Ontario Crown agency Metrolinx used its April 26th, 2018 board of directors meeting to show off the upcoming Presto Mobile application.
The app is set to launch in three phases, with the first phase to arrive sometime later in 2018.
According to Karyn Allicock, manager of business development for Presto, users will be able to add up to 10 cards to the app. Presto Mobile is also expected to work with all 11 transit agencies in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA).
While the app is set to work with both Android and iOS smartphones, only NFC-capable devices will be able to maximize the app’s full potential.
The app’s first phase — the primary launch of Presto Mobile — will allow users to manage their Presto accounts, as well as load up their Presto cards with funds. NFC-capable Android devices will also be able to immediately load funds onto a Presto card by simply tapping the card against the device.
Thoum Hounsell, manager of product management for Presto said that the team is currently in talks with Apple to bring a similar feature to iOS devices.
When the app’s first phase launches, however, iOS users will only be able to manage their accounts and top up their cards. Users will also have to wait the customary 24 hours before their cards are fully reloaded.
The app’s second phase is expected to transform NFC-capable smartphones into complete Presto card replacements. Once the second phase launches, users will be able to tap their smartphones against Presto card readers in order to pay for trips.
The third and final phase will bring total trip planning capabilities to Presto Mobile.
“Being able to use your phone to both manage your account as well as pay for transit is really the next phase that we’re really committed to work on,” said Annalise Czerny, the executive vice president of Presto for Metrolinx.
Czerny also mentioned that the goal isn’t to completely phase out Presto card-use among Metrolinx’s ridership.
“A large proportion of our customers will always use a card,” said Czenry.