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January 31, 2013

Michael Richardson
Michael's musings
» First Experiences using PrestoCard

Our arrived in the mail on Monday. Hard to blame prestocard for taking 10 days to get them to us, more likely it's Canada Post's Dark Delivery regime... we are still getting Xmas cards.

So Meaghan went to work with the Prestocard on Tuesday. It worked fine in the morning. Normal route is 16 or 151-westboro-95 to Bayview, O-train to Greenboro, and if the number 43 driver decides he is picking up passengers, she can avoid a dangerous walk along a usually snow covered non-existant sidewalk north on Bank Street, one stop.

Things went okay on the way. The presto card site noticed what stop she got on. She didn't swipe on the O-train. Should she? She got on the 43, and it saw that too. Curiously, it doesn't say what actual bus route she was on...

The trip home wasn't as good. It saw at location "15", which was the bus back to the O-Train, and then, 27 minutes later, it charged her another half fare (one ticket), at Bayview to come home. No idea why, we asked.

She had noticed this situation on the scanner, and so we checked that night, and everything looked okay last night, but when we looked today, the system had caught up to the extra fare.

We were checking because I tried to yesterday to see if my prestocard had been loaded correctly with my Feb. Bus pass. On Tuesday it gave me a red and told me to see customer service. Oh no, I think... will it work on Friday morning? Today, on my way home, using my paper January pass, I swiped my prestocard again... the machine happily announced that I had been charged a $2.60 fare.

Huh I think? Does it mean... I'm good for a $2.60 fare, or does it mean, that it's gonna try to deduct from me? So far, it hasn't done anything yet. I'll see tomorrow.

My opinion is that it should have simply said: "Your february bus pass will be valid 2013-02-01. See driver if you need to pay a fare"

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January 18, 2013

Michael Richardson
Michael's musings
» Impressions of PrestoCard Site

I visited the Rideau Centre this morning to attempt to obtain a PrestoCard for myself (Monthly pass), my wife (she uses tickets 3 days/week), and my son (1 ticket every week or so). I also wanted a spare card for when my other-in-law visits. She drives from Farrhaven to our house, and takes the bus with us downtown because she is afraid to drive downtown.

The lineup at the rideau centre was basically out the door, and management seemed to be doing a good job of dealing with the unexpected number of people, but waiting an hour wasn't in my todo list today, so I proceeded to work.

I sat down at my comptuer and went to, and was led to

javascript needs to be turned on this site. I use NoScript to keep me safe from stupid things. The site should be useable for people without javascript. This is a simple requirement for a site to be accessible to people who have various disabilities. (and there is no reason for the moneris site to need javascript. none)

So, the first use of javascript is to popup a window to show me the usage agreement for the site. That's uselessly long. TOO LONG DIDN'T READ. And it's in a small little window, very hard to read, impossible to change the font size (can you say "Senior citizens"), I didn't find a way to print it. I didn't try copy and pasting it. How will I know if it changes? PLEASE FIRE THE LAWYER WHO WROTE THIS. IT IS USELESS. Visit

I walked through the process for my first, card, saw the button "Edit Products", and clicked on it, before I hit pay. Oops, you lost all of the form entry bits. That's really a loss. I tried logging in again, only to realize that actually, you haven't even created my account yet. The technical term for this failure is that your site is not RESTful. This means your web development guys are back in 1998. The .aspx extension on he URLs would seem to confirm that.

I went through things again, and went to payment, at which point I discovered that Moneris really does suck. Once I enable javascript, it gets all confused, so I had to start again.

Now that you have lost my payment, I come back, and discover that I have an account now. Apparently you don't create an account until I click on "Pay", which is a serious mistake in user flow. Oh, since you check to see if my username is unique (rather than using my email address. DUH. Good web people figured that awhile ago), at the page where I enter it, by the time I get to payment, actually, it could already be in use.

so I ask for a card, and I'm asked to view the user agreement again. Another fail. I already agreed to it.

so I click on "get a card" on the left, when I get to payment for my wife's card, and I get myself a card, I get to payment, and you have forgotten about first card. Okay, so you don't really have a shopping cart.

finally, I ordered two cards, having to do two credit card transactions. I've very glad that you are putting the credit card transactions elsewhere, because if it was processed through your site, I would not be using it.

I happened to return to the contact us page (in another tab), to enter another comment, and noticed that the contactus page had expired. WAT? It's a contactus page, there shouldn't be any state at all associated with it.

Given that the web people have had an extra 8 months to fix any issues, I am pretty upset about the quality of this interface. I will have to use this site 6-8 times a year, I really expect it to work properly. I have done sites like this in 6-8 weeks, and they worked way better than this.