Mike Madill

Mike Madill

A fifth of transit riders fail to tap out in Compass card test

TransLink boosts budget to $194m, eyes fixes flagged by volunteer testers

A three-week beta test of TransLink’s new Compass card payment system found nearly a fifth of the 10,000 volunteers forgot to tap off with their cards as they exited the transit system and may have paid too much.

Users tap their Compass card against readers to board a bus or pass through new SkyTrain faregates.

They’re supposed to tap off again when they leave to record how far they went and have their account debited accordingly and those who forget are billed for the maximum three zones, when they might have only travelled one or two.

Eighty one per cent of users remembered to tap out during the test period, which recorded a total of 568,760 taps.

TransLink vice-president Mike Madill said overall the system performed well, but testers flagged several problems TransLink is working to fix.

They found the validators on buses were often slow to detect cards.

“I’m pretty comfortable we’ll be able to get that remedied before we roll it out to the general public,” Madill said, praising testers for their valuable help.

Many passengers also found the green screen colour of the Compass card readers hard to read.

Another glitch is the card readers on buses only work when the bus engine is running. Madill said TransLink is looking for a fix so drivers aren’t forced to keep buses idling more than necessary.

He noted many testers waited for the screen to confirm their card was read when they could just proceed through as soon as they hear a beep.

Making sure people know that will be part of an intense public education campaign ahead of the full rollout.

Madill said the budget for Compass card public outreach has been raised to $8 million from around $5 million previously.

That’s budgeted separately from the Compass card/faregates project itself, which is also costing more than originally anticipated.

The initial $171 million project cost has now climbed to $194.2 million, a 13.5 per cent jump.

Madill said much of the nearly $23-million increase stems from inflation – the budget was drawn up in 2009 – along with some higher capital costs and system changes.

TransLink plans a phased rollout of the new fare payment system, issuing the first cards to West Coast Express train users later this fall, with more groups of users being added through the winter and into the spring of 2014, when Compass cards will be available to all.

Faregates at stations won’t be closed – terminating the old fare passes and tickets – until everything is working and ready, likely next spring or summer.

Despite the increase in costs, there are no plans by TransLink to reconfigure so that passengers who pay with cash on buses can transfer to SkyTrain without paying twice – a change it estimated would have cost another $10 to $25 million.

Others who face a higher bill are Fraser Valley residents who until now have been given a $3.25 transfer credit when they take a local bus to West Coast Express.

Those Valley passengers will have to pay full fare to board the TransLink system – on top of their local bus fare – starting in the new year.

“Transfers are not valid from TransLink to their system so we decided we needed to end that,” Madill said. “Those folks do start outside the TransLink region in terms of tax funding.”

He said WCE users will be the first offered Compass cards because they’re a small, well defined group.

More information will be offered through a dedicated website, askcompass.ca.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cops converge in a Marshall Road parking lot on Thursday afternoon following a reported police incident. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Federal offender escapes, gets shot at and is taken back into custody in Abbotsford

Several branches of law enforcement find escapee a short distance from where he fled

Jay Matte (right), president of Pressland Printing in downtown Mission, passes a customer her purchase. Many local businesses say the new mandatory mask order is a positive step to help protect customers and staff alike. / Kevin Mills Photo
Mission businesses, workers say they’re happy with new mask mandate

Most say they’ve had little problem enforcing the of new rules

Jag Deol, owner of Sangam Restaurant and Catering, is collecting non-perishable food items for the St. Joseph's Food Bank at both his restaurant locations in Mission. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Indian restaurant asks for food-bank donations when Missionites pick up take-out orders

Sangam Restaurant and Catering hosting food drive until Dec. 20, will match all donations made

Kenny (left) and Bobby Braich, the Braich family estate’s representatives, will have to pay $676,000 to their former estate lawyer, James Carphin, for legal work dating from December 2004 to October 2010. / Patrick Penner Photo
Former lawyer for Braich Family Estate wins case over unpaid legal debts in B.C. Supreme Court

Braich family recently in dispute with District of Mission over failed development deal

Lefeuvre Road, near Myrtle Avenue, was blocked to traffic on Thursday (Dec. 3) after an abandoned pickup truck was found on fire. Police are investigating to determine if there are any links to a killing an hour earlier in Surrey. (Shane MacKichan photo)
Torched truck found in Abbotsford an hour after killing in Surrey

Police still investigating to determine if incidents are linked

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

Surrey Pretrial centre in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey Pretrial hit with human rights complaint over mattress

The inmate who lodged the complaint said he needed a second mattress to help him manage his arthritis

A coal-fired power plant seen through dense smog from the window of an electric bullet train south of Beijing, December 2016. China has continued to increase thermal coal production and power generation, adding to greenhouse gas emissions that are already the world’s largest. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
LNG featured at B.C. energy industry, climate change conference

Hydrogen, nuclear, carbon capture needed for Canada’s net-zero goal

An RCMP officer confers with military rescuers outside their Cormorant helicopter near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
Good Samaritan helped Kootenay police nab, rescue suspect which drew armed forces response

Midway RCMP said a Good Samaritan helped track the suspect, then brought the arresting officer dry socks

People line up at a COVID-19 assessment centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. Toronto and Peel region continue to be in lockdown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 vaccine approval could be days away as pressures mount on health-care system

Many health officials in regions across the country have reported increasing pressures on hospitals

Most Read