Maybe its time to steal transit ideas from Burlington?

Whoa, it’s been a while.

I’ve decided to try this blogging thing again. Basically, I spend enough time thinking about things, I might as well write them down in some place. Besides, with a municipal election coming up in 2014, I’ll probably have things to say from the peanut gallery sidelines.

Anyway, let’s ease into this by talking about Presto’s upcoming “upgrades”. If you are of the handful of often-frustrated people that use the Presto online services, you’ll probably know that they are starting a software upgrade today. There will be some service interruptions as they upgrade software so that (among other things) funds actually show up on your card right away.

That’ll be a nice change, but really just brings the system in line with how we expect stored-value cards to work in 2014. But what if we were to upgrade Presto so that it made some of the harder decisions, like whether or not you needed a pass in a given month, for you?

Presto keeps a log of how often you use the bus over the course of the month. You can even claim the transit tax credit if you take enough single trips. What if, after you’ve spent a certain amount of money or taken a certain number of trips, it just stopped charging you for future trips? Basically, you get a monthly pass after you’ve paid for one.

Crazy talk, right? I mean, that probably would require a whole re-working of the system and some re-programming that would take a pile of money and time.

Nope. That’s actually how Presto works in a bunch of the GTA communities where it was first implemented. Some are monthly (Oakville, Burlington), a bunch work weekly (Mississauga, Hamilton). Cutely, most even call it a “loyalty program”, rewarding you for using the bus. I suppose it’s more compelling than telling people that they inadvertently bought a bus pass.

Basically, Presto doesn’t work this way in Ottawa because no one has thought to make it work that way. It’s a no-cost way of improving the transit user experience in Ottawa, and a new feature might even build a little good will following the debacle that was Presto’s roll out.






Radio Topics, July 31st

We’ve got an exciting show lined up today- at 8:30 I’ll be speaking with the President of the Hintonburg Community Association, Jeffrey Leiper, about the goings on in the community, including concerns about developer access to planning staff at City Hall and proposals for new condo towers.

We’ll also touch on some of the following:

Occupy Ottawa was handled fairly by police

Settle soon, school boards told

One weekend into the Olympics, and already some results might be too good to be true

Goodbye, Coliseum building

…and perhaps the more famous Coliseum building as well.

More mortgage rate wars

To the beemobile!

Radio Topics, May 29

What a show we have for you today! At 8:00, I’ll speak with Jaime Alexanderson about the Cycling For Sight event taking place in Ottawa this weekend. At 8:30, Adam will speak with Wanda Gibson about the “Save the Gatineau” concert taking place this Thursday at the Carleton.

We’ll also touch on some of the following:

So long, Sunday Citizen. So longer, big portions of postmedia editorial staff.

Rob Ford quit weighing himself in public.

BC parents vote to limit wifi in schools.

…but at least they’ll have a family day!

Thomas Mulcair’s had 11 mortgage’s on the same house

Lightning strike kills teen in Ottawa.

Radio Topics, May 1st

Happy May Day! Once again, we’ll be joined this week at 8:00 AM by Caron Cheng from MEC to talk about Bikefest on May 13th. We’ll also be talk with people from the Otesha project. At 8:30, we’ll speak with Risa Sargent from CfSC about their Tulips on Two Wheels event on May 5th.

We’ll also talk about some of the following:

Quebec student protests are ongoing, students move to negotiate.

More Royals are coming! It’s costing money!

Nonsense story of the week: Canada’s bank “bailout”

Friends of Lansdowne lose again.

Someone took Marc Garneau’s space ships.

Radio Topics, April 24

Happy Tuesday!

This week we’ll continue our weekly conversations with the fine folks organizing MEC bikefest. At 8:05, Caron Cheng will update on us on what’s going on with prep for that event, and we’ll also speak with Connie Lebrun from CHEO, who is helping to coordinate CN Cycle, which raises money for the hospital.

We’ll also touch on some of the following:

Alberta had an election. Someone was elected. Find out who!

Toronto Catholic schools to require students to sing national anthem a cappella.

Kingston Penn to close. Museum to open?

Afghan interpreters get a second shot at coming to Canada

Which is better- public or private schools?

Moratorium on arctic fishing?

Radio Topics, April 17

Happy Tuesday! We’ve got an exciting show lined up. At 8:05, we’ll continue our build up to MEC’s annual bikefest, chatting with some of the folks behind the Right Bike Program in Hintonburg. At 8:30, we’ll talk with Julia Sterpam and Nancy Oakley of Heritage Ottawa about their event on the history of Lebreton this Thursday.
We’ll also touch on some of the following:

Barrhaven pile-on for decision to rebuild downtown Ottawa school.

Government was encouraged not to be “cheerleaders” for the oilpatch.

It’s 30 years of the Charter! Most of us wouldn’t give up rights, say polls. Harper thinks its  a bit controversial.

More BC Teachers labour strife.

And we hear about how the Wildrose party is bad for healthcare.

Ottawa axes program designed to reduce recidivism

A human rabies diagnosis, in Toronto.

Radio Topics, April 10

I hope that everyone had a great weekend! This tuesday, at 8am we’ll speak with Caron Cheng of Mountain Equipment Co-Op about their upcoming bikefest. We’ll also touch on some of the following:

We may be getting rid of the penny, but we are getting glow-in-the-dark quarters.

Helene Campbell gets her lungs.

Target being reviewed for “cultural content”

Gideon ban in one Ontario School District coming

Parliament’s statues to become a little more user friendly

Radio Topics, April 2nd

Welcome to April! We’ve got an exciting show lined up. At 8:30, we’ll speak with Ian Lee about a recent move by Canada’s yogurt cartel to stop a competitor from setting up shop.

We’ll also touch on some of the following:

Say goodbye to the penny, the notion that you might retire at 65.

We need to do a better job communicating about pandemics.

Payphones may cost a $1?

Demonstrating that people have no value for their own time, people lined up for hours to get cheap gas in Toronto

AG report could spark F-35 review

Five bad habits to lead to an early grave

Radio Topics, March 27th

The Junos are in town this week, and so are all sorts of bands.

Brothels legalized!

Ontario budget Day! Freezes a coming: Salaries! Welfare!

Alberta heads to the polls!

Transgendered women kicked out of Miss Universe pageant

BC Goes after the polygamists

Ghost ship making its way to BC

US commits to reducing nuclear weapons arsenal.

James Cameron goes in the Abyss

Peggy’s Cove lighthouse needs new owner.

Radio Topics, March 20th

Happy Tuesday! We’ve got an exciting show lined up, so tune in at 7am on CKCU!

At 8:05, we’ll speak with Citizen’s for Safe Cycling President Hans Moor about their Spring Cycling Celebration, taking place this Saturday. At 8:30, we’ll speak with Tokunbo Ojo, a professor at the School of Journalism, about an event they are hosting today on the KONY 2012 videos.

We’ll also touch on some of this:

What, Toronto-Danforth stays orange?

NCC sticks to market-rate policy.

Ottawa’s unwieldy twitter policy

AG looking at F-35.

Tories take a salvo at Rae

Sex-starved fruit flies find solace in alcohol.