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Ion Light Rail (Kitchener-Waterloo) & King/Victoria Transit Terminal

KevinT

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I had my first experience with fare inspection this morning.

I'd tapped in at Block Line station to head north, and the inspectors apparently boarded at Central wearing the yellow Transit Security vests that I've seen before. I didn't notice them boarding but there was an automated announcement "Fare inspectors onboard, please show proof of payment." The two inspectors had boarded at opposite ends and worked their way to the middle, using terminals that looked similar to restaurant debit machines but which probably also had barcode scanners in their ends (I didn't get to see a paper bus transfer being scanned to confirm).

Despite the train having full seats and about 20 standing passengers, they were done and had met in the middle by Grand River Hospital thanks to everyone having their cards/transfers ready for inspection due to the announcement. As far as I could tell they didn't have to ticket or warn anybody, then they got off at Laurier - Waterloo Park station.

I was impressed by how courteous, fast, and efficient the whole process was. Well done guys!
 

nfitz

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So now that fares are working, how do those of us just popping in occasionally do things? Can we just tap our credit cards on the reader in the car? Or do we have to use a ticket machine in the car?

Hmm, and how do transfers from GO work - to get the discount?
 

Streety McCarface

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So now that fares are working, how do those of us just popping in occasionally do things? Can we just tap our credit cards on the reader in the car? Or do we have to use a ticket machine in the car?

Hmm, and how do transfers from GO work - to get the discount?
Ticket machine on the platform.

Best bet is to get an EasyGO fare card (should have gone with presto :mad: ) and fill it up with pay as you go. The machines dispense them. Paying with cash isn't worth it even if you only use transit like once a month.
 

nfitz

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Ticket machine on the platform.
You have to be kidding me. After all the fuss that GRT made, about selecting a payment card that was compatible with debit/credit tap, thus eliminating Presto? Vancouver let's you tap credit cards on vehicles - isn't that the big benefit to not using Presto?

So I can just tap my credit/debit on the platform and go? I don't really have to stand there risking missing a streetcar do I?

Best bet is to get an EasyGO fare card (should have gone with presto :mad: ) and fill it up with pay as you go. The machines dispense them. Paying with cash isn't worth it even if you only use transit like once a month.
Probably closer to 3-4 times a year - and it's a business expense, so saving a few cents isn't a huge concern. Simplicity and not missing streetcars is a big concern!
 

KevinT

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So now that fares are working, how do those of us just popping in occasionally do things? Can we just tap our credit cards on the reader in the car? Or do we have to use a ticket machine in the car?
There are no fare vending machines or card readers on the trains themselves, you validate before you board. Each end of each station platform has a little podium with an RFID reader in the top and a barcode scanner in the front for validating your EasyGO fare card or printed bus transfer. In the center of each station platform is a fare vending machine with touchscreen where you can validate or load your EasyGO card, purchase an EasyGO card (but not senior or child versions, which require ID and are done at a staffed location). The fare vending machines also accept cash, debit, or credit for purchasing paper single or multi-ride tickets. I think once you purchase the EasyGO card / ticket, you still have to validate it in a separate operation in order to start the 90 minute transfer window.

Edit to add: All door boarding goes much quicker when people validate as they arrive at the station, rather than trying to access a machine on the train while boarding.

Hmm, and how do transfers from GO work - to get the discount?
You have to visit a staffed location to set up the "connect to GO" flag on your EasyGO card. I tried to do this when I got my card in late May but they weren't set up to do it yet, and I haven't been back to try since. In theory you can then tap it at the GO park and ride lot within a certain time window of tapping it to validate a fare/transfer to get the discount. Not sure why they didn't just set up the regular RFID podiums and fare vending machines to recognize a Presto card and have you tap Presto then EasyGO to claim the discount. (The TagInfo android app on my phone currently recognizes it without knowing the super sacred secret Metrolinx keys, as the Mifare Application Identifier (AID) is public knowledge.) They could still limit it to working only at stops/stations near a GO connection, having to get a Connect to GO flag pre-set on the EasyGO card just seems like an unnecessary hoop to jump through.

Just looked at https://www.grt.ca/en/fares-passes/go-train-riders.aspx and at least they're now saying that "The Connect-to-GO flag is not available yet".
 
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nfitz

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What a fail. You should be able to just tap your credit card.

And good grief - if Quebec transit agencies can supplementally handle Presto cards for transfers - then surely GRT, partially funded by Ontario, should have been able to do it.

And really - there's no way of paying your fare on board - even with a GRT fare card?
 

kEiThZ

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And good grief - if Quebec transit agencies can supplementally handle Presto cards for transfers - then surely GRT, partially funded by Ontario, should have been able to do it.
To be fair, only STO has done this. And they have a completely separate fare system from the rest of Quebec which uses Opus. And Presto is only usable on STO with a monthly pass stored onboard and a transfer after tapping on OC Transpo. Pay-per-trip is not possible to be initiated on STO.

I do agree that it's bollocks that GRT was not compelled to use Presto by the province, while Ottawa was put through hell converting over. Especially crazy when Waterloo is so close to the GTA.
 

nfitz

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This is done on purpose due to the line being POP. Otherwise, people could just tap their card when they see a fare inspector!
So instead, you are supposed to risk missing the infrequent streetcar, because someone has a pickle up their butt about fare enforcement, and has chosen to make it inconvenient?

Which could be simply mitigated by allowing for credit/debit cards to tap on platforms - rather than having to start fare transactions. Which seems totally bizarre given how precious GRT was, because Presto couldn't support the things they needed ... yet they don't actually seem to have implemented!

... while Ottawa was put through hell converting over.
Though if I recall, Ottawa volunteered surprisingly early - long before others were voluntold!
 

smably

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The purpose of off-board fare payment is to enable faster boarding and shorter dwell times, not fare enforcement as far as I know. Same as the subway or GO trains (can you imagine the chaos if you could tap your Presto card after boarding the subway!).
 

kEiThZ

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Though if I recall, Ottawa volunteered surprisingly early - long before others were voluntold!
If I'm not mistaken LRT funding was contingent on the adoption of Presto. Ottawa would not have chosen Presto if not pressed by Queen's Park. STO's Multicard would have made more sense for us. Or even the Opus card from Quebec, since there is a lot of traffic between Ottawa and Montreal. As it stands, Ottawa is the only transit agency outside the GTA using Presto. A particularly bizarre situation where every other system is closer to us than Presto, where the nearest other agency is 400 km away. It's always struck me as odd that there's no plan to convert over the small-medium transit services weren't compelled to switch over. Presto would be a hell of a lot more useful if at minimum it covered all the transit systems that VIA Corridor services and GO connected with.
 

jordanmkasla2009

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What a fail. You should be able to just tap your credit card.

And good grief - if Quebec transit agencies can supplementally handle Presto cards for transfers - then surely GRT, partially funded by Ontario, should have been able to do it.

And really - there's no way of paying your fare on board - even with a GRT fare card?
They currently don't support open payments yet. It's on the list of things to support in a future phase of the fare card program. As for why you can't pay on board, there's no room for a full ticket vending machine as unlike the TTC Flexities there are doors on both sides of the train.
 

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