Compass Card wristbands could be launched before Christmas

Nov 8 2018, 11:32 pm

Wristbands that have the same functions as Compass Cards for an alternative frequent user method of accessing Metro Vancouver’s public transit system could be made publicly available soon.

During his annual address to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade today, TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond said the Compass Wristbands could be launched in a few short weeks.

Working just like a Compass Card, the wristband alternative would provide passengers with a less-hassle, card-less method of tapping in and out of the fare gates and card readers.

“Coming soon, wearables. We’ve got this model to help us debut wearables, so that’s going to be coming soon, maybe in time for Christmas. We’ll see,” he said.

Last month, the public transit authority said staff were testing the wristbands on the system.

Other major transit systems elsewhere in the world have also introduced alternative fashionable designs to their transit payment smart cards.

Hong Kong’s MTR system’s Octopus Card, for instance, also sells Octopus watches, mobile phone covers, and key chains that function in the same way as the card. There are even pop culture intellectual property collaborations, such as designs that feature Hello Kitty, Monchhichi, and Sailor Moon.

Hong Kong Octopus Watch

Hong Kong Octopus Watch. (MTR Corporation)

Earlier this year, TransLink also rolled out VISA, Mastercard, and mobile wallet capabilities on its Compass system. During the Compass planning phase, officials also mentioned the possibility of a Compass smartphone app in the future.

And in January, it installed special radio-frequency identification (RFID) sensors at all SkyTrain stations and SeaBus terminals to enable a special tap-free RFID Compass Card for people with disabilities who have difficulty with tapping a normal Compass Card on a fare gate card reader.

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