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HSR Bus Pass


By virtue of referendum, all full-time undergraduate students hold a 12 month, unlimited ride bus pass with the Hamilton Street Railway (HSR). The HSR bus pass remains valid from September through August each year – it will come into effect on August 22, 2021. The bus pass is administered though PRESTO, and will take the form of a voucher code available via Mosaic beginning August 16, 2021. Students will load a PRESTO card with the voucher code, and can subsequently tap on and off the HSR for unlimited rides.

New PRESTO cards are available at no cost to all 1st year students & grad students, as well as all students who had their first year interrupted due to COVID-19 restrictions. Eligible students may pick-up their free PRESTO card at the Campus Store beginning August 16, 2021 – you must present your valid McMaster Student ID card to pick-up a PRESTO card.

Eligible McMaster undergraduate and graduate students with an existing PRESTO card will continue to use the same card, and will load the updated bus pass by virtue of a voucher code issued via their Mosaic account. Please note: a PRESTO card must be registered to load the voucher.  

How it Works:

  • Beginning August 16th, using any PRESTO card, you can load your HSR bus pass.
  • Find the tile inside your Mosaic account labelled “HSR Bus Pass” and click it to retrieve your voucher code.
  • Go to your PRESTO account and load the voucher code to activate the HSR bus pass. The voucher load takes up to 24 hours to be processed.
  • You must then tap onto an HSR bus within 45 days for your voucher to function. Failure to tap your card within 45 days will discontinue the HSR bus pass functionality and you will need to contact PRESTO to have your voucher reinstated.

Click on the video tutorial below to redeem the voucher code and activate your pass.


Have more questions? Click on the FAQ section below.

*The HSR Bus Pass is non-transferrable – misuse will result in card confiscation.*

Expandable List

1. Is there a grace period?

  • The bus pass is in effect from September 1 through August each academic year. However, the bus pass will begin to function on August 22, 2021 for the benefit of students coming to Hamilton in advance of September.

2. Where and when do eligible students pick-up their PRESTO card?

  • New eligible students, and those who were eligible but did not previously pick up their PRESTO card, may pick-up their free PRESTO card during store hours beginning August 16th at any register in the main Campus Store in Gilmour Hall B101. In addition, students may pick-up a PRESTO from the Campus Store’s exterior exit vestibule (PRESTO card pick-up only at the vestibule, no other transaction are available). Students will need to present their valid McMaster Student ID card to pick-up their PRESTO cards.

Returning students will continue to use the PRESTO card provided in a previous year (or any PRESTO card). Simply retrieve the voucher code via Mosaic, log in to your PRESTO account and load the voucher code (see the video tutorial below). If a PRESTO card has become lost or stolen, please visit the nearest PRESTO Customer Service Outlet to purchase a replacement card.

3. How does the HSR Bus Pass PRESTO card work?

  • On every trip, tap your HSR Bus Pass PRESTO card on the bus PRESTO device located inside the front door of the bus and show your McMaster Student ID card. The system recognizes you are traveling with a valid HSR Bus Pass and deducts nothing when riding on HSR– all in less than a second.

When riding on other transit systems, it will calculate the correct fare for your trip and deduct the fare from the balance on your card. As the HSR Bus Pass is only valid on the HSR, make sure you have money loaded on your PRESTO card if you make trips outside of HSR.

4. What if I already have a PRESTO card?

  • You may use any PRESTO card, provided it is registered in your name, to redeem the voucher code. New students are encouraged to pick up and use the free PRESTO card issued by the Campus Store if they do not already have a PRESTO card.

If you use the free blank PRESTO card for your HSR Bus Pass AND keep an existing card, we suggest that you do not load large amounts of money onto your existing card prior to receiving your new PRESTO card in August.

5. How do I register my PRESTO card to load the voucher code?

  • The HSR Bus Pass can only be loaded via voucher onto a registered PRESTO card, which requires a “My PRESTO Account”. This allows your card to be replaced if lost or stolen, and the HSR Bus Pass and/or cash balance will be restored. Go to under “Create a new My PRESTO Account” (watch the video tutorial). Once you have created your account, please register your card by clicking “Add an Existing Card.”

Please note that if you already have an account, you may add a new card to your current account by clicking “Add an Existing Card” in the “Manage” menu. However, you can simply load the voucher code onto an existing, registered PRESTO card if you wish.

Check out the video tutorial to watch the registration process with instructions for both new PRESTO users and those who already use PRESTO.

6. What happens if I lose my HSR Bus Pass PRESTO card?

  • To report a lost or stolen or damaged card, immediately contact PRESTO:

Log in: My PRESTO Account and cancel your card
Call: 1.877.378.6123
Visit: A Customer Service Outlet

Visit the nearest PRESTO Customer Service Outlet to purchase a replacement card (fees apply/minimum e-purse load required).  Transfer your card balance/account details on your My PRESTO Account at  Click on Manage, then Report Lost Card. Select card to transfer from. Select “Transfer to a new card already purchased” and follow the prompts. Wait 24 hours and then tap your card on a PRESTO device to complete transfer process.

7. Caring for my PRESTO card/ What if my new card is defective?

  • The PRESTO card has an internal chip and antenna throughout the inside of the card. Cards CANNOT be punched or cut in any way, otherwise the card will no longer work and students will be responsible for the cost to replace the card. Students are also responsible for ensuring that cards are not damaged through misuse, bending or cracking, which may cause the card to stop functioning. Damaged cards can be replaced at a PRESTO Customer Service Outlet.

A card may be defective if it is not recognized by the PRESTO device when tapped – even if it looks normal. If you received your card from the Campus Store, email to receive a replacement card, or visit a PRESTO Customer Service Outlet. Once you receive your replacement card, you can transfer your previous card and account details on

8. Which students are ELIGIBLE for the HSR Bus Pass?

  • Undergraduate and Graduate Students who are registered in 18 units total (across both terms) are charged the HSR fee to their student account.
  • Full-Time Graduate Students
  • Physician Assistants
  • MELD Students

Exchange students will not see a charge on their account as the student pays tuition through their home institution. Exchange students should appear in the HSR Student PRESTO Card file at the Campus Store, and are eligible for the card. If there is a problem contact the Student Accounts office via email at

Part-time students with disabilities can apply to become MSU students.  This application must be approved and processed in order for the student to appear in the HSR Bus pass file.

9. Which students are NOT ELIGIBLE for the HSR bus pass?

  • Undergraduate Students enrolled in 17 units or less (across both terms)
  • Engineering Co-op Students
  • Part-Time Graduate Students (including visiting students)
  • MBA Students (all)
  • Divinity College Students (all)
  • Continuing Education Students
  • Medicine Students (with the exception of Physician Assistants)
  • Midwifery Students

10. Can part-time students (17 units or less) qualify?

  • Part-time students can qualify under certain circumstances.  Additional details can be found online at MAPS. If a student does qualify to move from MAPS to MSU and the transfer is approved, the HSR fee will be applied to their account along with other MSU related fees. One business day following the HSR Fee appearing on the student’s account, they can come into the store to pick up their HSR Student PRESTO Card.

11. Where do students see the HSR charge on their account?

The path for students to review charges is Student Centre > Finances > Account Summary

The cost for each designation is:

      • Undergraduate (MSU) – $233.94
      • Graduate (GSA) – $288.55

12. Is the bus pass a mandatory fee?

  • The contract between students and the HSR, as agreed upon via student referendum, does not include an
    opt-out clause and therefore students do not have the ability to opt-out of the fee. This contract is re-
    negotiated and sent to student referendum every three years.

13. What do I do if I don’t see the HSR tile on Mosaic?

  • To qualify for the HSR bus pass you must be a full-time undergraduate student, enrolled in 18 units or
    more between the fall and winter semesters. If you do not meet this threshold then you are not charged
    MSU fees (including the bus pass) and this is likely why you are not seeing the tile on your Mosaic account.
    The best way to confirm your eligibility is to review your Account Summary on Mosaic to see whether or not
    you were charged the Bus Pass fee. Please note that these charges are typically shown on the second
    page of your Account Summary PDF. To Access Your Account Summary: Login to Mosaic > Student Centre
    > Account Summary > Select current academic year > View Detail/Print. If you have indeed been charged
    the bus pass fee but don’t see the tile on Moasic, please see below for next steps to rectify the problem.

14. What if I don’t appear in in the HSR file?

  • If a student is not in the HSR Student PRESTO Card distribution file, they should determine if they are eligible (see above). If the student is eligible they should check their MOSAIC account to ensure they’ve been assessed the HSR fee. The student should confirm the date this charge was applied to their account, remembering it takes 1 business day for their ID number to show up in the HSR Student PRESTO Card distribution file. If it’s been more than 1 business day since the HSR fee was charged and the student still is not in the HSR Student PRESTO Card distribution file, the student should email the Student Accounts office at

If the student has not been assessed the fee but feel they are eligible to receive a HSR pass (see above) they should also email the Student Accounts office at