The full implementation phase of TransLink’s Compass Card is quickly approaching: As of January 1, 2016, monthly passholders will need to acquire the Compass Card as paper passes will be discontinued.
The month of December 2015 will be the last month that transit passengers can use paper passes. Instead, passengers can load their monthly passes onto a Compass Card.
The new reloadable card also offers the same FareSaver discounts for single-trip travel through the stored value option, meaning a single-zone adult fare will cost $2.10 instead of the regular cash fare of $2.75.
“Really, Compass is about making it easier for our customers to ride the system,” Jennifer Morland, a spokesperson for TransLink, told Vancity Buzz.
“Some of the benefits of Compass include autoload features, so once you get a Compass Card you have your stored value or monthly pass on your card and it will automatically renew. So you don’t have to go out anymore to a FareDealer to buy your FareSavers or monthly pass, you can do it from the comfort of your own home on the Compass website or you can also get a monthly pass a load it up on the Compass Vending Machines.”
Compass Cards can be purchased at London Drugs locations, online, by phone, and at any Compass machine at transit stations.
There are currently approximately 300,000 Compass Cards users in the system and between 1,000 to 2,000 new users per day. Prior to the Compass Card launch on November 1, there were about 220,000 users, including 137,500 post-secondary students through the U-Pass program and 80,000+ users through the B.C. Bus Pass program.
TransLink’s goal with the Compass Card is to reach 500,000 users. For the month of November, just 29,000 monthly passes have been loaded onto the cards.
Most fare gates will remain open to allow a smooth transition, although Morland says TransLink will be closing an additional fare gate at most Expo and Millennium line stations beginning this Saturday.
“This will be a good reminder for our customers to tap in and tap out and gives them an opportunity to get comfortable and practice using the fare gates,” she said. “We know that this is a big change for our customers and it required a behavioural change and we’re doing everything we can to support our customers along the way.”
So far, the vast majority of complaints received at the Compass call centre is from users who have not tapped out at SkyTrain and SeaBus fare gates. Passengers who do not tap out will automatically get charged with a three-zone fare, but this will not be an issue with all fare gates close completely as the only way to exit the transit system will be to tap out.
Tapping out is not required on bus services, which recently switched to a one-zone fare system across any distance of travel.