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Compass Cards almost here, but TransLink not ready for fair fares
TransLink is getting ready to roll out its new Compass Cards, but the company says it’s far from ready to deliver one of the biggest benefits to riders.
The Compass Cards, set to debut later this year, are reloadable fare cards that transit users can fill up online or at ticketing terminals. Riders scan them as they’re getting on and off buses, SkyTrains, SeaBuses and trains, a process that would allow for distance-based fares.
But company spokesman Derek Zabel told CTV News the current zone-based fare system isn’t going anywhere, at least for the foreseeable future.
“We needed to do a transition to make sure people understand the technology of the Compass Card before we start rolling out and changing fares,” Zabel said.
“That’s something that’s not in the cards right now.”
The company has been discussing distance-based fares since 2007, and it’s a feature many riders – particularly those who live near the current zone-boundaries – have been waiting for.
At the Joyce-Collingwood SkyTrain Station, westbound riders can pay $2.75 to travel eight stops, all the way to downtown Vancouver. If they travel one stop eastbound, however, they’re charged $4 for a two-zone ticket.
TransLink acknowledged that the zone system isn’t fair for everyone, but said it works for the majority of users.
The company said it’s planning to use the Compass Cards to track data on riders’ travel patterns, which will eventually allow it to implement a new fare system.
“We’re going to understand where people are tapping on the system, where they’re tapping off, and what time of day they’re doing it,” Zabel said.
“Once we start collecting date then we’ll take a look, but that is far in the future.”
For more information on the Compass Card system, visit the TransLink website.
With a report from CTV British Columbia’s St. John Alexander