GO with PRESTO

Some PRESTO services will be unavailable September 13 to 14

Upgrades are being made to PRESTO and some services offered through prestocard.ca and the PRESTO call centre will be unavailable September 13 and 14.

Find out more...

PRESTO is an electronic, reloadable fare card that makes commuting convenient. PRESTO makes it easy to pay your fare while travelling within and between transit systems by the simple tap of a card. The system calculates the fare for your trip and deducts it from the balance stored on your card – all in less than a second.

PRESTO can be used across the entire GO Transit network at all GO Train stations and on all GO Buses.

Why GO with PRESTO?

  • Saves you money. Whether you’re taking a single trip or commuting the entire month, you pay less with PRESTO. The savings start with your very first tap.
  • Saves you time. No more waiting in line to buy your GO fare. You can load money onto your card online at prestocard.ca.
  • It’s easy. With the Autoload feature, money will automatically load onto your PRESTO card when the balance drops below a dollar amount chosen by you.
  • It’s flexible. Travel the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area with one fare card anywhere PRESTO is accepted, including some TTC subways stations.
  • It’s safe. Registering your card means that you don’t lose your money if you lose your card. PRESTO can replace a lost card and restore the balance, as long as the card has been registered.
  • It’s tax deductible. When you register your card, you can track your spending and be eligible for the federal income tax credit for public transit.

Where can I get a PRESTO card?

How do I load money onto a PRESTO card?

You can set up Autoload...

The Autoload feature reloads your PRESTO card automatically when your balance drops below a dollar amount chosen by you. Setting up Autoload is easy:

  1. Register your PRESTO card online at prestocard.ca.
  2. Sign-in to your online account and set-up Autoload contract (credit or debit card required).
  3. Activate your Autoload contract by taking a regular trip with your PRESTO card, or tapping your card to a Balance Checker. This must be done 24 hours after setting-up Autoload online and before 30 days.

 

You can load money onto your card...

  • Online at prestocard.ca
  • By calling 1-877-378-6123
  • In person at ticket counters at GO stations, GO Bus terminals, and at participating ticket agencies (See "Where can I get a PRESTO card?" above)

 

Important Tips:

  • Be sure to have sufficient funds on your card to cover your entire trip.
  • If you plan to reload money on your card at a station, do so before you tap ON.
  • The maximum amount that can be stored in your card’s balance is $1000 and the minimum load you can make at any time is $10. If your balance will exceed $1,000 because of a load, the total of your new load cannot be processed until your balance allows for the full amount to be added. This must occur within 30 days or the transaction will be cancelled by your bank or credit card firm.
  • PRESTO loads done through the PRESTO website may take up to 24 hours to be processed. Once processed, you must travel and tap onto a Fare Payment Device or tap onto a Balance Checker within 30 days for your load to be uploaded to your card.

How do I use PRESTO for the GO Train?

Before boarding the train...PRESTO on the GO Train

  • Tap ON by touching your card to the PRESTO Fare Payment Device at the station. Be sure to check the screen on the device to confirm that a fare has been deducted from your card. A beep and a green or green/yellow light indicates a successful transaction. If you see a red light, please see a station attendant prior to taking your trip.

 

Once you've arrived at your destination...

  • Tap OFF by touching your card to the Fare Payment Device as you exit the station.

 

Save time by setting a Default Trip.

  • If you travel between the same two GO stations consistently, you can have a default trip set to your card.
  • If you have a default trip set, you only have to tap ON at the start of each trip.
  • Default trips can only be set in-person by GO station attendants or at participating GO ticket agencies (See "Where can I get a PRESTO card?" above)
  • Default trips can only be used for GO Train trips, not GO Bus trips.

 

OVERRIDE your default trip

  • If you are not taking your usual default trip, simply press the OVERRIDE button, then tap ON.
  • At the end of your trip, remember to tap OFF.
  • The system will reset your default for your next trip.

How do I use PRESTO on GO Buses?

As you board the bus...PRESTO on the GO Bus

  • Tap your card ON to the PRESTO Fare Payment Device inside the bus near the driver. The machine will validate your card, record the starting point of your trip and deduct the fare to the next zone on the route.

 

Once you've arrived...

  • Tap your card OFF to the Fare Payment Device as you exit the bus. The PRESTO system will debit or credit your card for the balance of that trip.
  • If you forget to tap off, you will be charged to the end of that bus route, as PRESTO will not know where you got off. Remember to always tap off as you exit.

 

More info on riding the GO Bus with PRESTO

  • When transferring between GO Buses, or between GO Buses and GO Trains, the PRESTO system will automatically apply the transfer credit.
  • Default trips cannot be set or used for GO Bus travel.

What are GO Transit fares with PRESTO?

Each time you travel, a fare is deducted from your PRESTO card. With the built-in loyalty program, GO riders receive fare discounts based upon the number of rides taken and the value of the fares accumulated within the calendar month. Calculate your fare here.

 

Adult fares
With the built-in loyalty program you always save with PRESTO, whether you're taking a single trip or commuting the entire month.

If you take the same GO trip each time you travel within a calendar month, your GO fare* will be:

Number of rides Discount off a single adult GO fare paper ticket
1-35 10% off**
36-40 87.75% off**
41+ 100% off**
*Fares and discounts subject to change
**Actual discount may be .1% lower due to rounding

If you do not take the exact same trip each time you travel on GO within a calendar month, your first 35 rides on GO will be 10%** off the single adult GO fare paper ticket. For rides 36 and onwards, your discount will be based on the value of the rides you’ve taken that month.

 

Student fares
As a full-time student (13+), you are also eligible for fare discounts on GO with PRESTO. To receive the student discount on your PRESTO card, simply have your PRESTO card set with the student classification by the GO station attendant or at a GO ticket agency.

  • When travelling on GO be sure to have your valid GO Student ID with you at all times.

Note: For students aged 13-19 inclusive, the student classification setting on your card will expire on your 20th birthday. University and College students must have the student classification set each school year. Students attending post-secondary trade or technical schools for eight weeks or more must show a proof of admission with course length specified as the discount will be valid only until the end of the course/program.

*Registration and student discount settings may take up to 24 hours. You must travel and tap onto a Fare Payment Device or tap onto a Balance Checker, within 30 days for your registration settings to be uploaded to your card.

If you take the same GO trip each time you travel within a calendar month, your GO fare* will be:

Number of rides Discount off a single adult GO fare paper ticket
1-30 17.25% off**
31-40 95% off**
41+ 100% off**
*Fares and discounts subject to change
**Actual discount may be .1% lower due to rounding

If you do not take the exact same trip each time you travel on GO within a calendar month, your first 30 rides on GO will be 17.25%** off the single adult GO fare paper ticket. For rides 31 and onwards, your discount will be based on the value of the rides you’ve taken that calendar month.

 

Child/Senior fares
Children (ages 6-12) and seniors (65+) are also eligible for discounts with PRESTO. If you take the same GO trip each time you travel within a calendar month, your GO fare* will be:

Number of rides Discount off a single adult GO fare paper ticket
1-40 51.50% off**
41+ 100% off**
*Fares and discounts subject to change
**Actual discount may be .1% lower due to rounding

If you do not take the exact same trip each time you travel on GO within a calendar month, your first 40 rides on GO will be 51.50%** off the single adult ticket GO fare paper ticket*. For rides 41 and onward, your discount will be based on the value of the rides you've taken that month.

To receive the child/senior discount on your PRESTO card, simply take your card to a GO Station Attendant to have it set with a senior or child classification to receive the discount. This can be done at any GO station or GO ticket agency.

  • Proof of age may be required while travelling GO.

*It may take up to 24 hours for registration and child/senior discount settings to be activated on your card. You must travel and tap onto a Fare Payment Device or tap onto a Balance Checker, within 30 days for your registration and discount settings to be uploaded to your card.

Why should I register my PRESTO card?

Registration has benefits! Once you register your PRESTO card at prestocard.ca you’ll be able to:

  • Enjoy the Autoload feature
  • Protect your balance in case you lose your card
  • Take advantage of tax credits for qualifying transit trips

Are there co-fare discounts with PRESTO?

The co-fare discount program between GO Transit and participating local transit systems is even better for PRESTO card users. PRESTO users get an automatic discount when transferring between GO Train or Bus services and PRESTO-activated local buses anywhere across the entire GO network, not just at GO Train stations. Transfers from GO Transit to participating systems must occur within 3 hours of starting your trip.

Visit our Connecting to GO page to learn more about our co-fare discounts.

 

Examples of how co-fares work

For GO Train riders without a default trip:

  • In the morning, on Oakville John's way to work...
    • He taps on when he boards the Oakville Transit bus to the Bronte GO Station, and the Oakville Transit fare is deducted from his card’s balance ($3.25).
    • Before boarding the GO Train, John taps on at Bronte GO Station and pays the minimum GO fare.
    • When John taps off at Union Station, PRESTO’s smartcard technology recognizes that he should be credited for part of his Oakville Transit fare ($3.25-$0.65=$2.60) , and his GO fare will be reduced by the difference (GO fare-$2.60).
  • In the evening, on his way home...
    • John taps on at Union Station, and the minimum GO fare is deducted from his card’s balance.
    • When he arrives at Bronte, he taps off, and the remaining balance of his GO fare will be deducted from his balance. When John taps on his connecting Oakville Transit bus at the station, the co-fare is deducted from his card’s balance.

 

For GO Train riders with a default trip:

  • In the morning, on Oakville Sue's way to work...
    • She taps on when she boards the Oakville Transit bus to the Oakville GO Station, and the Oakville Transit fare is deducted from her card’s balance ($3.25).
    • Before boarding the train, Sue taps on at Oakville GO Station; PRESTO’s smartcard technology recognizes that Sue should only be paying the co-fare for the Oakville Transit trip ($0.65), so her GO fare is reduced by the difference (GO fare-$2.60).
  • In the evening, on her way home...
    • Sue taps on at Union Station and her GO fare to Oakville station is deducted from her card’s balance.
    • Sue taps on while boarding the connecting Oakville Transit bus at the GO station; the co-fare ($0.65) is deducted from her card’s balance. Again, the PRESTO system realizes that Sue has just travelled on the GO Train and therefore qualifies for the co-fare.

For details about default trips, please refer to the How to use PRESTO on GO Transit user guide.

 

For GO Bus riders:

  • In the morning, on Brampton Maria's way to school...
    • She taps onto the Brampton Transit bus, and the full Brampton Transit fare ($3.25) is deducted from her card’s balance.
    • When Maria transfers and taps onto the GO Bus, the minimum GO fare is deducted.
    • When Maria taps off as she exits the GO Bus, her GO fare is reduced by the applicable co-fare discount.
  • In the afternoon when Maria is heading home...
    • The GO fare to the next zone on the route is deducted from her card’s balance as she boards the GO Bus.
    • When she taps off as she exits the bus, the balance of her GO fare is deducted from her balance.
    • When she taps onto a connecting Brampton Transit bus, the discounted local fare will be deducted from her card’s balance.

How long is the Travel Window?

There is a 3 hour travel window to complete your GO trip. Transfer credits will be automatically applied when transferring between GO Buses, from GO Buses to GO Trains, or from GO Trains to GO Buses.

Transfers between GO Transit and other participating systems must also occur within 3 hours.

I forgot to tap off. What is an Underpayment?

An underpayment is an amount deducted from your card if you forget to tap off at the end your trip. You will be charged the fare to the furthest distance on the train line or bus route. This charge, plus a minimum fare, will be deducted from your card balance the next time you tap on. If you have insufficient funds to clear the underpayment, your card will be blocked from further use on GO Transit. You can load money to your PRESTO card and clear your underpayment at any GO Station, GO ticket agency or online at prestocard.ca. Online loads may take up to 24 hours to be processed. The next time you tap on, the underpayment amount will be deducted from the amount of money you loaded with the rest going to your card balance.

To avoid underpayments:

  • Always check the screen on the fare payment device when you tap your card on and off to ensure a fare was deducted.
  • Have a default trip set to your PRESTO card, especially if you travel consistently between two train stations. Defaults allow you to simply tap on at the beginning of your trip and you don’t need to worry about tapping off at the end of your trip. As defaults cannot be set for GO Bus travel, you will always have to tap on and off when travelling on a GO Bus.
  • Remember to always tap OFF at the end of your trip if you do not have a default set and/or if you override your default.

 

Example of when customers are charged the underpayment amount

  • In the morning, on Oakville John's way to work...
    • He taps on when boarding the train at the Oakville GO Station.
    • John doesn’t have a default set on his PRESTO card and should tap off at the end of his trip when he arrives at Union Station, but he forgets.
    • Later that day, John taps on at Union Station on his way home from work. The PRESTO system recognizes that John has an open transaction from his ride in the morning and records this tap on as a tap off, to close the transaction.
    • However, John believes that he has tapped on and initiated the payment for his trip home.
    • When John arrives at his destination, he remembers to tap off but, that tap off is recorded as a tap on.
  • What does this mean for John?
    • John’s card now has an open transaction and is in underpayment. When John uses his PRESTO card the next morning, the underpayment will be cleared automatically with his tap on. Unfortunately, John will be paying the value of a trip to the end of his train line.
    • If there had been a fare inspection on John’s trip home, the enforcement officer could have issued him a fine for travelling without valid fare since his tap on was, in reality, a tap off to close the open transaction from the morning trip.

You must always remember to tap on and off when using your PRESTO card without a default set. Plus, be sure to always look at the screen on the fare payment device to ensure a fare has been deducted for your trip. If you travel consistently between two train stations, set a default to avoid underpayments.

How much is the Underpayment charge?
GO Transit calculates fare by distance. If you forget to tap off, the PRESTO system cannot determine your intended destination. As such, the PRESTO system will calculate the value of your trip from your tap on location to the furthest distance on the train line or bus route, and deduct that amount from your card’s balance.

 

How will my Underpayment be cleared?
Underpayments are cleared automatically the next time you tap your card. The charge will be deducted from your card balance, plus the minimum fare of the trip you are taking. If you realize that you have forgotten to tap off, please see GO Transit station attendant or bus driver for assistance.

 

I have an Autoload setting, what can I expect?
Since the value of an underpayment will be deducted from your PRESTO card, it is recommended that you pay careful attention to your balance.

What do PRESTO machines look like?

You'll see different types of PRESTO machines at our stations.

PRESTO Fare Payment Device

The Fare Payment Device is used to pay your fare. Be sure to tap the green circle on this machine before you ride everytime to ensure your fare is paid. Check the screen on the device to confirm that a fare has been deducted from your card. You’ll also hear a beep and see a green/yellow light indicating a successful transaction. You'll also need to tap off at the end of each trip unless you have a default trip set on your card.

   
PRESTO Balance Checker

The Balance Checker shows your card balance and transaction history. You can scroll through the information stored on your card by holding it to this machine. If you ordered your PRESTO card online, you can also activate your card on this machine. The Balance Checker is not for fare payment.

What to expect when I tap my PRESTO card?

When you tap on a GO Bus and see a:

  This means:
Green light Your transaction was successful.

If the message displays a dollar amount, your tap was successful and the fare was deducted from your card balance. The screen may also display your card balance.
Green and yellow light Your transaction was successful and your action has processed.

If the message displays the fare deducted, card balance and an ‘Autoload’ dollar amount, your tap was successful and the fare was deducted from your card balance. Your Autoload amount was also added to your card balance.

If the message displays a dollar amount, your tap was successful. The screen may also show the time remaining on your transfer and a co-fare, if applied.

If the message displays a dollar amount and ‘Load’, then your funds were successfully loaded onto your card.
Red light Your transaction cannot process.

If the message displays ‘Card Read Error’, you have a negative balance on your card. Please visit a customer service outlet, prestocard.ca or call 1-8-PRESTO-123 (1-877-378-6123) for more information about the Autoload feature or to load funds.

If the message displays ‘Not enough funds’, then your card does not have enough funds to pay the fare. Please visit a customer service outlet, prestocard.ca or call 1-8-PRESTO-123 (1-877-378-6123) for more information about the Autoload feature or to load funds.

If the message displays ‘Invalid Card’, it means your card has not been activated and cannot be used. Please visit prestocard.ca or call 1-8-PRESTO-123 (1-877-378-6123).

If the message displays ‘Blocked Card’, your card has been blocked. Please visit a customer service outlet, prestocard.ca or call 1-8-PRESTO-123 (1-877-378-6123) for information on how to get a new card and complete a balance transfer.
Red and Yellow light Your transaction was invalid.

If the message displays ‘Already tapped’, you have already successfully tapped and can continue your regular travel.

 

When you tap on at a GO station and see a:

  This means:
Green light Your transaction was successful.
Green and yellow light Your transaction was successful and your action has processed.

Actions include: completing registration, funds being added to your balance.
Red light Your transaction cannot process.

If the message displays ‘Not enough funds see customer service’, there is a negative balance on your card and you need to add funds. Please visit a customer service outlet, prestocard.ca or call 1-8-PRESTO-123 (1-877-378-6123) for more information about the Autoload feature or to load funds.

If the message displays ‘Invalid Card’, there are two possible reasons:
  • You have a default trip and your last tap was within three hours. Please press the ‘override’ button and tap again.
  • You have a default trip and you tapped on at your starting destination and are now trying to tap off. A tap off is not required, please continue with your regular travel.

If the message displays ‘Card Error See Customer Service’, there are two possible reasons:
  • Your card may have been blocked. Please visit a customer service outlet, prestocard.ca or call 1-8-PRESTO-123 (1-877-378-6123) for information on how to get a new card and complete a balance transfer.
  • Your card may not have enough funds to pay the fare and you will need to add funds. Please visit a customer service outlet, prestocard.ca or call 1-8-PRESTO-123 (1-877-378-6123) for more information about the Autoload feature or to load funds.

If the message displays ‘Card inactive see customer service’, it means your card has not been activated and cannot be used. Please visit prestocard.ca or call 1-8-PRESTO-123 (1-877-378-6123) to activate.
Red and Yellow light Your transaction was invalid.

If the message displays ‘Not enough funds reload required’, your card does not have enough funds to pay the fare. Please visit a customer service outlet, prestocard.ca or call 1-8-PRESTO-123 (1-877-378-6123) for more information about the Autoload feature or to load funds.

If the message displays ‘Already tapped’, you have already successfully tapped and can continue with your regular travel.

 

When you hold your card to a balance checker and see a:

  This means:
Green light Your transaction was successful.
Green and yellow light Your transaction was successful and your action has processed.

Actions include: completing registration, funds being added to your balance.
Red light Your transaction cannot process

If the message displays ‘See customer service card error’, your card was reported lost or stolen and has been blocked. Please visit a customer service outlet, prestocard.ca or call 1-8-PRESTO-123 (1-877-378-6123) for information on how to get a new card and complete a balance transfer.

If the message displays ‘See customer service card Invalid’, your card is not activated. Please visit a customer service outlet or call 1-8-PRESTO-123 (1-877-378-6123).
No light If the message displays ‘Not in service’, it is likely that the device is updating the transaction list. Please wait a few moments for the device to return to service mode or go to another device.

Claiming your GO Train Service Guarantee

We promise to do our best to be on time; however, sometimes delays happen. If your train arrival is delayed by 15 minutes or more, we want to credit what you paid for the trip.

Our Service Guarantee policy doesn’t apply to delays caused by reasons outside of our control, including extreme weather, emergency investigations, pedestrian incidents, track obstructions, and on-board emergencies. Read more about our policy.

Customers who paid for their trip using a PRESTO card can submit their claim online.

More Information

Download the How to use PRESTO on GO Transit user guide.
For more information about PRESTO, please visit www.prestocard.ca.