Compass Card to be rolled out for post-secondary students, West Coast Express in June

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Another 137,500 people in Metro Vancouver will be using the Compass Card by September of this year.

TransLink announced this morning that the smart card payment system for public transit will be introduced to students enrolled in UBC, SFU, BCIT and Langara College this summer.

Approximately 50,000 students in these institutions will be able to tap-in and tap-out with their smart cards beginning June 1 for use during their summer session studies.

The Compass Card eliminates the need to pick-up a new pass at a U-Pass machine every month, but students will be required to access TransLink’s website every month, on or after the 16th day, to request their U-Pass BC benefit to ride transit during the following month.

Students at UBC will be able to collect their cards at the UBC Bookstore, old Student Union Building or UBC Robson Square beginning on May 16.

Changes are also coming to the West Coast Express, with commuter rail passengers set to receive their cards on June 8. TransLink says 7,500 cards will be hand-delivered by staff at the train stations beginning on that date.

“We’re moving forward with Compass now because we want to start rolling it out to all of our customers,” said Colleen Brennan, the Vice-President of Communications for TransLink. “So we began with U-Pass, that program is underway and going very well. Now we’re moving on to the next group of customers and that’s West Coast Express.”

It is anticipated that a total of 220,000 people will be using the Compass Card by September. 85,000 people are already using the card, largely through the BC Bus Pass program.

All 1.2 million transit riders will use the Compass Card upon full rollout. Passengers will be able to load money into their card online to pay for their fare.

The Compass Card and fare gate systems were originally scheduled for a 2012 rollout, but latency issues with the card readers’ tap-out function on buses have caused years of delays and millions in cost overruns.

San Diego’s Cubic Transportation won the contract in 2011 to design, build and operate the system for 10 years. It is the supplier of TransLink’s existing fare payment equipment, and has supplied smart cards and fare gates to systems in London, Chicago, Washington D.C., Miami, Atlanta, San Francisco and Brisbane, Australia.

Smart card fare payment systems and fare gates are used in virtually every major, modern public transit network in the world.

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