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.