The new Presto e-fare payment system is billed as “a major contributor to improving customer service,” in OC Transpo’s updated business plan.
But Transpo employees won’t necessarily be the ones stepping up their client satisfaction game.
Ottawa bus riders who have smart-card related issues will be dealing with representatives from Presto’s customer service call centre in Thorold, in the Niagara region.
“Our call centres talk to one another, so it’s a co-ordinated effort,” said Presto’s managing director and executive vice-president Steve Zucker.
Presto is already being used in the Greater Toronto/Hamilton area.
“We don’t want to bounce our customers, or Ottawa’s customers, around,” said Zucker.
“The goal is to get your call answered by the first person you’re calling. Can’t always be that way, but for the most part, that’s our goal.”
Transpo customers, by default, become Presto customers.
Ottawa’s transit boss John Manconi listed Presto as one of his 12 priorities for 2012.
Presto cards “will eliminate complicated interactions between customers and operators, expand user options for fare purchases (by the Internet, as well as by phone, in person, or by mail), and simplify the fare system,” reads the plan.
Kiosks will also be set up by Presto.
Over the next two months, more than 900 Transpo riders will test-drive the smart-card.
When the program launches July 1, “Customers will be encouraged to contact Presto directly for any concerns related to either their Presto card or Presto account,” wrote Transpo’s manager of customer services and information, Charmaine Williams, in an e-mail.
“Concerns related to the service provided by OC Transpo can be provided through our regular service channels (www.octranspo.com, OC Transpo call centre, OC Transpo sales and information centres).”
To educate riders and ensure they know where to turn, Transpo is finalizing a comprehensive plan for next month’s distribution of 200,000 free cards, wrote Williams.
“Each card will be accompanied by an OC Transpo flyer advising customers of how to use their card and who to contact if they have any comments or concerns regarding the use of the Presto fare system.”
The toll-free number is 1-8-PRESTO-123 (1-877-378-6123).
And hitting ‘0’ to bypass the automated instructions won’t take you directly to an operator.