You’ll soon be able to load a new Presto card with only a nickel — but the card itself will still set you back $6

You’ll soon be able to load a new Presto card with only a nickel — but the card itself will still set you back $6

You’ll need just a cool nickel in your pocket instead of 10 bucks to load up a new Presto card starting next month, Metrolinx announced Monday.

The provincial agency responsible for transit planning in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area and Ottawa announced on its blog that starting Oct. 28, the minimum load amount will be five cents, down from $10.

The cost to buy the card itself will still be set at $6.

The five-cent minimums will first be implemented for Presto card purchases at in-person customer service outlets, such as Shoppers Drug Mart locations or GO stations.

The $10 minimums will remain in place at self-service machines and for online sales until “the near future after additional software changes are tested and rolled out.”

Metrolinx spokesperson Scott Money told the Star that if you had already purchased a Presto card and paid the minimum $10, you won’t be given a refund, but the funds can be used to pay for transit fares.

In the blog post, Metrolinx executive vice-president Annalise Czerny acknowledged that the $10 minimum load was seen as a cost barrier in the switch to Presto.

“By taking this first step in lowering it to five cents across in-person retail and service outlets, we’re making it easier for more people to discover the many benefits of getting a card, whether it’s automatic top-ups when funds get too low or balance protection on lost or stolen cards,” Czerny said.


Czerny also said that because of the way the system was programmed, Metrolinx wasn’t able to completely eliminate the minimum load and instead set it to a nickel, the lowest denomination of Canadian currency.

“Removing (the minimum load requirement) entirely would require substantial technical changes that would take awhile and be costly to roll out, and this solution is something that can be put in place immediately,” Czerny said in the blog post.

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Tom Yun

Tom Yun is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @thetomyun

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