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Fare tariff changes several programs

I’d like to share some important news about recent decisions affecting TransLink’s fare tariff policy.

As a result of a review of the TransLink Board of Director’s examination of discounts and programs in our bylaw tariff, several programs will be discontinued.

Here’s a link to the media release regarding this news.

The changes to the tariff include the discontinuation of the following:

  • Employer Pass Program effective January 1, 2014. This program provided an extra 15 per cent discount to members and required a 12 month commitment. Customers can continue to purchase monthly passes.

 

  • FareSaver tickets will begin transitioning out as early as January 1, 2014. A discount on regular fares will be provided within the new stored value option for Compass Cards.

 

  • Free travel for family members of monthly pass holders on Sundays and holidays effective January 1, 2014.

 

  • West Coast Express 7-day pass effective January 1, 2014. Existing ticket machines will begin transitioning out in November.

 

  • West Coast Express 28-day pass effective January 1, 2014. Customers will be able to purchase a calendar monthly pass. Existing ticket machines will begin transitioning out in November.

 

  • West Coast Express $1 fee for bikes. Customers on West Coast Express can now transport bicycles for free.

These changes are intened to create more equity and fairness in the system; TransLink took a good, hard look at our programs to determine which ones still make sense. With these changes, riders will see fairer discounts to their fares – on all modes of transit throughout the region.

TravelSmart will continue to work with companies, municipalities and customers to promote healthy and sustainable transit options for riders. For more information on these changes, check the tariff changes FAQs.

 

 


42 Comments

  • By Eugene Wong, July 30, 2013 @ 4:40 pm

    I recall reading recently that the board of directors is taking on the right to give out free rides to whomever they choose. I wonder if they will let their friends ride for free.

  • By Cliff, July 30, 2013 @ 6:06 pm

    How is this incentivizing people in the suburbs to utilize the already diminishing transit options they have? The majority of these programs were ones that seemed to benefit commuters most.

    I don’t get it.

  • By Upass?, July 30, 2013 @ 7:32 pm

    How come the Upass program is not being cancelled? This is the biggest example of fraud compared to the Employer Pass program.

  • By Paul Clapham, July 30, 2013 @ 9:38 pm

    At present I can keep my used monthly passes and claim them as deductions against federal income tax. I’m curious about whether the new Compass card is going to provide similar documentation for tax purposes.

  • By Big Ed, July 30, 2013 @ 9:41 pm

    I think that elimination of the 7 and 28 day Westcoast Express passes shows how out of touch the board is with how people actually use the system. I think the multi-day pass, rather than a calendar month, gives people flexibility in choosing the right product for them, taking into account vacations or times they are out of town. Many other transit properties have multi-day passes which start on first use.

  • By Tone1point1, July 30, 2013 @ 10:29 pm

    I strongly disagree with discontinuing family members free travel. It will be a real hardship to some. It’s just downright mean. How much revenue do they think they’ll get from this heartless change? When did Scrooge get appointed to the Translink board?

  • By ???, July 30, 2013 @ 10:39 pm

    Congratuations. I hear the plan to reduce ridership congestion is to discourage transit use. I should have seen the message when the first transit passes had avertisements for driver instruction.

  • By David, July 30, 2013 @ 11:46 pm

    This seems to be a backdoor fare increase – cancelling the employer pass program and the family travel on weekends? Why? If the Upass is staying and it needs photo ID then why not the employee pass? The family pass I assume there’s no way to make the faregates allow a family through on one card, but cancelling the program seems just mean to me. Sorry Translink – but these changes are a step backwards. You’ve blown it!

  • By David, July 30, 2013 @ 11:50 pm

    And I forgot to say – BC Government – PLEASE abolish the Translink Board and make this agency accountable to the public once again – there was ZERO discussion in the community about these fare changes. NONE!!

  • By Pinner, July 31, 2013 @ 7:55 am

    Glad to see Translink took a “good, hard look” at the programs before discontinuing the employer pass. I would have been disappointed if it was just a ‘hard’ look or a ‘good’ look. My feeling is that the elimination is due to the employer pass card not being compatible with the new Compass checkpoints… and would have been too costly to implement. Still, at least now I, along with the other 24,999 EPP commuters can now add to the coffers of TransylvaniaLink.

  • By Stephanie, July 31, 2013 @ 7:59 am

    @everyone – I think a large reason behind the removal of the family free travel is simply due to the logistics of trying to make that work with the Compass system. And since they’ve never tracked who makes use of it they have no way to really know how much it will impact transit users.

  • By Ld Xx, July 31, 2013 @ 8:26 am

    So sorry to hear about the discontinuation of the employer pass. Way to discourage transit use guys!

  • By Erica, July 31, 2013 @ 8:46 am

    Did all the heads who made these long hard looks only think of discontinuing the Employer Pass due to the discount? I also like it because of not having to rush out every month to get my new pass. Was conveinient too!! Not just because of discount! What a joke !! try doing something besides ripping off the ppl! I know the 240 bus needs more busses on rush hour instead of packing us in like sardines! Then more brain work 3 busses all show up at once instead of every 10 mins when needed and at that they show up on 15th street!

  • By Eugene Wong, July 31, 2013 @ 10:11 am

    @ Big Ed

    I agree with you. Some people do contract work, so it makes no sense for them to commute only in January or only any other month. Some needs are very small. It makes sense for any company to offer a 7-day pass.

    I can understand if they are having trouble administering all of the variations, but this is crazy.

    @ David

    I agree with you. I’d call it a technique to increase fare revenue, though, and not a fare increase.

    I agree that we should abolish Translink.

    @ Pinner

    They didn’t just take a “good, hard look”. They must have taken it under “careful consideration”, too. After all, our opinions are important to them.

    Seriously, though, increasing some prices just to work with an electronic system is like going into surgery just to customize your foot to fit a pair of shoes.

    Come on people! We had an honour system! And it worked! There is no way that the system can pay for itself, and I can’t imagine it stopping determined evaders. It definitely will slow us all down as we line up to walk through the gates. This is ridiculous. Instead of giving us more bus shelters, they build roofs over the fare gates to protect them from damage.

    If that doesn’t work, then we’ll just remove any promotional offers to make customers happy. We could always increase fares, too.

    @ Stephanie

    If they can’t make the system work with family travel, then they should can the whole system.

    Either that, or get rid of babies riding free. From now on, every infant, and every other person or animal on the bus should be paid for as well.

    The funny thing is that it is supposed to be a kind gesture to families, and a promotional opportunity. Unfortunately, it is hard to track, as you say, but you know what? They don’t have to track it. Who cares if they make use of it or not.

    As long as 1 person has to pay extra without the family pass, then that is unfortunate.

    Bear in mind that Translink employees probably ride free, yet there seems to be no concerns.

    @ All

    This priceless gem caught my attention.

    “TransLink has reviewed discounts and programs in the tariff to determine which ones still make sense in the current financial environment.”

    The financial environment must be great!

    I hope that they are discontinuing HandyDart, special needs passes, and concession fares. I also hope that they are removing all those handicap spaces on buses.

    I recall that all Translink employees get free rides. If so, then I hope that they are removing the *Translink* employee benefit of *free* *rides*.

    Just a while ago, Translink gave children the opportunity to ride free, because it *might* attract future generations.

    If you decide to quit transit, then you are in luck. They are building new bridges and widening roads.

  • By Scottt, July 31, 2013 @ 10:38 am

    So many comments here and a lot of inaccurate statements

    A – Translink doesn’t provide bus shelters. That is up to each city and they typically have a contract with a company

    B – The honour system does not work. Fare evasion has cost Translink hundreds of millions of dollars. With fare gates, it will force people to pay and it will keep out low lifes who get on the train for free. It will also free up Transit police and security somewhat to ensure people are paying across the entire system.

    C – Why should some people such as health care workers pay 15% less than the same rider who buys a monthly pass? Health care workers make good money and should pay the same rate as a regular monthly pass.

    The only change that I do not like is the family travel on Sundays. It encourages transit usage at a time when demand is typically less than other days.

  • By Pamela Findling - Buzzer Contributor, July 31, 2013 @ 10:41 am

    Hi, Erica. We completely understand that customers enjoy the convenience of the Employer Pass Program. When Compass is launched, you’ll be able to take advantage of AutoLoad if you choose to register your card. This feature allows you to set automatic pass renewals and/or automatically top up your card to a pre-selected amount. You’ll also be able to take advantage of Balance Protection if you register your card. In the event that your Compass Card is lost or stolen, Balance Protection ensures that any value stored on your card is protected. Once a card is reported lost or stolen, the balance will be ‘frozen’ and transferred to a new card. ^pf

  • By Pamela Findling - Buzzer Contributor, July 31, 2013 @ 10:48 am

    With Compass, you’ll be able to access your receipts online when it’s time to do your taxes so it’ll be even easier.

  • By Pamela Findling - Buzzer Contributor, July 31, 2013 @ 10:49 am

    U-Pass BC is a program that has been subsidized by the provincial government and helps shape travel demand choices for years to come.

  • By Jordan, July 31, 2013 @ 11:00 am

    @Upass?
    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the U-Pass program is subsidized by the Province. Its available for BC Transit service areas as well. And because its mandatory, all students pay for it, so the low cost reflects the low usage by some students. As well I think the original UBC U-Pass program (which was administered by Translink)took advantage of the extra capacity in the transit system because students travel at different times as regular commuters. And often in the opposite direction (e.g. downtown to UBC vs west side to downtown). Obviously now it is a victim of its own success with post-secondary routes now being the most crowded.

    Anyways, I think it will be rolled into the Compass card as well, so that should help with the fraud and re-selling of passes.

  • By JY, July 31, 2013 @ 11:30 am

    Will we still be able to buy addfares on the WCE if we have a monthly pass loaded on our card?

  • By Rob, July 31, 2013 @ 11:43 am

    This is wrongheaded and counter to the responsibility TransLink has to encourage greater public transit use. To take away services, and add no value shows nothing but contempt. The “sale is over” statement made by VP Bob Paddon is patronizing and disingenuous. You can’t run a world-class transit system as if you’re running a shoe store.

  • By Upset Tax Payer, July 31, 2013 @ 12:11 pm

    @ Scott – Employee pass has nothing to do with government/healthcare workers. Your company needs to get 25 people to sign up. The monthly cost is being deducted from your paycheque and your payroll department / person submits the payments directly to Translink.
    Yes, there is a discount – but you MUST commit for 12 months. If you cancel before 12 months is up, you have to PAY BACK ALL OF THE DISCOUNT to Translink. In other words, Translink gets a steady, predictable stream of revenue for a 12 month period. (Translink must be doing really really well if they can afford just to pass on such a deal to them – especially in the current economic environment.) Also, the pass is NOT TRANSFARABLE.

    @ the clowns at Translink – Your words: “The program benefited selected companies and few employees”. Not true; it’s a fair game, you just need to find 25 people to commit – YOUR RULES. Then change the rules you’ve made.

    Not to mention that the fares are expensive to begin with.

    Also, the average transit rider is not somebody making six figures, and to some people $15.00/ month means something more than just a couple of Strabucks drinks.
    Don’t brush these discounts off as if it’s just pennies, some people need those pennies

  • By Robert, July 31, 2013 @ 12:19 pm

    What would make the Compass card more palatable, and this would require cooperation from Canada Revenue, is if *ALL* transactions on a registered card, not just monthly passes, be eligible for the federal tax credit. As long as there is one bulk annual total for a receipt, it would not cause any extra paperwork for RevCan. Any consideration of this possibility?

  • By Cliff, July 31, 2013 @ 1:17 pm

    The cancellation of these programs is the second punch in a one-two that seems to be targeted at the suburbs. How is it going to be possible to encourage transit use in SoF, The Tri-Cities, Pitt Meadows, and Maple Ridge? If you want people in these areas to commit to transit, you need to provide solid options.

    While I don’t envy the person who has to do damage control on this here, I’m still quite upset by this news release and would like answers on how TransLink intends to provide service to these people. I’m not talking about an area plan with a dozen cuts to bus service on them. I’m talking about a sound plan that takes into account the changing mode shift that TransLink is directly responsible for.

    Here’s a suggestion: Take a page out of Calgary’s playbook. You don’t have to provide good bus service, you need to provide options. Free park and rides and lots of them. Throw them a bone for once!

  • By Pamela Findling - Buzzer Contributor, July 31, 2013 @ 1:34 pm

    Hi, Robert. Great question! The guidelines for what you can and can’t claim on your taxes is determined by Revenue Canada. They’ve actually got a great video on their website that outlines eligibility criteria and explains it really well: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/vdgllry/wtchds/menu-eng.html?clp=wtchds/pblctrnst-eng

  • By Pamela Findling - Buzzer Contributor, July 31, 2013 @ 1:38 pm

    Absolutely! You will be able to use AddFares in conjunction with monthly passes. We encourage people to keep a few dollars of credit, or Stored Value, loaded on their cards along with their monthly pass. With Compass, you tap in and the system will automatically reserve the fare for a three-zone trip. Then, when exiting, you tap out and the system calculates the correct fare.

  • By Pamela Findling - Buzzer Contributor, July 31, 2013 @ 1:40 pm

    Hi, Jordan. Yes, U-Pass BC is a program that is subsidized by the provincial government and helps shape travel demand choices for years to come. It will be included as part of the Compass program. We will have extensive education and information for students as we move closer to launching at schools to ensure a successful transition to the new system.

  • By Steve, July 31, 2013 @ 3:39 pm

    Now that you have cancelled EP, what is the “great discount” I heard that one of your directors said on the TV? I want an actual answer! Your website says nothing! Will there be a discounted rate on normal travel (I only travel in ZONE 1 each day for work). Or now I pay per trip like everyone else (normal fare rate). I could care less about the balance protection garbage but the discount was important!
    And other thing, you just did a phone survey administered by Ipsos-Reid about your service. If you knew that all these discounts were being eliminated why did not ask for some feedback? You would gotten an ear-full because there are quite a few people (more than you think) that are really upset about this change.. So Pamela Findling – Buzzer Contributer put these answer up on the website

  • By Pamela Findling - Buzzer Contributor, July 31, 2013 @ 3:53 pm

    Hi, Steve. The current monthly discounted pass rate available to everyone will stay the same with Compass. In addition, you will be able to load Stored Value on your card. Stored Value is just like adding cash to your card, but when you pay with Stored Value, you receive a discount over standard cash fares (the discount is up to 14% discount over standard cash fares, depending on if you’re an adult/concession card holder and how many zones you’re travelling). This is a fare product suited for single trip use or for occasional riders. We will update the Compass section of our website with more details in the coming months as we move closer to the transition period later this fall.

  • By Tone1point1, July 31, 2013 @ 5:56 pm

    Pamela Findling – Buzzer Contributor; said:
    “Stored Value is just like adding cash to your card, but when you pay with Stored Value, you receive a discount over standard cash fares (the discount is up to 14% discount over standard cash fares, depending on if you’re an adult/concession card holder and how many zones you’re travelling). This is a fare product suited for single trip use or for occasional riders.”

    Thank you for this clarification. It still amounts to an increase for me because I use Faresaver tickets and they give me 24% off versus paying cash for a 1 zone journey. “Up to 14%” is a far cry from what occasional users like me currently enjoy, and it may well be less than 14%. Will there be anything like the current Faresavers available once we switch over? I use on average about two 1-zone books every month and if I end up paying 40 cents more per fare that adds up to nearly $100 per year. It IS going to be a hardship for some riders.

  • By Andrew, July 31, 2013 @ 6:58 pm

    Compass cannot support 28 day passes for WCE. The issue now is that there will be an enormous bottle neck at the already limited ticket purchase kiosks. Think 2400 people trying to use ~18 machines at the last minute monthly over a few hours. This is going to be a terrible experience for users for users of a system that had the largest rate increase. Now these people have to line up and buy monthly passes. I’d expect fare evasion and a who cares attitude will prevail.

  • By David, August 1, 2013 @ 12:19 am

    Who didn’t see this coming – a cash grab with the introduction of the Compass Card.

    Under the Compass card system, occasional users will pay more (14% discount verses the current 24% – less discount on the stored value than on the current tickets), employee who used a employee pass will pay $17.6 percent more (no longer have the 15% discount).

    But what bothers me the most is the arrogant and disingenuous statements in the news release and that there was no consultation whatsoever with the public.

    SO next time the Translink board meets secretly behind closed doors (and WHY are the agendas not public, they’re spending public money) – you can bet it will be how to leverage more revenue from the compass card – so just expect trips to get more expensive, but in back door ways – this is just the start.

  • By Eugene Wong, August 1, 2013 @ 9:00 am

    @ Scott

    Translink doesn’t provide *any* shelters??? What about the bus shelters at Scottsdale Exchange? They have Translink’s colours. They sure look like Translink’s shelters.

    Who says that Translink can’t start a new investment in shelters? Why can’t they just install them the way that any advertising company can?

    The honour system does work. Evasion costs Translink a lot of money, but in relation to what?? In relation to the bazillions of dollars that they do bring in, I think that they are doing okay.

    The truth is that fare evasion is in the thousands or hundreds.

    The fare gates cost more millions of dollars, and they will be out of order.

    “It will also free up Transit police and security somewhat to ensure people are paying across the entire system.”

    Whoa! Whoa whoa!! I thought that you just said that fare gates would force people to pay?? Why would you still need police and security to ensure that people are paying? Liar.

  • By ???, August 1, 2013 @ 9:42 am

    Evasion control is essential. Freeloaders take up capacity on a full bus. As the percentage of Freeloaders increase over time, there is less and less space for paying customers.

  • By Thomas, August 1, 2013 @ 9:50 am

    The riding time for the senior free pass should be limited. It makes no sense that our paid pass rider watch the full bus pass through and the free pass holder on the bus at morning and evening rush hour. Is this the fair system?

  • By SS, August 1, 2013 @ 10:20 am

    @Tone1point1

    I think the Compass card basically just replace the faresaver PLUS take into account the ~10% fare increase earlier this year (which the price of faresaver tickets were frozen).

  • By Dan, August 1, 2013 @ 10:59 am

    Andrew:

    People have computers with internet access, and the compass card can be set to auto-reload each month online. I don’t think there will be such a high need for physical machines, especially once people start getting their cards. I also somehow doubt we’ll have thousands of people jumping the faregates to get to the WCE…

    Eugene:

    From what I understand, the exchanges are managed by Translink and the ones I’ve been at have had plenty of shelters. The ones along the street are managed by the city, though.

    Also, fare evasion was estimated by PriceWaterHouse to be around 4-5% about 2 years ago. Based on Translink’s reported fare revenues, this is in the range of tens of millions of dollars. But you’re right, the cost of the faregates is one order of magnitude higher.

    Anyways, while the changes don’t affect me:
    From an economic point of view eliminating the EP was probably one of the best ways to gain additional revenue – it’s a price hike of course, but it’s a raise on the proportion of the population that can likely afford to bear it, those who are working and have steady jobs. It’s also not a very steep increase, or steep enough to drive people to cars. Besides, what’s the alternative? Is driving a car cheaper than the 10% increase in your monthly fare? Even if you do, the gas tax will still get you. Fact is, the market can, and will bear this price increase.

  • By Transitor, August 1, 2013 @ 11:30 am

    I really cannot understand why so many people are flipping lids over all of this, most of it makes common sense and the rest will sort itself out in time.

    1.) If you bothered to read any of the FAQ on the Compass section of the website, you’d have noticed in regard to the Faresaver/Stored Value that this is nothing new, it’s been planned since the beginning.

    2.) Transforming the 28 Day WCE pass into a full calendar month seems logical to me, I would have preferred this option a long time ago when I commuted to Vancouver on a daily basis.

    3.) Yes, I will admit eliminating the 7 Day WCE pass doesn’t sit well with me as I tend to use them more often than not, but change will happen as a system evolves and I accept that.

    You people complain too much. Grow up and act like adults or learn to drive!

  • By Eugene Wong, August 1, 2013 @ 12:29 pm

    @ ???

    I agree with you, in that it is important to deal with fare evasion. However, I think that the costs of the technique need to be factored into the decision.

    Spending millions on new routes will generate new revenue. If they could generate enough to equal the current losses from today’s fare evasion, then effectively, they have dealt with fare evasion losses.

    I admit, though, that it doesn’t free up spaces that are occupied by the evaders on the existing routes.

    @ Dan

    Every exchange and loop that I’ve been to had many shelters, but there is always room for more and better. You can see it, when people wait in the rain, while others wait in the shelter.

  • By BC Fed up, August 1, 2013 @ 2:16 pm

    TransLink- this is so stupid! thanks for nothing, will not be using your services once Jan 1st rolls around! anyone selling a scooter??

  • By Sheba, August 1, 2013 @ 3:19 pm

    It may be a simplistic description but it does ultimately come down to “carrots and sticks”. Unfortunately this is all sticks and no carrots. Why no 7-day passes – I have no doubt that people would use them, if they were available.

    UPass and the disability/low income seniors pass are government funded, but I’ve heard comments to the effect that some in TransLink would like them abolished too. What next, no concession fares for children and all zones, all the time?

    If you want people to take transit you have to give them a reason to, throw them a few carrots. I see this announcement as the exact opposite.

  • By Ric, August 2, 2013 @ 11:43 am

    Why is the free travel for family members of monthly farecard holders on Sundays and holidays getting cancelled? This offer has help to get my family out of the car on Sundays and holidays.

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