The era of paper tickets, and one-month-and-done transit passes is about to come to an end, according to Guelph Transit. The City’s transit service has put users on notice that along with the new fare boxes being installed now on buses, the new tap-and-go transit cards to match will be available for riders on January 17.
“With the OnYourWay fare card, customers can load, tap and go—getting on their way faster,” said Courtney McDonald, manager of Business Services at Guelph Transit in media release. “We encourage transit riders to get the card when it becomes available to enjoy its many benefits and to take advantage of the waived card fee promotion.”
First of all, what is this?
Presently, if you want to take the bus, you can buy a pass, buy paper tickets, or pay a cash fare. You can obviously pay the cash fare when you get on the bus, but if you want to buy tickets or a pass, you have to go to a physical location and buy them.
With the OnYourWay card, you can load it with $80 for the monthly pass, $8 for a day pass, or whatever amount you please to cover the cost of how ever many tickets you want, and you will be able to do that in-person, or online through the Transit website. The current prices for fares and passes can be found here.
It will essentially be the Guelph version of the Metrolinx Presto Card.
Why is the City doing this?
This move was one of the 12 recommendations of the Transit Service Review from earlier this year. Transit presently loses $28,000 per year on transit passes and tickets that are never bought, and it accounts for a 28 per cent loss in Transit’s annual budget. It’s expected that the move to a reloadable fare card will have long-term savings for the City.
How much will it cost?
The prices for tickets, passes and fares will stay exactly the same for 2020. There will be a $5 fee when you get a new OnYourWay card, but that fee will be waved for the first several weeks of the switch over. Everyone will be able to get the new card free of charge until April 30, while the people who receive the Affordable Bus Pass from the City will also get the card free of charge, however they will still have to pay $5 to replace a lost or stolen card.
What happens if your card is lost or stolen?
Yes, everyone will have to pay $5 to replace the physical card, but what about the passes or funds that you have on that card? This will be why registering your card is so important. If you lose your card, you can have it cancelled, and have whatever funds left on it can be transferred to the new card.
Where can you get it?
The OnYourWay card will be available at all City facilities including ServiceGuelph in City Hall, recreation facilities, Guelph Transit and library branches, and it will also be available at select retailers. The full list of locations where you can buy the card can be found here.
What about all those paper tickets?
Paper tickets will be discontinued on March 31, but you will still be able to use them until May 31. If you have any left over tickets on June 1, then you will be able to transfer the amount to your OnYourWay card. There is a program where local non-profits buy bus tickets and give them out to people in need, and Transit planners are presently rethinking how to deliver that program with the introduction of the new smart cards.
Who’s paying for all this?
Half the funds for this project comes from the Federal government and their Public Transit Infrastructure Fund, which was given to the City with the goal of replacing fare boxes on City buses to improve efficiency, reducing potential fraud and missed fares, and automating the validation of student passes (U-pass) and transfers. The other $1.3 million comes from the City’s Infrastructure Renewal Reserve Fund.