Joshua Freeman,

Published Monday, December 24, 2018 2:20PM EST

Last Updated Monday, December 24, 2018 3:04PM EST


The public launch of a mobile app for Presto Card users has been delayed until next year.

Metrolinx had said that the app would launch publicly in 2018. However Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins told Monday that the agency decided to release a limited beta version instead so that they could gather more feedback before releasing the app to the general public.

Aikins said the app was originally made available to Metrolinx family and friends to garner feedback, but the development team decided that they needed more feedback from the general public.

“They wanted more people that weren’t really super familiar with Presto, because the less familiar you are with a service, the more able you are to identify issues or things that don’t make sense because it’s hard to ignore all the things you know in your head already,” Aikins said.

Metrolinx released the beta version on Dec. 13, which can be downloaded through the Google Play store or to the iPhone through the TestFlight app. The release is limited to 10,000 downloads per platform.

The app allows users to check their trip history and balance and set up autoload or autorenew features. Android users will also be able to tap their Presto cards to their phones in order to reload funds to their card.

While the app will not allow users to tap their phones instead of using their Presto cards at fare gates, Aikins said that sort of function is a long-term goal that the agency hopes to eventually incorporate.

The first public release of the Presto app is now expected to come sometime in January, Aikins said.

The app delay comes amid an effort by the provincial transit agency to push TTC users to the platform ahead of the phase-out of monthly TTC Metropasses. The monthly plastic Metropasses will be discontinued as of Dec. 31. TTC riders will still be able to purchase monthly passes for unlimited TTC use, but they will have to do so through the Presto platform.

“We have an urgent need right now, which is to move as many TTC customers onto Presto as soon as possible,” Aikins said. “We’re wanting to avoid lineups at the end of the year, with people coming up to January 1 and going ‘oh darn, I don’t have my Metropass.’”

Staff will be on-hand at stations to help riders make the transition through the purchasing period for January TTC passes, Aikins said. The purchase window has also been extended into the new year for those who are making the transition.

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