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Day #15 of Compass Beta testing

Compass_Beta_Test_Blog_Banner_Sep_2013Number of taps to-date: over 430,000

A few testers from our testing last week.

A few testers from our testing last week.

Average taps per card per day: 3

Any guesses which bus routes have been getting the most taps during Beta testing? Yep, the 99 B-Line and the 25 UBC routes have testers tap, tap, tapping away!

All this tapping has led to many students asking me if they’ll still be able to load at the back doors on the 99 B-Line bus. The answer? You betcha—but don’t forget to tap.

The validators on the buses enable you to either tap in or out, so multi-door loading will still be allowed on the same buses that allow it today. And, to make it easier, we have multiple validators on the buses—in some cases up to five on a single bus!

By tapping in and out every time you enter and exit the system, you’ll not only ensure you’re paying the right amount, you’ll let us know how many people use the system and when. That’s valuable information we can use down the road where possible. Our planning team can use this data to help inform future service decisions to make the system better for you, our valuable customers. So don’t forget to tap in and tap out!

Compass Fact: No personal information is encoded onto your card. The electronic chip on your Compass Card will only carry a unique card number and the fare product or value stored on the card.



  • By Steph, September 24, 2013 @ 9:27 pm

    I’ve noticed that the Compass readers on some buses disconnect from the system when the bus is turned off. Does this mean that buses will need to idle at all stops, even timed ones that have a longer wait time? Or is there a way to keep the readers connected to the system when the bus is off?

  • By Joe public, September 24, 2013 @ 9:47 pm

    So what happens if I tap in on the 99 at UBC and travel to Commercial – Broadway, but forget to tap out? The bus started and ended in 1 zone, but your last post said I will be charged for 3 zones if I forget to tap out. How is this logical? How is it fair? What if I am mobility impaired? What if the card reader doesn’t work when I’m supposed to tap out?

  • By Mischa, September 25, 2013 @ 9:41 pm

    where are the validators at metrotown skytrain i couldn’t find them

  • By Pamela Findling - Buzzer Contributor, September 26, 2013 @ 3:57 pm

    Great questions!
    @Steph: That’s one of the really valuable pieces of feedback we’ve been hearing from our Beta testers. We’ve got our crack team of engineers and Cubic looking into it already to investigate a solution.

    @Joe Yes, if you forget to tap out, you will be charged for three zone travel, since we have no way of knowing how far you’ve gone. We don’t want that to happen, though. Compass is meant to ensure people are charged accurately. We’ll have lots of reminders and lots of staff on hand to help customers remember to tap out. And, if you do accidentally forget to tap off (or if there’s an issue with the validator), you can call our customer service department and talk to them. However, once more people are using the Compass Card and tapping off, seeing others tapping will help remind you to tap off also.
    @Mischa: The validators at Metrotown aren’t installed yet, but they will be before Compass is widely rolled out.

  • By Joe public, September 27, 2013 @ 12:06 am

    How does a 3 zone charge make sense? I tap in at UBC, the bus ends it’s run at Commercial Broadway. I forget to tap out. Since the bus ends its run at a terminus, and never crossed more than 1 zone, how does Compass not know how many zones I went? That is not fair, whether there is staff there or not, or if customer service is open or not. Completely mind boggling.

  • By Pamela Findling - Buzzer Contributor, September 27, 2013 @ 8:48 am

    Hi Joe: The only way Compass knows how far you’ve travelled is if you tap off.

  • By joe public, September 27, 2013 @ 10:29 am

    Hi Pamela,
    Thanks for the reply. So to be clear here – the bus computer system and the Compass system are non-integrated and do not talk to each other?

  • By Pamela Findling - Buzzer Contributor, October 1, 2013 @ 6:44 pm

    Hi, Joe. Sorry for the delay, I was checking with the engineers on this answer. They said: Tapping out is the only way to know for certain which zone the customer has alighted. Charging customers according to the number of zones the bus will cross from the point where the customer is boarding would be really challenging; it would make it more complex for the customer as the customer would need to know which bus routes they have to tap out and which they don’t. They would also need to think about peak and off-peak hours. Charging a consistent fare on boarding using a consistent message will help all customers use the system easily.

  • By joe public, October 2, 2013 @ 10:00 am

    Thanks Pamela for the reply. Again, I will reiterate, is the onus on the customer even though the bus never crossed more than 1 zone? Please ask the engineers how a customer could alight in a different zone than the one he or she boarded in when on a 99 B Line bus from UBC to Commercial-Broadway.

    The question was not answered – does the bus computer communicate with the Compass system?

    It appears from what you have disclosed on this forum that TransLink will be moving away from the zone system altogether; I will allege that that’s the real reason for Compass/ faregates. Tackling fare evasion appears to just be a coverup story for the real intention of Compass – increasing revenues by distance based fares and reducing services by calculating how many people tap on and off a given route at a given time. I bet there will also come a time when a premium will be paid for specific peak period taps based on data collected by Compass. TransLink engineers will probably say, “hey, 10,000 more people use the system between 3-4 pm on Fridays, let’s jack up the fares at this time”.

    I suspect that if you respond to this post, you will be required to post the standard holding lines that the communications department at Translink dicates. In short, the public will not get the answer that they deserve.

    Let it be known that I sincerely appriciate the blog and its contributors/ discussions/ insights. However, as a user of the publically funded transit system, I am requesting more transparency and holding the organization accountable through these questions; it is not fair to keep users in the dark about intentions until the absolute last minute. At the very least, we, the users, will one day be able to say “Told you so”.

  • By Pamela Findling - Buzzer Contributor, October 2, 2013 @ 10:21 pm

    Hi Joe: Tapping off isn’t just about collecting the proper fare, because, you’re right, we could have set some buses to a single zone deduction. We also collect valuable anonymous travel data to make more informed decisions about things like where and when to place service. For instance, if we find out that a bus that’s making lots of stops has very few people getting on or off at some of the stops, and that most get on or off at just a few stops, we could look at putting in a B-Line bus along the route instead–making a faster, more efficient trip for our customers.

    We also want to get customers into the habit of tapping in and tapping out so that when they do cross a zone boundary or ride a bus that does, they remember to tap out.

    They do communicate, and there were conversations about setting one or two zone deductions for certain routes, but then when we did research, we realized that many customers just get on whatever bus arrives at their stop. They may know it goes to their destination, but they don’t know/care if it crosses a zone boundary downstream. Those customers need to tap off to ensure that they don’t get overcharged. Once we looked into it more, we realized that all buses should have the same initial deduction, regardless of where they go. Can you imagine a table with all the bus routes and their initial deductions? “OK so if I use ____ and ride the ___, I need to tap out but if I have a _____ and ride the ____, I don’t.”

    And yes, fare structure is something that’s been under discussion. The tap in and tap out data will help us look at what future fare structure would be best for our customers. We have customers who tell us they only travel two stops, but because they cross a zone boundary, they have to pay as much (or more) than someone who travels farther, just because of where the zones happen to fall. There’s a lot of factors to consider, and ultimately, tapping in and tapping out gives us valuable information so we can plan best for our customers.

  • By Isabelle G, October 3, 2013 @ 9:35 am
    Fare card story that went wrong in Melbourne. Same company as Vancouver.
    Basically, only monthly user can ride public transit in Melbourne
    fare card story that went wrong in San Fran

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