-- I can reload in person (instant), at vending (instant), or online (24 hour). No fare system worldwide has instant online reload, since Presto cards don't have built-in radios to sync in realtime.
I forgot about the 24 hour online reload wait. That's a huge stumbling block for a non local if they decide to download the app (coming soon) and load their card that way. There doesn't have to be a radio on the card itself. If you load your card, it should communicate it to the entire system so that the next time you tap your card anywhere, it'll update your balance. That's how it works now but it takes up to 24 hours because many of the terminals aren't connected in real time. There's no reason they shouldn't be. Cell radios are commonplace on everything from dog collars to pizza delivery to parking meters. Cell radios are cheap and ubiquitous.