A staggering number of people have switched over to using the Compass Card for their travels across Metro Vancouver’s public transit system.
TransLink says more than 500,000 customers have acquired a Compass Card as of today and about 250,000 cards are used in the system on a daily basis. As well, approximately 137,000 people activated a monthly pass into their cards for January – up from 44,000 in December and 29,000 in November.
Compass Cards became mandatory for monthly pass holders beginning on Janaury 1. Within the span of the first week of the year, about 90,000 cards were activated by transit users.
“Usually we expect sales of about 130,000 per month with the old monthly paper passes,” Jennifer Morland, a spokesperson for TransLink, told Vancity Buzz. “We were expecting we’d have a little less than that with some customers choosing stored value over monthly passes.”
As well, approximately 90 per cent of Compass Card users are now tapping out on fare gates, up from 70 per cent in November. With more reminders and the gradual closure of fare gates, a greater number of transit users are now tapping out of SkyTrain stations and SeaBus terminals to ensure that they are charged the correct fare for the zone distance traveled. Most gates at each station have now been closed; just one gate is open at each station, the accessible gate, as a temporary measure to provide persons with disabilities ease of access through the gates.
Morland is also reminding transit users that they can load their monthly pass online or by phone beginning on the 16th of each month or at a Compass Vending Machine on the 20th. Alternatively, if transit uers register their cards, they can set their account to “auto load”.
“That means if your stored balance is dipping low, you can have it automatically replenish to a set amount,” she said. “You don’t have to worry about putting money into your card, it’s already there for you. And you can also apply that with monthly passes, so that it automatically goes onto your card for you.”
Retailers will stop selling the paper FareSavers at the end of this month, but customers can still use the tickets until the gates close. Transit users who use FareSavers are encouraged to use up their tickets and then switch to Compass’ stored value, which offers the same discounted fare rate as FareSavers.
While FareSavers will be discontinued, TransLink says they will be making preloaded adult and concession Compass Cards available at most designated retailers. The preloaded cards from retailers will include $10 in stored value plus the $6 card deposit.