Petition calls for TransLink to scrap plans for “double transit fee” on cash purchases

An online petition is calling for TransLink to scrap what critics are calling a “double transit fee” for cash-paying riders.

“SkyTrain will soon not accept bus transfers with the new Compass Card system,” the petition’s website states. “Transit users will be forced to pay for a second transfer.”

Compass is the name of a prepaid card-based payment system that TransLink plans to roll out before the end of the year.

According to TransLink’s website, public transit users will still be able to pay for rides with cash, but tickets purchased for bus rides will not be transferable to SkyTrain and SeaBus services.

“For bus trips, people paying by cash will be issued a paper "proof of payment" ticket,” it states. “These "proof of payment" receipts are good for transfers between buses; however, they will not provide access through faregates. Because of this, we strongly promote the use of Compass Cards containing a minimal stored value as a more flexible alternative for anyone making even occasional multi-modal trips.”

News of the Compass system’s limitations for transfer options spread this morning (August 14) and quickly sparked an uproar on social media platforms.

In the hours that followed, TransLink released a statement emphasizing that bus-to-train transfers will be permitted under the Compass system, as long as riders pay for their bus ride using a Compass card.

“To be clear, you’ll be able to transfer from bus to rail with the Compass Card or a Compass ticket,” the release states. “It is only customers who purchase fares on buses with cash who will not be able to use those transfers to transfer to rail—approximately 6,000 customers per day out of our 1.2 million daily rides.”

It goes on to claim that TransLink found it would be too expensive to upgrade bus fareboxes to allow for bus-to-train transfers on cash purchases.

“We determined that converting bus fareboxes to issue passes that would access the fare gates would cost about $25 million, is not a cost-effective solution, and would take a long time to implement,” the release states.

On July 30, the Straight reported that TransLink would enact a series of money-saving moves, including the elimination of free travel on Sunday and holidays for family members of monthly pass holders.

That story noted that TransLink CEO Ian Jarvis was paid $382,954 in 2011. Six other executives, including Paddon, collected more than $240,000 in annual compensation.

Last year, TransLink generated $1.42 billion in revenue and reported $1.43 billion in expenditures.

Comments (46) Add New Comment
Seriously the people in charge of running the transit system at Translink have absolutely no clue what the riding public wants and it's obvious NONE of them have even taken transit in the last 10 years... oh, let's raise fares... ooooo, let cut service... hey, lets charge cash fares double for transfers... Capital idea chaps! While you're at it, give yourselves a nice raise and bonus. After all it only seems fair since they have the mind of duck.
Rating: +44
A. MacInnis
It's instructive to visit Vancouver Island, to see how they run their system: they still use those little strips of paper with the time on them, same as Vancouver used to have 20 years ago or so. It seems kind of quaint and backwards on first blush, but when you think about it, that system is cheap, it's efficient, it requires minimal technology, and it's pretty hard for it to break down or cause problems like the ones noted above. Here on the mainland, though, we keep upgrading to more expensive, more complicated, more tech-intensive systems, which are instituted before the bugs are worked out... Maybe the way forward is the way backward?
Rating: +57
This is very obviously a Translink screw-up. When they ordered the new gate system, they could have specified to the contractor to provide a reader system that was compatible with the existing reader/writer system. It wouldn't have cost anymore because the old reader system is already in existence and it would have been simply a matter of interfacing with the new gate system.
Rating: +32
And they are trying to lure me out of my car. NOT!
Rating: +12
Its just another example of the poor staying poor and the oblivious rich getting richer.
Rating: +26
Le Sigh
I am so happy to be moving out of Vancouver. The amount of money myself and others my age have to pay to get to our pathetic minimum wage jobs that we all have to have because despite going to University and graduating every place wants you to have at least five years previous experience in that field, which is now impossible because no one wants to actually give you that experience, so we work at crappy restaurants or work in retail. I'm ranting, but all in all it's crazy the amount of money put into the skytrain and buses over the four years that I've lived here. It's also absurd how much the cost has gone up as each year. When I visit the island or any other part of B.C I'm always shocked at how cheap it is and how easily and smoothly it runs.
Rating: +19
Ian King
Boneheaded decision from TransLink. Having an integrated fare system has been one of Vancouver transit's best features: a valid fare is just that, regardless of what mode you're using at the time.
Rating: +36
The Skytrain stops well before bars close. The new fare system will prevent the poor from using efficient transport and limit their range. Who is TransLink seeking to service? Or more importantly, who are they seeking to eliminate?

And the paranoiac in me wonders about the tracking capabilities of the Compass system.
Rating: +26
Where Translink's communication has been especially poor is that they haven't explained in their releases whether paying on a bus via credit or debit card will be treated like cash (no transfers) or a compass card (transfers).
Rating: +6
I knew this would happen months ago when they were on the radio describing the new system and had no answer if the tickets would work on both systems. A glib, smug and arrogant response that they would of course be ready for the changeover and of course they aren't at all.

Another thing I knew ages ago is the new turnstiles can be easily fooled with an android device. Scan your ticket, and just keep adding fare to it using a commonly available app they've used in Seattle and SFO for years. Security defeated, walk right through the turnstiles. In fact, this makes fraud much easier since you can print the fake codes out and sell them anonymous mail order, and since there are no spot checks there's nobody to stop this. Before this fraud was not cost effective, since printing out a bunch of hologram paper forgeries was not worth the money. Now you can just recharge magstripes, or print barcodes to be read. Now the fraud is viable and somebody is going to do it en masse.

GJ technocrats at Translink. These turnstiles could have been developed here, with security in mind and built here instead of buying a turnkey multi million dollar solution that's effectively garbage.
Rating: +23

Rating: +7
so this means that the occasional transit user such as a senior on a fixed income who might want to take an excursion from the suburbs to town for the day and maybe pop over to the quay in n. van. will be charged for any transfers. NICE!!!!! what a way to go.
Rating: -484
Admiral Benbow
Translink is basically just a giant parasite and transit users and taxpayers are the unwitting host. If you happen to be a taxpaying transit user it's already a double tap going for a triple "transit fee".

Rating: +9
Evil Eye

The Peter Principle is a proposition that states that the members of an organization where promotion is based on achievement, success, and merit will eventually be promoted beyond their level of ability.

It seems everyone who works at TransLink is promoted far beyond their abilities.
Rating: +14
Lousy excuse - transfer acceptance by COMPASS requires another ticket purchase should have been put into the original RFP or bid specifications prior to purchase. Obvious cash grab that affects low income people and working citizens. We want people OUT of their cars, not back into them.
I call BS. Cash is still legal tender. Treo does similarly, cash payments do not receive 'discounts'. We are being hosed. Fire the Translink executives for people that are qualified for these jobs, no political appointees!
BTW a bus driver tells me they are testing the system right now and it craps out on a regular basis, loses connectivity. Don't forget, people, if you give your information for a COMPASS card, guess what? They have your travel information and habits now, too.
Rating: +7
Stephen Rees
It would have been a great deal cheaper than updating bus fareboxes to simply add a magnetic stripe card reader to one Ticket Vending Machine or faregate per SkyTrain station. But that assumes Translink takes responsibility for its system rather just penalizing its users.
Rating: +12
Hattie's Hat
Seattle has a similar set up. You can't freeely transfer from a local bus to a Sound Transit regional service (like LRT) unless you use an ORCA card. Otherwise you pay 2 cash fares.
Rating: -9
Forest Gump would do a better job than all of Translink.

Stupid is as Stupid does.
Rating: +10
Shawn Davidson
Why do they need to upgrade the boxes on the bus? Can't they install machines at each station that will convert the cash transfer? How many machines would that take? Seems like a simple straightforward solution to me.
Rating: +16
Transfink! (come on, that's funny)
So what will happen to my monthly 3 zone pass I buy? Do I now pay an escalated per ride cost? i.e. no more monthly limited fee?

I am willing to be that will be Translinks policy. Call me cynical but I'm just waiting to get screwed hard(er).

How is this acceptable? Where is my government making sure the UNELECTED TRANSIT BOARD is acting on behalf of the people who actually PAY THE SALARIES AND FUND THE SYSTEM?

Seriously? What backwater town is this?
Rating: +4


Add new comment
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.