With many regular transit riders now staying put at home, monthly transit passes have seen little use, which has led TransLink to implement a temporary monthly pass fare refund policy for the month of March.
The refund amount is based on a calculation that adds the number of single trips already made for the month, and that amount is deducted from the price paid for the monthly pass.
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The unused funds from the monthly pass will then be converted to stored value within the Compass Card. These funds will not expire and can be used for future individual trips or towards the purchase of a future monthly pass.
“That difference is what the customer can receive as a refund. For many customers this may not be a considerable amount given the monthly pass price is already at a discounted rate,” reads an email from TransLink to Daily Hive.
Partial refund requests for the March monthly pass can be made online.
Requests made over the phone currently face exceedingly long wait times, and the Compass Customer Service office at Stadium-Chinatown Station and the West Coast Express Customer Service office at Waterfront Station are closed until further notice.
Monthly pass holders are also reminded to cancel the “AutoLoad” function on their Compass Card account before Wednesday, March 25, to avoid automatically buying a monthly pass for April.
Fare payment is still required for travel on SkyTrain, West Coast Express, and SeaBus, but for the time being the public transit authority is offering free rides on all bus services across the region. This enables a rear-door bus boarding policy, promoting physical distancing between the driver and passengers.
Transit ridership began to spiral downward two weeks ago, when a public health crisis appeared imminent. Ridership has since collapsed.
Data from TransLink indicates ridership fell by 7% to 1.312 million boardings on Thursday, March 12; 17% to 1.213 million boardings on Friday, March 13; 23% to 726,000 boardings on Saturday, March 14; 29% to 552,000 boardings on Sunday, March 15; 38% to 843,000 boardings on Monday, March 16; and 52% on Tuesday, March 17.
In response to the lower ridership, there are temporary service changes resulting in lower frequencies on SkyTrain’s Expo and Millennium lines, SeaBus, West Coast Express, and various bus routes seeing little demand.
The public transit authority has implemented heightened daily cleansing and disinfecting measures on buses and trains and at stations.