Tens of thousands of transit users have already switched over to using the Compass Card that replaces the existing paper ticket and monthly pass system.
The Compass Card system was fully launched on November 1, providing transit users with a cash-free payment method – a reloadable, durable electronic fare card that takes in stored value, whether it be for single trips, a monthly pass or even a day pass.
According to TransLink spokesperson Jennifer Morland, there are already 300,000 Compass Cards registered in the system and between 1,000 to 2,000 cards are being activated on a daily basis. TransLink’s goal is to reach 500,000 card activations.
These figures include 137,500 post-secondary students who use the Compass Card through the U-Pass program and 80,000+ people through the BC Bus Pass program.
As well, there are now approximately 100,000 daily unique taps using Compass Cards.
“We’re ready to take Compass Cards to the hands of more people so that they can experience the benefits of the new card like auto reload and balance protection if they lose their card,” Morland told Vancity Buzz. “So we’re very excited to see that. People are really starting to make that change and transition over to Compass.”
About 28,000 monthly passes have also been uploaded into Compass Cards this month so far, but there have been some complaints from monthly pass holders that they have been charged extra for not tapping out on SkyTrain, SeaBus, and West Coast Express.
“So what the system does is the system automatically makes sure you have enough fare to travel three zones, and when you tap out that’s what tells the system the distance you traveled whether it be one zone, two zones or three zones,” Morland added.
“Customers that had bought a monthly pass that was a one zone that didn’t tap out, they were noticing that they were being deducted a three zone fare and in some cases it was showing up as an insufficient fare if they didn’t have a stored balance.”
Passengers who do not tap out at SkyTrain and SeaBus fare gates and on the West Coast Express card readers will be automatically charged a three-zone fare regardless of distance traveled. To date, the majority of calls to the Compass Card call centre have been from people who have not tapped out.
While tapping out is not needed when riding buses, it is still required for all other TransLink services, which operates on the existing three-zone system. Only bus services operate on a one-zone fare basis.
TransLink has indicated that fare gates will not begin to fully close until transit users are more accustomed with tapping in and tapping out using Compass Cards and Compass single-trip tickets, purchased through Compass machines at stations.
Compass Cards can be purchased at London Drugs locations, online, by phone, and at any Compass machine at transit stations.