Para Transpo users welcome changes

An accessibility advocate is applauding city staff for recommending Para Transpo accept Presto cards loaded with monthly passes.

“It is good news and OC Transpo has been working a lot with people to make changes,” said Catherine Gardner.

In the past, she said, there was a rather frosty relationship but now “staff are working with the community and that’s a big change.”

Para Transpo users could start using the smartcard in November, pending the transit commission’s approval.

Gardner sent an e-mail Wednesday asking Para users and companions to attend the meeting to express appreciation for positive change.

“We are expecting this to pass unanimously,” said Gardner.

Under the new guidelines, Para Transpo users and their companions with a monthly pass can choose to show their Presto card with a receipt as proof of purchase, or continue using a paper pass.

For those opting for the smartcard, “it’s going to mean that we’re not stuck going to OC Transpo client service centres,” said Gardner, adding she reloads her card online.

Gardner said she rides OC Transpo and Para Transpo and is fond of the flexibility the Presto card offers — something she found out when she acquired a card eight months ago.

She’s hoping this move helps the “many seniors” who use the system.

“The numbers are constantly growing,” said Gardner.

The transit commission meets next Wednesday.

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