Latest stage of Compass card rollout sees TransLink eliminate multi-zone bus fares

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      TransLink has announced it is doing away with multi-zone fares for buses as part of its implementation of the Compass card system.

      “Starting October 5 until further notice, the Bus Anywhere with a One-Zone Fare will see customers charged the current one-zone fare on buses and HandyDART regardless of how many zones they travel,” reads an August 6 media release.

      “TransLink currently has three zones on buses, but during non-peak periods, e.g. Sundays, customers pay only the one-zone fare. That fare will now be in effect at all times of day, every day.”

      The release describes the news as “a temporary change”, but one that will remain in effect “until further notice”.

      Multi-zone fares still apply for all other TransLink services including SkyTrain lines, the SeaBus, and the West Coast Express.

      For two and three-zone transit riders who only use the bus system (a minority of TransLink customers), the change means significant price reductions. A one-zone monthly pass is $91 while a two-zone is $124 and a three-one is $170.

      The elimination of multi-zone fares for buses was announced as part of an update on the Compass card.

      TransLink says that beginning this month, its long-delayed digital fare cards will finally be made available to the general public via Compass vending machines (CVM) located at SkyTrain and SeaBus terminals.

      “Single-use Compass tickets will be available from the CVMs to start, and by late October the machines will be stocked with Compass Cards,” the release reads.

      “By November, Compass Cards will also be available at retail outlets, customer service walk-in centres, and by mail (through ordering online or by phone).”

      The regional transportation authority is expected to release additional details and answer questions at a press conference scheduled for 1:30 p.m.

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      Adios Compass and TransLink idiots

      Aug 6, 2015 at 1:03pm

      In other words, in a futile attempt to salvage its Compass debacle whose real intent was to funnel money to cronies who sold TransLink the Compass process that can’t work with FTN service, the bunglers at TransLink have eliminated the zone structure. Good, don’t get me wrong; I hate the three zones and much prefer the single zone fare structure.

      However, the Compass boondoggle will not work with the rush-rush and go-go 99 B-Line service which only works due to the honour system for passengers to board and alight without tapping in and out. Compass will bog down the 99 B-Line if proof of payment is needed to tap in and out. There simply is not enough time for everyone to tap in and out on this busy route.

      If this route were not so busy, Compass might work. There is nothing wrong with Compass; it just isn’t suited to the FTN service used by TransLink. To make Compass work, you have to move away from a few major transit corridors to a distributed transit network with more even transit user throughout all routes.

      Good luck with that. It means scrapping FTN used to prop up the subway and SkyTrain lines and the buffoons at TransLink admitting that they are overpaid and incompetent. Rolling out Compass will be a flop and lead to mass firings at TransLink. Excellent and about time we ended this Compass farce.

      Translink Waste

      Aug 6, 2015 at 1:09pm

      Compass can not and will never pay for itself. It is a useless system that has cost $200 Mill+++.

      Compass Cost as of 2014 per Translink Budget Published.

      * about $200 Million to implement Compass. Are the Fare gates 14 Gold Plated?

      * about $15 million per year in direct operational costs for Compass,

      * even at 100% fare collection it would lose about $7 to $10 Million a year,

      * about $25 to $30 Million in Indirect Costs to support the Compass costs,

      * Change to 1 zone for Busses = Loss of ALL BUS Revenue = at least $25 million a year WASTED!

      * $32 Million a year for $100,000+ per year salary at least for 'Fare Checker' Security personnel.

      The Gross Waste is astounding Compass ought to be turfed as the Contract would be invalid if it can't be used for all zones.

      The ongoing costs of running Compass is astronomical & 1 Zone defeats it's intended purpose!

      What a F****ing Joke and Gong Show this is.

      Translink questions

      Aug 6, 2015 at 1:17pm

      so they aren't clear in delivering this press release.
      Do riders double pay going from bus to train?
      Ie: take train one zone $2.75 then to tap on the bus another tap of $2.75?


      Ride bus $2.75 (1-3 zones) get connection to train add another minimum $2.75? Is their a time limit to transfer?

      Not clear.


      Aug 6, 2015 at 1:43pm

      Kevin Falcon the then Minister of Transportation made the decision to purchase and implement Compass over the objections of many.
      Compass had never been used in a moving bus system and had only been used in stationary turnstiles etc.
      Blame Kevin if you can find him.

      Xander Davis

      Aug 6, 2015 at 1:43pm

      Last fare increase resulted in a 5% drop in ridership.
      What about this time?
      Tapping out never worked.
      Leaping the muck-coated Skytrain flap turnstiles will be another worry.


      Aug 6, 2015 at 2:04pm

      So now we have a two-tier transit system, how is that an improvement?

      ursa minor

      Aug 6, 2015 at 2:06pm

      There was never a need for a universal transit card. All of Translink's subsidiaries shared a common ticketing/payment system, unlike a city like Seattle where separate systems for Sound Transit, King County Metro and Washington State Ferries precipitated the need for the ORCA card.

      TransLink has never explained why it's actually necessary for anyone with a monthly pass on their Compass card to tap out. Is it just me, or does anyone else have a problem with a card attached to an online account which also tracks my movements on Vancouver's transit system?

      A. MacInnis

      Aug 6, 2015 at 2:54pm

      As an occasional West Coast Express rider I've had the interesting experience of being more or less forced to go Compass, at least on the WCE. There have been numerous issues. I normally use a two zone monthly bus pass to Skytrain from Burnaby to Vancouver on weekdays, then go to Maple Ridge for the weekend, riding the WCE in Monday mornings. The Compass system is not set up to acknowledge my paper pass, however, so my previous "adult add-fare" price of $6.25 goes up to the full $9 if I buy a "compass ticket" (single use). The machines no longer have an add-fare option. WIth a "stored value" compass card, meanwhile, it comes to something like $7.25 (still $1 more than I was paying), but I have to tap out to get reimbursed (it's $9 when I get on). Problem: on at least one occasion, I've gotten off at Waterfront Station to discover that ALL the "tap out" terminals were malfunctioning. More complicated yet - whereas with any existing paper transfer system, I know exactly when my transfer lasts until, once I tap out, I have no idea when my "transfer" expires once I've tapped out. It's not printed anywhere, doesn't show up on any screens that I can see: presumably I can get off the West Coast Express and catch a bus or Skytrain without paying again, but even the bus drivers haven't known how long I can do that until, before I have to pay again. Maybe no one knows? The whole system seems poorly thought out and confusing...


      Aug 6, 2015 at 3:33pm

      What more can be said? Compass is a stupid system. Fare evasion is a non-issue, and the best way to deal with it would simply be to have drivers hit that little button they have for a fare evader, then have the province pay the number of evasions multiplied by the fare cost out of general revenue.

      I guarantee that would cost less than compass.

      Having worked with computers, I understand what computer systems do over paper systems: they allow for some marginal efficiencies, for example, translink could now more efficiently track which routes are being used, whereas in the 1980s with those paper fares, such wasn't as simple. But they've had those stats with the magstripe tickets for some time. Compass doesn't generate any net benefit, except for the tech guys who will maintain it.


      Aug 6, 2015 at 4:54pm

      Can anyone explain how Compass Cards can fail to work here in Vancouver, while in the San Francisco Bay Area an apparently similar Clipper Card works perfectly across a much more diverse transit setup? The Bay Area transit systems have a lot of different vehicles, including buses, streetcars, municipal light rail (Muni rail), inter city rail (Cat Train) and regionial subway (BART). The Clipper Card works for the operations of all these different transit modes by 14 different transit agencies. It all works. You don't have to "tap out" on the bus with a Clipper Card. Instead, when you "tap in", you can travel for 90 minutes until you have to pay again (the same as with a paper transfer). It may be that tapping out just isn't possible for bus travel owing to the crowds. I wonder whether any other North American transit system actually uses a "tap out" system on buses. If not, then it was probably a poor decision by Translink to try to be the first. If other systems have gotten "tap out" to work on buses, why can't Translink, and why didn't they buy an established technology?