A Hamilton Street Railway bus, operating as a 8-York, passing the Central Branch of the Hamilton Public Library in December 2021 Credit: Joey Coleman

HPL will begin the distribution of free children’s PRESTO cards on Friday, February 18.
Details will be posted to the HPL website at this address: https://hpl.ca/bus-card

Original December 2021 story:

The Hamilton Public Library will distribute free PRESTO cards for children ages 6 to 12, beginning after Family Day, February 21, 2022.

Hamilton City Council approved a free transit fare pilot for children between the ages of 6 to 12 until April 30, 2023 as part of the Hamilton Street Railway’s post-COVID efforts to encourage people to return to public transit.

Families must purchase a PRESTO card to be able to board buses without paying a fare. The usual charge for a PRESTO card is $6.00.

The Library is covering the card cost thanks to an anonymous $25,000 donation for youth initiatives. The Library says they have an additional donor pledge of $6,000 which will be added to the initiative.

HPL Director of Collection and Program Development Lisa Radha Weaver tells the Library Board they expect to purchase approximately 5,000 cards with the funds.

Children will require a library card to receive the PRESTO pass.

“We hope this program will both give children “Freedom to Discover” their City on the HSR and will also encourage children that are not yet members to join HPL,” Weaver states. “As we promote this service, we will also remind Hamiltonians that a Library Card gets you free access to Hamilton’s eight Civic Museums and borrow a pass to visit the Art Gallery of Hamilton.”

Families will have one month to activate the pass at City Hall, the HSR GO station office at 36 Hunter Street, or the Municipal Service Centres in Ancaster, Dundas, or Stoney Creek