TransLink’s Compass card points the way to more delays

It looks like most of us are going to have to wait a bit longer to use the Compass card. (I still think they should have called it the Sockeye.)

Remember when the full rollout of TransLink's electronic fare cards—you won't catch anyone calling them "smart" anymore—was scheduled for 2013? In a news release today (July 8), the regional transportation authority announced it "needs more time to resolve technical issues before the next phase of the program can be rolled out to customers".

TransLink said we'll get a "project update" in October and the budget for the program is still $194 million.

In the meantime, TransLink is working on "improving the speed and reliability" of the card readers, also known as "mobile validators", that we're all looking forward to using.

“We have looked closely at the experiences of other jurisdictions, and we’re confident that we’re doing the right thing by getting these technical issues worked out before we fully offer this new service to all of our customers,” TransLink chief operating officer Doug Kelsey said in the release.

TransLink claims the Compass card will "reduce fare evasion and provide TransLink with near real-time data to improve service delivery and long-term transit planning".

Comments (8) Add New Comment
John Harris
Compass will 'reduce fare evasion' and provide TransLink with 'real-time data'. It just won't provide transit users with convenient, affordable service. But that's not TransLink's concern, apparenlty.
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Jon
What an absolutely unnecessary scam, I mean plan.
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Meathead
The truth is they overlooked how to manage the magnetic paper bus transfer tickets. This is what happens when you go searching for solutions on junkets to cities with such great public transportation infrastructure... like Baltimore, LA & Phoenix. Doofuses didn't think to look to Japan or Hong Kong where they know a thing or two about faregates. They will need to install ticket reader gates at the stations and this will surely bust their expected budget so I suspect they are cooking the best way to spin this fiasco.
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Sick of Bureaucratic Bumbling
Bureaucracies love projects like Compass because it gives then access to even more money than their regular budget. It allows them to hire "consultants" who come recommended by friends in other bureaucracies knowing the favour will be returned. It allows them, as noted by Meathead, junkets all over the world but they are completely unnecessary as every bit of data one needs about a given transit system can be exchanged online.

Translink complains about "problems" that other agencies solved years or decades ago. The barriers that don't accept bus transfers actually have a card slot for a magnetic reader that is blocked over, and systems all over the world allow users a variety of different ticket options. Imagine if Translink decided to make their own tires! It would cost millions to determine the shape.
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Jack
What we are getting is real time corporate gangsterism thrown in our faces daily for our hard earned tax dollars while BC Medical fees skyrocket - I know what I'd rather support!
As a former transit user it's sad to see our system get even worse and even more expensive - when as noted above, we were not inventing the wheel - plenty of good models in other cities to follow. But no. The thieves running Translink give themselves bonuses and congrats while we wait in the rain and call work to explain. Wish we had a say because clearly they don't have a clue...
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did translink get suckered?
did a bunch of self impressed senior mucky mucks who don't have deep knowledge of the complexities and risks of IT based systems get sold a lemon? how deep is the money pit?

p.s. it's pretty hard to dug yourself out of a hole
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Eric Doherty
The delays with Compass Card and the SkyTrain fare gates are the predictable result of former Minister of Transportation Kevin Falcon rushing his pet project. Politicians must be held responsible for their rash actions, even when they have temporarily stepped back from electoral politics. This is just another example of the Liberal government in Victoria playing games with our transit system, and getting away with it so far.
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Hugot
Hugot the contract?
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