TransLink has pushed back the schedule for the roll out Compass, the transport’s electronic fare card that would eventually replace all current passes and tickets, including West Coast Express products, according to missioncityrecord.com.
Mike Madill, the TransLink vice-president in charge of the $194-million project, said the decision to delay stems from what he called “areas for improvement” flagged with the online customer service system that Compass users will log in to register cards, load money and control options like auto-loading from their connected credit cards.
TransLink previously planned to stop selling FareSaver tickets in January but now the booklets of prepaid discounted tickets will continue to be sold into next summer. West Coast Express passengers will also be able to keep buying 7- and 28-day passes until Compass arrives for them.
First up will now be income-assisted seniors and others with disabilities that now have the BC Bus Pass, which provides unlimited transit access B.C-wide for an annual fee. Compass cards will also go out to Canadian National Institute for the Blind pass holders, as well as all TransLink employees to replace their current annual passes.
“They will get Compass cards by the end of January,” said Madill. “Since those are all annual passes that don’t require payment top-ups, there’s no need for the website to be working yet for them.”
Those first groups amount to 80,000 users or about a tenth of the full ridership of 800,000 that TransLink hopes to convert to Compass cards.
Madill said TransLink hopes to actually close the fare gates – meaning SkyTrain access will only be by tapping in and out – by the end of summer or early next fall.