News / Vancouver

TransLink to ramp up Compass card rollout in New Year

December will be the last month transit riders can purchase a paper-based monthly pass as TransLink transitions to electronic fares.

TransLink has made a New Years resolution to phase out paper-based monthly passes in 2016.

The transportation authority announced Wednesday that December will be the last month that approximately 130,000 commuters will be able to buy a monthly pass without using its new Compass electronic fare cards.

“As of January 1, if you plan to travel with a monthly pass, you will need a Compass Card with a monthly pass loaded onto it,” said TransLink spokesperson Jennifer Morland.

TransLink introduced monthly fare options on the Compass card, which has gradually been rolled out to increasingly larger groups of transit users, this month and more than 29,000 monthly pass holders have transitioned over.

Approximately 100,000 unique cards – single fare, stored value and monthly passes – are used each day.

Despite the growing number of users, TransLink says just 70 per cent of SkyTrain users are currently tapping out at faregates at the end of their trip.

For one and two zone monthly pass holders, this causes cards to register a three-zone trip and rejects future trips until the charge for the additional zones is paid off.

Morland said TransLink has issued more than $7,000 in refunds because people have forgotten to tap off.

As of Saturday, two gates at each SkyTrain station will be closed to help users get used to the system.

TransLink has not set a timeframe for how long it will take to transition faresavers over and get to a point where all transit users have a Compass card and faregates at stations can be closed completely.

“The big thing right now is getting our customers adapted,” said Morland. “We appreciate that can be a difficult thing for people, so we want to make sure we’re giving people time to know how to get their Compass cards, how the system works and that they’re comfortable with it.”

TransLink says there were $2.7 million dollars worth of sales for Compass products in the first week of November alone.

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