A Humber College official involved in the process to bring Presto machines to campus told The Avro Post Wednesday evening that he could not confirm any timeline as “we are still in discussions” between the college and Metrolinx, talks that have been ongoing since at least March of this year.
Presto cards can be loaded with funds that are used to access multiple transit systems in southern Ontario, including GO Transit and the local buses, streetcars and subways that students use to get to their classes.
Despite having at least three major transit systems that use Presto come to both North and Lakeshore Campuses, the machines that allow users to instantly reload their cards and buy new ones have yet to make it to Humber College.
The same official, Sustainability Specialist Devon Fernandes, told the Humber Et Cetera earlier this week that the machines could reach campus before December. When pressed on the discrepancy between what he told The Post and what he told the Et Cetera, Fernandes said that he could not confirm the November timeline.
In September, Metrolinx official Scott Money told The Post that discussions were ongoing between Humber College and Metrolinx to bring the machines to campus. Money said at the time that the next step in the process was for Presto to provide Fernandes with device costs and specifications.
Humber College’s communications manager Emily Milic wrote in a September email that “Humber and IGNITE are working together to determine the feasibility of installing a Presto reloadable machine on campus.”
“Currently, students and staff can use the Presto app to reload their cards and they will continue to have this option available to them.”
It is unclear what say the student union will have on the decision to purchase a reload machine for campus or how exactly they are involved, but it has long been move supported by and called for by students.
The Avro Post first reported exclusively in March that Humber and Metrolinx, which owns Presto and GO Transit, were in talks to bring the vendors to Humber’s Toronto campuses.
There are upwards of 30,000 students at Humber College and the University of Guelph-Humber and thousands of them utilize multiple forms of city and intercity transit. Most of the transit systems, if not all of them, accept the smart Presto cards.
In January, the Humber Et Cetera reported that it did not appear a Presto machine would be coming to campus anytime soon, leaving students to find a machine elsewhere or load their cards online, a process that can take hours to process.
At the time, IGNITE Vice President Megan Roopnarine had just won her election race. She told The Avro Post in March that the development was was “great news”, adding that it is “much-needed for the student body”.
When asked if she will reach out to the Humber College administration to find out what movement they have made towards bringing a Presto machine to campus, Roopnarine said “that’s the plan.”
Bringing a Presto machine to campus was part of Roopnarine’s election platform as she ran to represent students at the University of Guelph-Humber. If one is added to campus, it would be a win for her advocacy.
IGNITE candidates have for years added advocating for Presto machines on campus to their platforms, but none that ended up elected have been successful thus far in their efforts.