The Compass Card’s user base will be expanded in 2015 to the students studying at 10 post-secondary institutions that participate in the U-Pass BC program.
This means students will no longer be required to line up every month at dispensing machines located on campuses for their paper pass. The current system will be replaced with the RFID smart card and students will be able to “load up” their cards online through a secure website anywhere.
“Delivering Compass to this key group of enthusiastic users of transit and technology is a step forward towards getting the cards into the hands of all customers,” said Ian Jarvis, Chief Executive Officer of TransLink in a statement. “Taking this phased approach to launching Compass Card will help us ensure we get it right the first time.”
All participating institutions have acquired the necessary software and infrastructure required to manage their students’ usage of the new transit fare payment system. TransLink’s Compass Point Gateway, a new secure private network, will be used to administer the system and transition it from paper-based passes to the RFID smart card.
“We have been working closely with TransLink to launch the program at UBC and are excited to see the transition to Compass technology,” said Carole Jolly, Director of Campus Programs and Animation at the University of British Columbia. “We expect one of the biggest benefits for students will be the simplified distribution system, making it easier for students to receive their pass each month.”
The introduction of the Compass Card to post-secondary students will be executed over three waves beginning with students enrolled at the smaller institutions. Up to 2,000 students will receive the smart card during both waves in January and March 2015.
The third and final wave will begin in April and continue through the summer until all 145,000 students at 10 post-secondary institutions have received their cards. The staggering allows the Compass Card to be tested for glitches under larger numbers.
It is expected that 230,000 people will be using the Compass Card by the end of August, up from the current 85,000.
“Smart-card transit passes have been used in Europe and Asia for years. Students at BCIT can’t wait to start benefitting from this technology, being able to reload monthly passes online, instead of standing in lines on campus,” said Tyra Bermudez, Vice President, External Affairs of BCIT Student Association.
This comes after lengthy delays with the Compass Card’s full implementation due to glitches with the system. TransLink is reportedly considering a single-zone fare payment system for buses on an interim basis until it is able to resolve issues with the “tap-out” function on mobile card readers.
Feature Image: TransLink