Since I’ve been helping with small group Beta testing at stations lately, I have been getting lots of questions from both testers and curious people walking by. I figure if people are asking me the questions, some of you are probably wondering the same things.
In no particular order, here are some of the top three most frequently asked questions:
1. What happens if I forget to tap in (or out)?
The Compass system is smart, but not so smart that it can figure out where you started or ended your trip without having you tap.
That means, if you forget to tap at one end of your trip, Compass has no choice but to assume you travelled three zones and charge you accordingly. And if you actually only travelled one or two zones, that’s no fun. We don’t want that to happen.
We do have good news though: we will have lots of reminders and friendly staff around to remind you to tap in and out as you use transit. And, if the beta testers are any indication, you will just keep getting better and better at remembering to tap out the more you use the system.
2. People keep leaning on the readers on the buses, how am I supposed to tap?
The thing is, right now, about 10,000 people have Compass Beta test cards. When you consider we serve 1.2 million rides a day, that’s a pretty small percentage of our customers. And realistically, those validators do make handy posts for leaning on, so we get it.
However, fast-forward a few months to when we have hundreds of thousands of Compass Card users on the system, and it will be a different story. People will learn pretty quickly to stay out of the way of the readers, because they will be using them too.
It’ll take time, but we think people will get the hang of it. And, just in case, we have multiple validators on each bus to make it easier.
3. How will you know if someone didn’t tap in?
Just like now, Transit Police and Transit Security will still be doing fare checks to make sure people are travelling the system with valid fare. To ensure you have valid fare, you’ll need to tap in when you enter the system.
Of course, you can’t tell just by looking at a Compass Card if it’s valid or not. To do that, fare enforcement officers will carry handheld units, portable readers that scan your card and verify if it’s valid or not. It will also let officers know if additional ID is needed (such as for students using U-Pass BC).
And just like now, if anyone is caught on the system without valid fare, they’ll be subject to a $173 fine. So bottom line: don’t forget to tap in and tap out!
Beta testers: please remember you need to carry your own valid fare; the Compass Beta test card is for testing purposes only.