A brand new Presto Reader has been installed at College Station!
Unfortunately, I’m not that excited about it. The new reader looks a lot less user friendly than the older style reader, pictured next, photo courtesy of the official Presto flickr account:So what’s wrong with the new reader? My thoughts:
- The older reader has a great flat face, with a clearly marked and large area to tap your card. The newer reader moves the area further down, and if the black bump is any indication, makes the area to tap your card smaller.
- The newer display is a waste of space, and no doubt drives up the cost of the unit. The old unit could easily display Please Proceed, the transaction details and Out of Order information.
- The new unit appears to be installed by Parkeon, whereas the rest of the GTA is using Thales readers. Given the imbroglio in Ottawa with faulty readers from another contractor, I feel like it would be in Presto’s best interest to keep Thales uniform across the GTHA for the sake of simplicity.
Even with these problems, both readers are positioned in a poor place. If a Presto card does produce an error, you have to back up and look at it. Every other smart card system in the world has done it right and have their readers integrated on the top of the turnstile, with simple lights to let you know of an issue.
Also, logos for debit and major credit cards are mysteriously absent from the reader. This doesn’t mean it may not be working, and tomorrow I’m definitely going to go check out my luck with my AmEx and Mastercard to see if I have any luck. Look forward to the update!
Update 12/07/2012: Tried to use a MasterCard this morning, the display gave an “invalid card error” with a big red X. However, my Presto card worked just fine.
Lastly, given the huge importance of the TTC’s Presto implementation, I wish they’d have a little discourse with the public on how things are going to work, and ask for input. I feel like if this design of a reader was put to the public, it would be shot down in favour of the older one. As well, changing to this system will be a huge shock, and who knows how well the TTC will advertise and educate riders on the new system.