Fares will not be shared between buses and Skytrain under new Compass card program

In the lovely city of Vancouver, a customer of transit company TransLink may pay for a fare ticket on a bus or a Skytrain ticket machine and then use them on any other TransLink operated vehicle.

That may very well not be the case in the near future. Translink has decided to switch to a Compass card program which will start being implemented in late fall 2013. If you’ve used the transit system in Hong Kong, it’s similar to the Octopus card, where you can fill the card up with some money for future use.

A startling article made in the 24 Hours newspaper today states that due to an insufficient budget, all bus fare boxes may not be upgraded to produce Compass-compatible bus fares and as such passengers will need to pay for the Skytrain and bus fares separately.

This will not turn out well for transit as the article already acknowledges that angry passengers will take their frustrations out on the bus drivers who have nothing to do with this development. The vice-president of the TransLink bus driver union, Gavin Davies, says:

“You either go all the way or no way, they’re not two separate things. We have one system in place and it should be compatible.”

-Gavin Davies, 24 Hours

I think most (if not all) of TransLink commuters will agree with this statement. The situation is different in a place like Hong Kong, where the buses and the MTR are run by two different companies and as such double fares are understandable.

Furthermore, I’ve always been very dubious about the use of Compass cards on buses. Unlike Skytrain faregates which only allows you to pass through by scanning the card through, putting small gates at the exits of buses is harder to do as it causes people to waste time scanning their cards through. It then falls back onto the honour system, something that TransLink does not believe in with numerous fare evasion incidents on lines such as the B-99.

tl;dr: Get a hold of yourself, TransLink, because with this new double-fare stint, I sense even worse business coming your way.

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