We have a Compass Card update!
TransLink will begin launching Compass Cards to post-secondary students in January 2015. The transition will happen in three waves with the goal of all 145,000 students tapping with Compass Cards by the end of summer 2015.
TransLink will continue to work with post-secondary institutions to prepare them for launch. Full details of the roll out will be announced shortly once consultation with each school wraps up in November.
For now, it’s business as usual for all post-secondary students! You will continue to pick up your paper ticket each month from your school’s dispensing machines or student centre. Remember to sign the back and keep your student ID with you at all times.
We will give students plenty of notice when their institution begins the transition to Compass in 2015.
Which post-secondary institutions are participating in the program?
Participating institutions include the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, Capilano University, Langara College, Emily Carr University of Art & Design, Vancouver Community College, Douglas College, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, British Columbia Institute of Technology, and Nicola Valley Institute of Technology.
How will students get Compass Cards?
TransLink is working with each post-secondary institution to determine the best way to get Compass Cards into their students’ hands. Once we have determined the best course of action, we will work with schools to share those steps broadly.
No more line ups!
Once students have Compass Cards, which they only need to pick up once, they can say good bye to line ups! Each month, students can authenticate their eligibility online and load their transit pass onto their Compass Cards.
If a Compass Card is lost, students can replace it by unlinking their transit pass from the lost card and linking it to a new Compass Card in order to resume travel for a given month.
Going slow, getting it right
We’re continuing with a phased approach to the launch of Compass. This is how other major transit systems have been successful, and it’s the best way to ensure we get it right for our customers.
The Opal Card in greater Sydney, Australia and CharlieCard in Boston both took a phased approach to launch. Opal was rolled out to customers starting in December 2012 on its ferry services before moving to trains and buses by the end of 2014 and light rail in 2015. The CharlieCard was launched for seniors, riders with disabilities, and reduced- and free-fare customers in mid-2006. Roll out to the general public did not begin until December 2006 and January 2007.
Winnipeg and Calgary are both currently working on implementing their own electronic-fare-card systems and are taking their time to get it right. Full implementation on Winnipeg Transit was anticipated to be complete by the end of 2013, but introduction has been pushed back to spring 2015 due to technical glitches and issues. Calgary’s CONNECT was scheduled to be completed and released by late 2014, but cards were just distributed to Calgary Transit staff in September 2014 to begin testing.
Why launch to post-secondary students next?
Because the schools are ready! TransLink has been working with the 10 post-secondary institutions since 2012 to prepare software and systems for the transition to Compass. Now that the school’s technology is integrated with the Compass system, it’s time to bring the benefits of Compass to another customer group.
Adding 145,000 students to the Compass system will bring the total number of Compass Card users to 230,000, offering insight into how the system performs under heavier loads. Since the 10 participating post-secondary institutions include transit fees in their tuition, and provide for all-zone travel, students cannot be over-charged if they receive a tap error.
What’s next after the launch to post-secondary students?
After our student-customers are online, and everything is running smoothly, we’ll move ahead with the next stage of implementation—releasing cards that can be loaded with cash value.
In the meantime…
For students, until you hear differently, continue to use your paper tickets. We won’t begin distributing Compass Cards to students until January 2015. They’ll be distributed to students in three waves, beginning with small groups at the start.
For everyone else, the launch of Compass to post-secondary students won’t affect you. Customers who pay their fare using a Monthly Pass, FareSaver tickets, cash, and other forms of fare media can continue to do so until we move to the next phase of the roll-out. We will give our customers plenty of notice when they are next to transition to the Compass Card!
Current Compass Card users can continue to “tap in” and “tap out” on the system like they have to date.
Are you a post-secondary student at one of the institutions listed above? Are you ready to tap away?! Let us know in the comments section below! Got questions about Compass? Ask away at AskCompass.ca.