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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. The pass is administered through PRESTO. Students will load their PRESTO card with a voucher code that is available via Mosaic, and can then tap on and off the HSR for unlimited rides.

*New!* PRESTO in Google Wallet
With PRESTO in Google Wallet, you can tap your phone or Wear OS for unlimited bus rides. Visit the PRESTO website for instructions on how to convert a physical PRESTO card using the PRESTO app. IMPORTANT NOTE! Your physical PRESTO card will no longer work once it is converted to Google Wallet. You will not be able to revert back to a physical card once you convert to Google Wallet.

  • DO NOT convert to Google Wallet if you do not meet all of the necessary requirements. Visit the PRESTO Google Wallet FAQ section to view the requirements.
  • DO NOT convert to Google Wallet if you currently have an Android and plan on switching to an iPhone.
  • DO NOT convert your card if you are in the middle of a trip. Wait until you have completed your trip before converting your card.

The Google Wallet app must be installed on your device and signed into a Google Account to use PRESTO in Google Wallet. All existing card details will be transferred to your PRESTO in Google Wallet card (card balance, transit passes, fare type, Autoload/Autorenew contracts, loyalty, and GO Default Trip settings). Existing transaction history will not be transferred.

HSR Bus Pass – Activation Steps:

  • Eligible students will need to obtain a PRESTO card from a PRESTO vendor: Shoppers Drug Mart, Fortino’s in Hamilton, HSR Customer Service Office at Hamilton GO, or online at
  • Students with an existing PRESTO card will continue to use the same card, and will load the updated bus pass using the voucher code issued via their Mosaic account. Any PRESTO card ca be used to redeem the voucher code, provided it is registered in your name.
  • 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.

Please note:

  • The voucher load may take up to 24 hours to be processed. If you wish to to have a valid bus pass starting August 22, you will need to load your voucher at least 24 hours prior to August 22.
  • You must tap onto an HSR bus within 45 days of loading your voucher in order for it 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.
  • First year students must wait for the HSR bus pass tile to appear in their Mosaic account prior to obtaining their PRESTO card, as they will not appear in the distribution file until 24 hours after their HSR bus pass tile appears.
  • The PRESTO card must be registered to load the voucher.
  • Your 2023-2024 bus pass is valid up until August 21st, 2024.

Click on the video tutorial below to learn how 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, 2023 for the benefit of students coming to Hamilton in advance of September.

2. Where do eligible students obtain their PRESTO card?

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.

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?

  • If you have lost a registered card that contains a voucher, you can transfer all of your card details (including voucher information) to a new card by following these steps:
    • Purchase a new card (fees apply/minimum e-purse load required) at Shoppers Drug Mart or a PRESTO Customer Service Outlet.
      • *PLEASE NOTE: DO NOT register the new/replacement card when it is purchased. PRESTO cannot transfer card details from a registered card (old card) to another registered card (new card).
    • Log onto your PRESTO account.
    • Click ‘Report Lost Card.’
    • Scroll to the bottom of the page and choose to ‘Transfer the balance to a new card that you’ve ordered or already purchased’. All of the card details including registration information, card value balance, voucher details, etc will be transferred over to the new card.
    • Enter your new card details and agree to Terms And Conditions.
    • Wait 4 to 24 hours and tap your card on any PRESTO device.
  • OR
    • Purchase a new card (fees apply/minimum e-purse load required) at Shoppers Drug Mart or at a PRESTO Customer Service Outlet.
      • *PLEASE NOTE: DO NOT register the new/replacement card when it is purchased. PRESTO cannot transfer card details from a registered card (old card) to another registered card (new card).
    • Call the PRESTO Contact Centre at 1-877-378-6123 to transfer the old card details to a new, unregistered card.

7. Caring for my PRESTO card/what if my 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.

A card may be defective if it is not recognized by the PRESTO device when tapped – even if it looks normal. Damaged cards can be replaced at 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 are eligible for the bus pass, but will not see the charge on their account as the student pays tuition through their home institution. 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)
  • Co-op Students enrolled in 17 units or less
  • Engineering Co-op
  • 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.

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) – $241.79
      • Graduate (GSA) – $302.35

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 Mosaic, please see below for next steps to rectify the problem.

14. What if I don’t appear 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

15. Are McMaster students eligible for a GO Transit discount?

  • To qualify for the GO Transit post-secondary fare discount you must be enrolled as a full-time student (18 units or more) and have the 2023/2024 HSR Bus Pass from your Mosaic account loaded on your PRESTO card. The concession required to receive the post secondary student discount is automatically added to your card when you redeem your voucher. There is nothing more that you need to do! A separate GO Transit-issued Student ID is not required. GO Transit will accept this PRESTO card for travel on GO trains/buses. However, when travelling on GO Transit, students must load money for payment as you HSR Bus Pass does not apply to GO Transit, it is simply a fare discount.