Every September, thousands of grade 7-12 students are assigned to take OC Transpo to school. OC Transpo is a convenient option for students, allowing them the freedom to use their free Presto School Board Card for extra-curricular activities, commitments or attending part-time jobs.
A free Presto School Board Pass valid from September to June 30th will be issued to eligible students. Students will be notified by their school at the beginning of September when their Presto cards are available for pick up.
OC Transpo understands that some students who receive a PRESTO card from their school board won’t be able to pick it up before school starts. A grace period will be provided for anyone who does not have a PRESTO card yet. Rest assured that Bus Operators, Station Attendants, and other OC Transpo staff will let you on the bus or train – just let them know you’re a student and have not picked up your PRESTO Card yet. Students starting their trip to school at an O-Train Line 1 station can use the video-chat feature at the ticket machine to contact a Customer Service Representative. This year, the grace period will run until September 8, 2023.
OSTA has been working closely with OC Transpo to ensure safe public transit services for students. If you are new to public transit or would like information on how OC Transpo is handling health and safety on its buses and trains, please watch the OC Transpo Training Video here:
OC Transpo operates many designated school routes with numbers in the 600s and special school trips on other regular routes. You can find out which routes serve your school by viewing the list of schools with their corresponding routes and maps on OC Transpo’s website. You can also find out more information on what tools OC Transpo offers that make it easy for you to plan your trip, view bus stop and route schedules, detours and cancellations and check bus arrival times. Click here +
To report issues related to OC Transpo services, such as delays and cancellations, please call 613-560-5000
Subscribe to alerts at octranspo.com to receive service information about bus detours and cancelled trips. For more information about OC Transpo Alerts, visit their website. You can also follow OC Transpo on Twitter or download the OC Transpo app.
If you are a student new to PRESTO, please create a new account here.
Need help setting up your presto? Follow our online guide!
If you are a returning student with a PRESTO account, login here.
Need help setting up your presto? Follow our online guide!
The PRESTO Card with a school board pass is paid for and provided by the Ottawa Student Transportation Authority (OSTA). OSTA determines who is eligible to receive one according to its eligibility policies and procedures. OSTA has the right to cancel or “hotlist” a student’s PRESTO Card at any time – for example, if a student’s eligibility changes due to a change of address or school or if improper use of the card is suspected.
Reselling an OSTA issued PRESTO Card is prohibited and will result in the termination of the card.
The School Board Pass is valid from the first day until June 30 of that school year. As of July, students may use the blank PRESTO Card to load other OC Transpo fare products at the student’s expense. A new PRESTO Card with a School Board Pass is issued to eligible students every new school year in September.
Every September, PRESTO cards with a School Board Pass are issued to students assigned to public transit and sent directly to the schools. Each school is responsible for distributing PRESTO cards to students. Your school will notify you when your card is available for pick up.
The PRESTO School Board Card is accepted on all OC Transpo buses and the O-Train.
Students must carry a Transit Student identification card (issued to them with their PRESTO Card), a school photo identification card, or some other identification that proves they are a student. Failure to show adequate identification to a Transit Fare Enforcement Officer could result in a fine of $150.
Students should register their card to protect the balance if it’s lost, stolen or damaged. Registration allows students to get a replacement card quickly and transfer any remaining balance (school board pass).
It’s easy to do at prestocard.ca.
Returning students who had previously registered their cards can log into their existing account and add the new card to it. To add it, after logging in, click on the drop down found at the upper right corner of the webpage and select “Add an Existing Card”.
Note: Some schools take care of registering their students’ PRESTO cards. If you have not been informed of this please check with the school.
If the card is lost, stolen or damaged and has not been registered, please contact your school for assistance.
If a card is lost, stolen or damaged and has been registered, log into your account at prestocard.ca, click on Report Now and read the instructions. Alternatively, you can call PRESTO at 1-877-378-6123 to report the card lost or stolen.
While online or speaking with PRESTO, you can choose to order a replacement card for $6. The replacement card will be sent out by mail to the address in the account profile and will take 7-10 business days to arrive. Cards sent by mail will need to be activated online upon receipt as follows.
Note: There is no need to transfer the school board pass to the new card as this is already done by PRESTO.
For faster replacement, go to an OC Transpo Customer Service Centre or to authorized retail locations and buy a replacement card for $6. Do not use this card until 24 hours after you have completed the steps below. Do not create a new account, register the card, or add the card to an account.
If you have forgotten your PRESTO account username or password, go to prestocard.ca and on the Sign In page click on Forgot Username or Forgot Password. If you still cannot access your account, please contact PRESTO at 1-877-378-6123 for assistance.
Students must tap their PRESTO card on the reader each time they board the bus. Hold the card in front of the ‘tap’ symbol at the bottom of the reader. A checkmark will show on the screen if the card is valid.
As part of OC Transpo’s fall service change, school service will start on Monday, August 31. The Travel Planner will be updated with the latest service enhancements as soon as details are finalized.
We understand that many parents and students are feeling anxious about many aspects of the return to school. OC Transpo’s goal is to provide a safe, simple and stress-free return to school transportation. In collaboration with Ottawa Public Health, we continue to make transit service as safe as possible for everyone, with mandatory masks for all customers, enhanced cleaning, hand sanitizer dispensers in stations and protective shields around bus operators.
OC Transpo is working closely with all four school boards, OSTA and CTSO, on this year’s back-to-school plans. OC Transpo understands this remains an evolving situation, and we are ready to adjust our services as required. Our trip schedules are based on the most recent information, including:
In summary, OC Transpo is implementing a number of initiatives to assist with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the following:
As OC Transpo finalizes plans with OSTA details will be communicated on octranspo.com, social media, and through promotion with our partners. Students and parents should check the Travel Planner for schedules before school starts. Some details are still being finalized so they are encouraged to keep checking.
OSTA already provides Presto passes to 16,000 students in grades 7 to 12 annually. Because there is a yellow bus driver shortage, we need to allocate available yellow buses to elementary students who are too young to take transit by themselves.
Some students residing in areas with access to public transit have been moved over to public transit to ensure students receive consistent transportation to school.
OSTA and OC Transpo are working to ensure service is reliable and convenient for students assigned to public transit.
For first-time rider information, please watch the OC Transpo video above.
OSTA worked collaboratively with OC Transpo to ensure there is adequate service for students new to public transit. They have added more than 42 runs throughout the city and will continue to monitor delays and load counts daily to ensure everyone has a safe and timely trip. Please check octranspo.com for your travel plan.
OC Transpo’s bus operators (drivers) have been asked to allow any students who identify themselves as such, to get on the bus without any fare for the first week of school. This grace period gives everyone the time to get their Presto passes and ID cards for future trips.
It is unlikely that grade 7-12 students would be reassigned to yellow bus as there are many students without transportation. Any available drivers would first be assigned to elementary schools with open yellow bus routes, then elementary schools where instructional time is being negatively impacted by a temporary doubling of routes.