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PRESTO Background

In 2006, through a Request for Proposal (RFP) procurement process overseen by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation and certified by a Fairness Commissioner, Accenture was awarded a 10-year contract to design, build and operate the PRESTO e-fare system. Accenture is a global management consultancy specializing in the development and deployment of technology solutions.

The contract was awarded for a 10-year period as this term was deemed appropriate by both the Ministry of Transportation and Accenture to design, build and execute early deployment of the e-fare system based on the complexity and scale of the contract scope and terms of reference from other international e-fare deployments.

The PRESTO system has grown from the original GO Transit deployment, with seven participating transit agencies in the suburban area of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA), to include the largest transit systems in the province including OC Transpo and the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) as well as UP Express.

Metrolinx finalized an agreement in 2016 to extend its contract with Accenture to ensure the continued stability, quality and advancement of the PRESTO system, which is enabling over two million cardholders to travel seamlessly across 11 transit systems.

This agreement is good news for both customers and transit agencies and will strengthen PRESTO’s position as a leading fare card system. It ensures customers and transit agency partners will continue to enjoy PRESTO as it expands across the TTC, the largest transit system in the country and the third-largest in all of North America.

The original contract included provisions to extend the contract for nine years, in three-year increments. These provisions provide the basis for the six-year extension, with the option to terminate after three years. Metrolinx thoroughly evaluated the contract extension agreement against the current market and with the advice of an independent expert advisory committee.

After 10 years of partnering with Accenture to develop, operate and expand the PRESTO system, Metrolinx is able to realize significant savings through this agreement — an average of 21 per cent each year compared to the original contract.

Today, PRESTO is designed to be deployed across multiple transit agencies, integrated across multiple municipal jurisdictions and leveraged effectively and efficiently with new technology advancements as they develop. This mandate makes PRESTO considerably more sophisticated from most other international e-fare deployments.

This approach best maximizes the investment being made by the Province of Ontario and to ensure an e-fare system with significant comparable longevity to other global e-fare initiatives.

The first PRESTO deployment was at select GO Transit stations as a pilot project in 2007 and in 2009 a phased roll out was initiated to all of the participating “905” municipal transit agencies in the GTHA including full implementation across the GO network.

In December 2007, the City of Ottawa approved participation in PRESTO on the city’s transit system, OC Transpo. The PRESTO system deployed in Ottawa is an enhanced system from the original GO Transit deployment.

In July 2011, PRESTO became an operating division of Metrolinx.

In November 2012, Metrolinx and the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) signed a Master Agreement for PRESTO to begin full deployment throughout the TTC. Rollout is now underway with PRESTO scheduled to be available at all TTC subway stations, buses, streetcars, and para transit vehicles by the end of 2016 – a year ahead of originally planned.

In 2011, Metrolinx engaged Grant Thornton, a risk management, accounting and business advisory firm, to assess PRESTO’s value for money. In its report Grant Thornton concluded that the overall PRESTO program to date compared favourably to similar projects internationally and in consideration of its technological sophistication.

Additionally, Coulter Osborne, former Associate Chief Justice of Ontario and former Integrity Commissioner of Ontario, was engaged by Metrolinx to review the fairness of implementing PRESTO “Next Generation” technology enhancements, as a fourth initiative, through the expansion of the existing agreement. Mr. Osborne concluded that expansions to Ottawa and TTC were contemplated in the original Request for Proposal and in the Agreement; consequently, Mr. Osborne saw no fairness concerns in dealing with the expanded Project scope using the change management provisions of the 2006 Agreement.

The following documents encompass procurement of PRESTO technology. These documents are available to the public upon request.

1. Request for Proposal for Greater Toronto Area (GTA) e-fare system
2. Master Supply and Services Agreement between the Ministry of Transportation and Accenture
3. Greater Toronto Area (GTA) E-fare System Procurement Governance Agreement
4. Greater Toronto Area (GTA) E-Fare System Operating Agreement
5. Greater Toronto Area (GTA) E-Fare System Technical Specifications (same as Appendix G in Item 1)

PRESTO Intellectual Property Agreement

In November 2012, Metrolinx finalized an agreement with our PRESTO contractor regarding ownership of the PRESTO and PRESTO Next Generation systems. As per this agreement, Metrolinx owns the Canadian rights to the PRESTO intellectual property and the contractor owns the global rights. This agreement is important as it provides clarity for the ownership of the intellectual property of the PRESTO system, and protects Metrolinx’ rights in the PRESTO system. In recognition of the value created in developing this world class system, Metrolinx is positioned to reap future financial benefits should the system be successfully marketed elsewhere.