Say hello to Presto, Mac What you need to know about the new Hamilton Street Railway university pass

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Something green comes this way, as the McMaster Students Union rolls out their new Hamilton Transit Railway bus pass for the 2017-2018 school year. Starting this year, the new bus pass will be a Metrolinx Presto card, a green card that gives users access to multiple public transit systems scattered throughout Ontario.

The new Presto card comes with free usage of the HSR and comes pre-loaded with the other student discounts Presto offers. As of Sept.1 , students may use use their Presto card to tap onto any HSR bus, free of charge.

Presto cards work in Brampton, Burlington, the Durham region,  Mississauga, Oakville, Ottawa, Toronto and the York region. They may also be used on GO transit and the Union Pearson express.

To use a Presto card, users must add money to their card’s balance, and each time they ‘tap’ their card onto a Presto card machine on a bus, their balance will be deducted the price of a Presto ticket.

Users may add money to their card either in person and instantly have it added to their card, or online which will be added within the next 24 hours.

The new Presto card comes with free usage of the HSR and comes pre-loaded with the other student discounts Presto offers. 

To use the Presto card as an HSR bus pass, tap the card onto the Presto machine and flash your student card to the bus driver.

The exact charge depends on the transit system, but generally speaking the Presto charge will be lower than the price of an individual ticket. Presto cards automatically discount all GO transit rides by 11.5 per cent.

In the last major MSU election period, students voted to maintain the extended levels of service of past years despite the pay increase this would entail.Students now pay $187.67 for their HSR bus pass, an increase from last year’s $150.80. The HSR bus pass will also increase next year to $206.16 and then $225.55.

While an increase, the bus pass is still below the Ontario average of $230 for university bus passes. The HSR bus pass must be negotiated and voted on every three years as per the contract between the MSU and the HSR.

If a student loses their bus pass and have registered their Presto card on their website, they may buy another one for $6 from any GO transit centre and can add the card to their account online, assuring they have access to the HSR discounts. This is a significant decrease in cost from last year’s replacement fee, which was $25.

If a student loses their bus pass they may buy another one for $6 This is a significant decrease in cost from last year’s replacement fee, which was $25

Otherwise, students who lose their passes and have not registered it must go to the MSU Compass centre in the McMaster University Student Centre, where they will receive the correct information to register the lost card. After registering the lost card, a new card will be issued and the student will have to pay $25.

If a student already owns a Presto card, they can transfer the funds from their old card to the new one by visiting a GO transit centre. Students may also visit the MSU Compass centre and receive a refund form, and receive a cheque in the mail within two to four weeks.

The introduction of the Presto card as a bus pass marks a new age in the continually changing negotiations between the MSU and HSR, and any questions about the process should be directed to either Metrolinx or the MSU Compass Centre.

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