TransLink today (March 31) announced its new electronic fare card will be called Compass.
The pre-paid electronic fare card will be part of a new network-wide fare-payment system that will incorporate faregate barriers on the SkyTrain and SeaBus routes.
TransLink says the new electronic card will simplify fare payment while the gates will address fare evasion.
Construction work on the $170-million project is slated to start this spring with the system operating by 2013.
Burnaby resident Oleksiy Gayda was the winner of a public contest to name the new fare card.
Today Gayda received his prize of an iPad and a “year’s worth” of free transit once the new fare-card system is in place, TransLink said.
Gayda was randomly selected as the contest winner after TransLink received more than 70 entries suggesting the name Compass.
In total, more than 56,000 entries were received last fall as part of the public naming contest, TransLink says.
After TransLink selected the top-three names—Compass, Starfish, and TPass—a public vote was held to determine the winner.
Compass earned more than 40 percent of the votes, TransLink said.
The fare-card design features the word Compass on a blue background with a directional symbol around the letter "C".
This morning, dozens of TransLink employees were handing out blue Compass buttons and providing information to transit riders across the system.
TransLink spokesperson Michael Madill said he was pleased with the public response.
“People like the name. It’s kind of catchy,” Madill told the Straight.
“People are excited that we’re moving to a new fare-card system,” he added. “Mostly people who’ve been travelling, they know what systems are in place in London, Hong Kong, Europe, the States, so they’re just excited to see that coming to Vancouver now.”
Madill said the faregate system will help ease concerns about fare evasion.
“It won’t solve the fare-evasion problem but it certainly will reduce it. And people will be able to feel more safe and secure on the system.”
Madill said there will be little change to the existing fare system at first, once the fare card is introduced.
“There may be some small tweaks but generally we’ll keep the zone system in place until we get some data about our customer movements and we work out a system that’s better and even more fair than the system that we have now.”
Madill said distance-based fare payment could be an option.
He said the Compass brand will be useful as the new fare system is rolled out.
“We’ll have a lot of messages for people over the next couple of years to transition to the new system so this’ll help lead the way.”
He said construction related to the faregate system will likely start by late May or early June.
SkyTrain riders offered a mixed response today after learning about the new farecard name.
SFU student Michelle Cheng said Compass was the best of the final-three names.
“TPass sounds like a cheap imitation of the U-Pass,” she said, referring to the universal transit pass for postsecondary students.
“Compass is the best one but it still doesn’t really stick out,” she told the Straight.
Marty Wood said Compass is a good name.
“It relates to where you’re going and the direction. It’s as good a name as any other,” the New Westminster resident told the Straight.
Vancouver resident Andrew Witt said he was more concerned about the planned faregate system than the naming contest.
“Names don’t matter. What matters is barriers,” he told the Straight, calling the faregates “an instance of increased policing”.
Asked about the fare-card name, Witt said: “I think the more ridiculous it is, the better. Starfish is far superior.”
Burnaby resident Sean Canasa questioned the need for a faregate system.
“I think it’s just a waste of money honestly,” he told the Straight.