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Locked: [Merged] GO Presto vs. GO Monthly Pass

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Mar 12, 2011
317 posts
6 upvotes

[Merged] GO Presto vs. GO Monthly Pass

a quick question for GO transit users:

- which one is better recommended?

- if i travel every workday on the GO along the same route (say, Bronte - Union and back), would it be "cheaper" to buy a GO presto or GO monthly pass? have you guys made a computation on whats the breakeven point for the trip to make it better to use GO monthly passes?

my sample computation works out to this:

say, i go to work 18 days in a month -- the GO website says

you get 7.5% off from rides 1-35 and 87.5% off from rides 36-40 and 100% off from ride 41-onward (so long as they're all in a month)

so in this case: bronte - union one trip $7.25 x 7.5% off x 35 rides = $234.85
on ride 36 (for my trip home on day 18) = $7.25 x 87.5% off x 1 ride = $0.90 (is this correct?)
so total = $235.75 for the month vs. $239 for the monthly pass

if i go >20 days per month round trip (eg. 40 trips) -- GO Presto ends up more expensive by $0.40 -- is that correct??! ($239.40 vs $239)

hence it still makes sense to GO via Presto if you work <20 days per month (assuming my computation is correct and i get a tax credit for the $235.75). but it makes more sense to buy a monthly pass if >20 days (>40 trips per month) (not sure about tax credit - see next question).

- what i am also trying to figure out is: how does one get a "tax credit" on the GO Presto though? (has anyone tried it? i asked and they said you can do it "online").

many thanks. I tried to ask the GO station attendant but they were unsure which one is cheaper, only saying that you can get tax credit "online" and that Presto is better -- but I am not sure why it would be better...
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Deal Guru
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Apr 4, 2001
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A few thoughts:

- a monthly pass is more convenient. You don't have to swipe anything. But it's only a good value if you travel almost every workday

- you can't yet use Presto on the buses, and sometimes a bus is necessary if you miss the last train or need to travel on weekends on some lines

- the tax credit is the standard 15% credit you can claim on your T1. You don't need to file any proof with your T1, just need evidence handy. You need to travel a certain number of times per month to qualify. So, if you filed and the government needed proof in an audit, you'd probably need to print proof off the Presto website to show your travel history.

- Presto is probably a good idea on months where you take vacation and won't be travelling every day. I am going to get a Presto card for occasions like this. If I take a week off one month, combined with work-from-home arrangements, a monthly pass can end up costing more.

There's a formula for figuring out how much you pay on Presto. It's based on the number of trips you take between the same two points in a month. Up to a certain number of trips, it's roughly equivalent to using 10-rides. After that, it gets way cheaper, and then there's another cutoff point after which every ride is free. I think the idea is to make it roughly the same cost as a monthly pass.
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Dec 24, 2008
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Mississauga
Go Pass all the way for regular commuring. First, you get a 15% refund on your monthly pass, which (if you purchase 12 months) is the equivalent of 2 monthly passes. I used to buy 10 rides for months where I was taking vacation, but it actually works out better to buy the pass for the full discount at the end of the year. Second, on weekends a guest can ride for free on your monthly pass (2 for 1). Third - I have been audited the past 2 years for my Go Pass claim and it was a quick and easy process to just copy my passes and fax them off - had it resolved in no time.

I don't like Presto as I do not take the bus and find it inconvenient to have to remember to tap a machine every ride - half the time I did use a 10 ride I kept forgetting to punch it lol

If you take the same GO trip each time you travel within a calendar month, your GO fare* will be:

• Rides 1 – 35, 7.5%** off the single adult GO fare

• Rides 36 – 40, 87.5%** off the single adult GO fare

• Rides 41+, 100%** off the single adult GO fare

If you do not take the exact same trip each time you travel on GO within a calendar month, your first 35 rides on GO will be 7.5%** off the single adult GO fare*. For rides 36 and onwards, your discount will be based on the value of the rides you’ve taken that month.
[OP]
Member
Mar 12, 2011
317 posts
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thanks guys. ive decided to GO Presto for now since it seems that's the best for me (eg. 18 day workmonth = 36 rides = better value for this month, at least). my initial computations are indeed correct.

in essence, GO Presto works for me as i sometimes take a few days off a month so long as i take 32 rides per month. however it is indeed not for everyone (and you guys pointed out some reasons, bus, etc). in my case, my hours are always regular (and dont anticipate to take buses ever) and i never take the GO on weekends so Presto seems to work best.

also spoke with GO Presto rep/customer service (surprisingly efficient, for now) who mentioned how i can download my transit credit sheets by next year (for a total amount) and how i can log on online every month to see my month's transactions. so that takes care of the tax credit thing-y.

short answer to my question which i posted: it really depends for each person truth be told. i am just lucky the GO Presto pass works in favor of my work / usage pattern. if im taking it >40 trips per month however (which i rarely ever do), it seems GO Monthly Passs works best. as well if youre taking it <32 trips per month, GO Presto may still work but 10 day passes might even be better.

thanks again
Deal Addict
Mar 18, 2008
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I take the Richmond Hill line and I believe they are making it available in the next few months.

They handed out pamphlets today so I was doing a bit of math.

Our single ride fare is $5.45. So with the discount for the first 35 rides, it equals $176.44. From rides 36-40, the price is $3.40. So in total from rides 1-40, the total price is about $179.84. Our monthly pass is $180.00 so it looks like the price will more or less be the same. If you ask me I'd take the monthly pass for the convenience of not having to swipe the card.
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Sep 14, 2003
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AFAIK, in all instances, Presto saves you more money. The downsides to it is that you have to swipe your card every trip vs. just walking on your train with a monthly pass. You will inevitably save a bit of money with Presto, as sick days and vacation days end up saving you the costs of commuting.

I've been using Presto now for 4 months and it's alright, but it's a PIA to swipe every day. Advantage: if you connect your credit card to the Presto system, you never need to wait in line to get your monthly pass - a BIG benefit for me.
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wszeto28 wrote:
Apr 4th, 2011 12:24 pm
If you ask me I'd take the monthly pass for the convenience of not having to swipe the card.

+1

The people's it's best for are people who also use a bus to get to the station. A number of transit systems now support Presto on their buses.

I'd also use it if I was using 10-rides because the price is pretty much the same and those 10-ride cancelling machines can be a pain sometimes.
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Mar 2, 2009
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danfromwaterloo wrote:
Apr 4th, 2011 12:32 pm
AFAIK, in all instances, Presto saves you more money. The downsides to it is that you have to swipe your card every trip vs. just walking on your train with a monthly pass. You will inevitably save a bit of money with Presto, as sick days and vacation days end up saving you the costs of commuting.

I've been using Presto now for 4 months and it's alright, but it's a PIA to swipe every day. Advantage: if you connect your credit card to the Presto system, you never need to wait in line to get your monthly pass - a BIG benefit for me.

So at this time Presto is to Monthly pass as Savings is to Time (convenience), basically?
Deal Fanatic
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Dec 22, 2005
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Don't forget that your monthly pass is only good for the purchased month while Presto can be used anytime. So if you buy a monthly pass and then decide not to use it or maybe you don't need it anymore you're SOL. Refunds for passes are always given out on a pro-rated basis until the cutoff date.

If you decide to end your use of Presto, you can get all (I believe) unused cash on the card refunded.

It may not save you a lot of money but it is far more secure and flexible.

BTW Presto on the GO buses is coming soon.... ;)
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Red Green
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Mar 18, 2008
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Any of you know how the GO train ticket checkers check to see if you've paid your fare? Do they have some sort of device that checks to see if it's paid or not?
Deal Guru
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wszeto28 wrote:
Apr 4th, 2011 2:08 pm
Any of you know how the GO train ticket checkers check to see if you've paid your fare? Do they have some sort of device that checks to see if it's paid or not?

Handheld device that they swipe your card to check. I've been checked twice since I switched to Presto.
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Nov 9, 2009
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I agree it's more of a hassle, but It just become available at richmond hill yesterday and I just picked up my presto card today. I've talked to many co-workers with it, and it does offer flixibility and security.

If you lose your monthly pass, you're screwed. but presto can block your card (you're still responsible for fares 24 hour AFTER you report it lost, which is pretty stupid), and you can tranfer remaining balance onto a new card.

The other advantage is sick days/vacations.

I think with the tax credit, if you work 15 days or more a month ~ like that...my wife worked it out before, a monthly pass is cheaper than 10 rides...having to calculate and anticipate is annoying so this saves the uncertainty.

Lining up to buy monthly passes at the end of the month is a big pain....Richmond Hill station isn't open on the commute back home, so I have to buy it either in the morning (too rushed) or I haev to wait a long time at union.

All that is I think a fair trade off between having to "tap on" at union every day, which is quite annoying...
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Nov 15, 2004
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They should offer accessories for the Presto card. I stuck mine under my Blackberry cover and just tap my phone whenever I use it, but it doesn't fit the skin 100%. I've heard that the similar card they use in Hong Kong has all sorts of non-card options for the RFID chip, like watch straps, key chains, etc. It'd be nice if they started offering stuff like that here, or at least allowed you to trim the card however you like.
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Piro21 wrote:
Apr 21st, 2011 11:01 am
They should offer accessories for the Presto card. I stuck mine under my Blackberry cover and just tap my phone whenever I use it, but it doesn't fit the skin 100%. I've heard that the similar card they use in Hong Kong has all sorts of non-card options for the RFID chip, like watch straps, key chains, etc. It'd be nice if they started offering stuff like that here, or at least allowed you to trim the card however you like.

Coming soon to a station near you....

Keep watching the Union concourse... ;)
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Red Green
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Any of you know how the refunds work? I was on the website and they mentioned that if you trade in your monthly pass you get refunded a certain amount. If i traded in my pass today, would they refund an amount thats enough to cover me for the rest of April?
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