General FAQs

1. What is the EasyGO Fare Card?
 The EasyGO Fare Card is an electronic fare card that uses smart-card technology to store funds in a secure account. Customers can load their fare either online or in person. The EasyGO Fare Card will replace the need for paper tickets, monthly passes and cash, although cash payment will still be an option. When you tap the EasyGO Fare Card on a fare payment device, the electronic chip embedded in the card will instantly calculate the fare you owe and deduct it from your account or verify your pass.
2. Why the name EasyGO Fare Card?
 EasyGO Fare Card was chosen because it is a strong brand our customers are familiar with. It complements GRT's existing EasyGO brand of products including the trip planner, next bus text, next bus call, realtime desktop map and mobile app - all of which make taking transit easy.
3. Can I punch a hole in my EasyGO fare card?

You should not put a hole in your EasyGO fare card. Doing so will damage the card and it will not work.

4. What are the benefits of the EasyGO Fare Card?

There are a number of benefits to using the EasyGO Fare Card:

  • Tap and go fare payment
  • Seamless transfers between all GRT services, including ION light rail
  • Faster boarding and fewer delays at busy locations
  • Add stored value and passes to your card in person or online
  • Register your card to protect your balance if your card is lost or stolen
  • Create an online account to set up autoload of stored value or autorenewal of your monthly pass
  • Better data on ridership to improve scheduling and service
5. Why wasn't Presto selected?
Presto could not be selected because they did not respond to a Request for Proposals, which is a Regional requirement. Also, Presto could not provide many of the functionalities that the Region deemed essential for our system including the ability to accept payment on MobilityPLUS vehicles, the ability to integrate a U-Pass program and the ability to issue machine readable paper tickets from fare vending machines. Having our own system allows us to ensure our fare products meet our unique customer needs.
6. How do UPasses work on the new fare card?

The new student cards issued by Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo are compatible with GRT's electronic payment system. Students tap their WatCards or OneCards on the farebox when boarding the bus. The farebox will validate the UPass on their card.

Students who are not eligible for the UPass program can obtain an EasyGO fare card and load monthly passes or stored value to pay their fare.

GRT collects information about the card's use on our system, including the date and time it was used, ID of the device where it was tapped, the serial number and the student organization the card holder is associated with (e.g. Feds). GRT does not have access to any personal information about the card holder; card usage information is not linked to the student's name.

Fare products and the EasyGO fare card

7. Will I still be able to purchase reduced monthly passes, TRIP passes, corporate passes, etc?

GRT's current passes will continue to be offered but will be loaded on the EasyGO fare card. For example, if you are a senior who purchases reduced monthly passes, you will be issued a senior type EasyGO fare card that allows you to load reduced monthly passes on your card.

Your card can hold up to two passes and a maximum of $100 in stored value at a time.

8. Will I still be able to buy tickets?

GRT paper tickets will be replaced by stored value. You can load a certain amount of stored value on your card (between $10 and $100). When you tap your card on a farebox or platform card reader, your fare will be deducted from the value stored on your card. 

When you pay with stored value, the fare deducted is the same as the value of a ticket. If you currently used reduced tickets, the fare deducted from your EasyGO fare card will be the price of a reduced ticket.

The minimum load is $10, therefore you cannot load a single fare ride onto your EasyGO fare card. If you wish to ride only once, you may continue to pay cash.

9. What will happen to paper tickets?

Paper tickets are not accepted on GRT conventional buses or ION light rail. Paper tickets are only accepted on specialized MobilityPLUS vehicles from customers with a valid MobilityPLUS ID.

10. Is the discount for buying strips of tickets going away?

Paper tickets will be replaced by stored value. Paying with stored value offers a discount on the cash fare. This is the same discount currently offered by paying with paper tickets vs cash.

Using the EasyGO fare card

11. Where can I use the EasyGO Fare Card?

You can use the EasyGO fare card to pay to ride conventional buses and in the future, ION light rail. 

In the future, BusPLUS vehicles will be outfitted with mobile units for tapping the fare card. Until these are in place, just show your fare card to the driver when boarding.

The EasyGO fare card cannot be used on MobilityPLUS vehicles. MobilityPLUS customers will continue to pay with paper tickets, passes and cash until a new online pre-payment system is in place.

At this time, EasyGO fare cards cannot be used on Kiwanis Transit vehicles. Customers can continue to buy tickets and passes from Kiwanis Transit. More information will be provided at a later date.

 

12. Can I pay for another person travelling with me?

You can pay for another person or group of people if you are boarding the bus and have stored value on your card. When you board, let the operator know how many people you are paying for. They will enter the number on the farebox, and the farebox will display the total fare. Touch your card to the smart card target to pay the fare.

Please note: All of the transfers for your group will be loaded on your card. If your group splits up at a transfer point, the other members will not have transfers. The group payment option is intended for customers travelling together to their final destination.

The group payment option is not available on ION light rail.

13. Can GO train riders still get the 50¢ Connect-to-GO fare?

GO Transit riders with a valid Presto card can have a Connect-to-GO flag set on their EasyGO fare card. When the card is tapped on the farebox, the full stored value fare will be deducted; when tapped again on a device at the Kitchener Train Station, the fare minus 50¢ will be refunded to your card.

To have the Connect-to-GO flag set on your EasyGO fare card, you will need to provide your Presto card number.

The Connect-to-GO flag is not available yet on the EasyGO fare card. GO train riders should continue to show the operator their Presto card or valid GO Transit ticket and deposit 50¢ in the farebox.

 14. How do transfers work?

When you pay your fare with the EasyGO fare card, your transfer is loaded directly on the card. If you tap your card on a farebox or ION card reader within 90 minutes, the system will read your transfer.

If you pay your fare with cash, you will need to insert your coins, then press the Transfer button on the farebox to print a transfer. The transfer has a barcode and the expiry date and time printed on it. When you transfer to a bus or ION light rail within 90 minutes, hold the barcode face down over the scanner and it will read your transfer.

Managing your card online

15. Why does it take up to 24-48 hours for my online load to appear on my card?

When you load your card online, the transaction is added to the EasyGO database. GRT buses aren’t  connected to the EasyGO network while they’re on the road. When buses return to the garage, they connect to the network and download all of the transactions that were processed since the last time they were in the garage.

Some buses return to the garage in the middle of the day, and your online load would be available on those buses within a couple of hours. However, on busy routes, buses only return to the garage overnight. So if you load your card online at 6 a.m., your load may not be ready on all buses until the following morning. And if there is an error downloading the data to the farebox, it could take another day for the farebox to be updated.

Here's an example $10 load:

Diagram of how tapping a card on the farebox completes an online load

If you want to be sure of having funds available on your card right away, you can load in person at a fare vending machine or visit customer service. Or you can set up an autoload so that funds are automatically added to your card when the balance drops below $10. 

16. Why doesn't my balance online match what it showed on the farebox?

It can take up to 24-48 hours for your balance and transaction history to be updated in your online account.

GRT buses aren't connected to the EasyGO network while they're on the road. When they return to the garage, they connect to the network and the farebox uploads all of the transactions it processed that day. Then your online balance is updated.

So which balance is correct? The balance displayed on the farebox screen when you tap your card is your current balance.

Image of the farebox screen with a stored value payment

 

17. I have an autorenewal set up on my card. When will my pass be loaded?

Autorenewal transactions are processed on the 25th of the month. This will give time for the payment to clear and the pass to be loaded on your card before the first day of the next month.

18. How do I know my online load was applied to my card?

When you tap your card on the farebox and your pass or stored value is loaded, the screen will show "Card updated" and you'll hear a special tone on the farebox.