There have been over a billion taps on TransLink’s smart card system since it launched four years ago.
The public transit authority says the Compass Card recorded its billionth tap on Wednesday, August 23 at approximately 8:30 am by a passenger who boarded the No. 100 bus running between 22nd Avenue Station and the Marpole Loop.
Compass was first introduced to specific groups for testing in 2013 before it was launched in phases to the public in 2015, and the system’s accompanying SkyTrain and SeaBus fare gates closed shortly after in the spring of 2016.
The busiest date for taps to date was June 28, 2017.
Despite the initial delays, TransLink says the smart card system, which is also used on most major public transit systems around the world, has been an overwhelming success with 95% of all journeys on the transit system now made using a Compass product.
Its high usage can likely be attributed to its convenience and the discount benefits the card provides to passengers compared to fares paid in cash.
As well, the Compass data collected by the card readers provides TransLink with valuable information on travel patterns to better understand and locate capacity deficiencies and how service can be implemented more efficiently.
“This milestone of one billion taps demonstrates to me the ease with which our customers are using the Compass system, and the way it’s helping to transform the travel experience for our customers,” said TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond.
“They enjoy the day-to-day benefits – the ease of tapping, the ability to easily manage their card – and I’m pleased to say Compass data is helping us design a better system for our customers today and in the years ahead.”
However, the system also has its critics – for other reasons. Civil liberties campaigners recently complained that TransLink is violating riders’ privacy by sharing the personal information of registered Compass Card users with police without a warrant.
But TransLink maintains that it reviews each police request on a case-by-case basis and police must cite an active police file number.