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Bus to Rail Transfer Still Possible with Compass Card

Bus to Rail Transfer Still Possible with Compass Card

Hello Buzzer friends! 

Recently, there has been a number of media reports talking about a “double transit fee” when transferring from a bus to the SkyTrain with the upcoming Compass Card. I’d like to share some information about this issue with you, and hopefully clear up some questions you may have! 


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

The upcoming Compass Card will be the easiest way to travel across the system.

When you use a Compass Card, you will be able to transfer between all transit modes, including bus and rail easily. You will also be able to enjoy other benefits, including a discount of up to 14 per cent over cash fares.

Tap in, tap out with a Compass Card to easily transfer between all transit modes!
Tap in, tap out with a Compass Card to easily transfer between all transit modes!

To be clear, you will be able to transfer from bus to rail with the Compass Card or a Compass ticket, without paying the “double transit fee”.

It is only customers who purchase fares on buses with cash who will not be able to use those transfers to transfer to rail.

To convert all the bus fareboxes to issue passes that would access the fare gates would cost about $25 million, and would also take a long time to implement.

Customers in focus groups had told us that they would rather us save the money and time, and instead, focus on an extended transition period.

During this period, TransLink will be providing an education and awareness program to give customers plenty of time to pick up a Compass Card, and to learn about the new system.

We are not unique in our approach. Many other transit systems around the world, including London and Paris, also don’t allow cash bus to rail transfers.

As is the case with many significant, complex and innovative Information Technology (IT) projects, Compass will be introduced in phases. The great thing about Compass is that the technology has built-in flexibility and scalability which will allow us to eventually add in features to make the transit experience better for you!


For more information about the Compass Card, please take a look at the FAQ page.



UPDATE: Thank you all for your ongoing interest in the upcoming Compass Card! I am happy many of you are taking steps to ask questions and learn more about the program. Keep in mind beta testing hasn’t quite started yet, so we will have more information rolling in for you as the time comes around!

Due to the large number of questions surrounding the $6 deposit fee, I want to provide a clarification and an example. Hope this helps!

There is a $6 deposit fee for a Compass Card, which allows you to enter and exit the system after a trip – the maximum cost would be a 3-zone trip for an adult, $5.50. According to the TransLink Transit Tariff (Section 2, Part B, #6), there is also a minimum of $0.01 to enter a Fare Paid Zone:

For passengers using a Compass Card with Stored Value for travel on Conventional Transit, the
minimum Stored Value for entry into a Fare Paid Zone is $0.01.

Perhaps this example will help clarify what it means to be able to use the $6 deposit fee towards buying fare:

I am at Surrey Central (Zone 3) and I am heading to my home in Vancouver (Zone 1). I need $5.50 for the 3 zone trip to travel home, but I only have $0.50 left on my Compass Card, and no cash or money on my debit/credit cards to add to it.

Because I have more than the $0.01 minimum outlined by the Transit Tariff, I am still allowed to enter the Fare Paid Zone, and I can use the $6 deposit fee to get myself home.

Once I tap out in Vancouver within a 90 minute transfer window, $5.50 will be deducted from my Compass Card – using the remaining $0.50 I had, and also $5.00 from the $6.00 deposit – bringing it to a negative of -$5.00. I would have to top up my Card from negatives to a minimum of $0.01 to be able to use my Compass Card again!

In summary, the $6 deposit fee is your safety net, to guarantee you at least a safe trip home should you ever find yourself stranded!

Author: Angela Chang


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