These devices are being rolled out across GO Transit and other local transit agencies in the 905 area.
You’re seeing this message because the PRESTO device is picking up signals from other card(s) that are close to your PRESTO card, preventing payment from being accepted. Make sure you tap only your PRESTO card on the reader – not your whole wallet or purse. The devices have a contactless card reader that has the capability to also accept other forms of payment (like debit and credit) in the future. Because of this, the devices are designed to process only one card or payment method at a time. It’s similar to why you can’t tap your entire wallet on a payment terminal at any retailer.
This is because the devices have a contactless card reader that has the capability to also accept other forms of payment (like debit and credit) in the future. Because of this, the devices are designed to process only one card or payment method at a time. While the readers won’t actually accept payment by debit and credit at this time, the readers can still pick-up signals from these cards if they are close to your PRESTO card and prevent payment from being accepted. It’s similar to why you can’t tap your entire wallet on a payment terminal at any retailer.
The device will take a bit longer to process your tap than you’re used to, so make sure you hold your card on the reader until you hear the ‘beep’. This is because the new devices have more extensive security features – to meet the latest security best practices to prepare for credit and debit card payments – that add to their processing time.