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Translink Buzzer Blog

Days #19-20 of Compass Beta Testing


A Compass hat worn earlier this year at an info session. Sorry, I don't have any to give away :(

A Compass hat worn earlier this year at an info session. Sorry, I don’t have any to give away :(

Number of taps to-date: 552,135

Number of unique journeys: 167,278

Number of routes used: 227

Per cent of taps on the bus: 55

Per cent of taps on rail: 45

Tomorrow’s the last day, Compass Beta Testers. Keep tapping!

Did you notice a different message on the screen when you tapped in or tapped out in the last few days?

As part of our Beta testing, we pushed about 6,000 AutoLoads of DayPasses to testers with monthly passes. If your card was one of the randomly chosen ones, you would have noticed a “Card Updated” message when you tapped in.

The “Card Updated” message is the Compass system’s way of letting you know that your requested AutoLoad hasbeen delivered to your card from the back office system. According to our database, about 2,700 of you have already had the AutoLoad delivered to your card as you’ve been tapping!

Cool, hey?

This test is important not only to verify that our software works properly, but to check how the system handles the volume that comes along with the AutoLoad process. We anticipate that many regular transit users with registered Compass Cards will take advantage of AutoLoad to ensure that they either always have a monthly pass available or that their Stored Value never runs out.

Feedback on this process? Be sure to let us know on the Compass Beta test website.

On another note…

We’ve got some really exciting Compass news to share. London Drugs and TransLink have teamed up and we’ll be installing Compass Vending Machines in 18 London Drugs locations!

This means that for your convenience, in addition to being able to get and load your Compass Cards online, over the phone, at stations, and in person at the Compass Customer Service Centre, West Coast Express Customer Service and the Metrotown FareDealer office, you’ll be able to use the machines at participating London Drugs locations.

Existing retailers who currently sell TransLink fare media will have the opportunity to sell preloaded Compass Cards, however they will not have Compass Vending Machines nor will they be able to reload the cards.

Machines will be installed in stores beginning in early 2014 and will provide another easy way to get your hands on a card, even if you’re not near a station or don’t want to go online or call in.

The participating London Drugs locations are:

100 – 555 6 ST New Westminster
7280 Market Crossing Burnaby
2585 Hastings ST E Vancouver
1650 Davie ST Vancouver
5639 Victoria DR Vancouver
875 Park Royal N West Vancouver
2032 Lonsdale AVE North Vancouver
2230 Broadway ST W (the Vine) Vancouver
2091 42 AVE W Vancouver
3200 – 11666 Steveston HWY Richmond
Trenant Park Mall – 5237 48 AVE Ladner
7303 120 ST Delta
2340 Guildford Town Centre Surrey
821-17685 64 AVE Surrey
1B – 20202  66 AVE Langley
100 – 15355 24 AVE Surrey
1030 – 2929 Barnett HWY-Coq Cent Mall Coquitlam
Valley Fair Mall-101-22709 Lougheed HWY Maple Ridge

You can read the full news release here.



  • By Daniela, October 1, 2013 @ 11:55 am

    Can the Beta Test cards be loaded with passes and other fares once the testing period is over and used as compass cards? Or are they different from the actual compass cards and that is why it is suggested we just keep them as keepsakes?

  • By Nick, October 1, 2013 @ 12:06 pm

    Nice to have you guys team up with London Drugs and place the Compass vending machines at some of their locations!

    Do you think TransLink will buddy up with other convenience stores (7-Eleven, Mac’s, etc.) and grocery stores (Save-On-Foods, Superstore, Whole Foods, etc.) and have machines installed there?

  • By Sheba, October 1, 2013 @ 4:22 pm

    I hope a few other stores/places get the vending machines too. South Of Fraser doesn’t have that many Skytrain stations (which of course have the vending machines) and there aren’t many London Drugs.

    There’s one location in Richmond, Surrey has a north and a south Surrey location along with Coverdale. Then there’s one for Langley, one in North Delta and one in Landner.

    Sure people could pick up a pre-loaded card at a Fare Dealer but how many of them will still be around? Plus those locations can’t reload a card and not everyone will go online to do it.

    One of the big grocery store chains would be a really great idea for outlying areas as they’re spread out pretty well over the entire region.

  • By Pamela Findling - Buzzer Contributor, October 1, 2013 @ 6:39 pm

    @Daniela: No, the Beta test cards all expire later this month, so you can just keep it as a souvenir.
    @Nick and Sheba: Right now, it’s just at London Drugs as they were the successful bidder during the RFP process. Something to keep in mind is once you have a Compass Card, you don’t need to keep getting one every month, you can just load it in several ways, including online or over the phone. One of the things we took into consideration with London Drugs was the breadth of their locations away from SkyTrain stations which already have machines. We wanted to give people convenient options even if they’re not near a station and don’t necessarily want to call or go online.

  • By Eugene Wong, October 1, 2013 @ 8:00 pm

    @ Translink

    Why can’t you make the cards be usable for normal use? Did you deliberately make them expire just so that we would have to buy new ones?

    I don’t want to go out and get another card. I want to use what I all ready have.

  • By Sheba, October 2, 2013 @ 2:13 pm

    I’m with Eugene on this. Why is TransLink willing to waste 10,000 cards? Why not allow the beta testers until a certain date (before the cards become available to the general public) to load money on the card and then use it when Compass goes live next year?

  • By Pamela Findling - Buzzer Contributor, October 2, 2013 @ 9:59 pm

    Hi Eugene and Sheba: The main reason is that the cards were all loaded with “play money” only, so we had to have the cards expire at the end of the Beta testing period. I’m debating what I’m going to do with mine: it’s one of the first 10,000 cards in use, so it’s a pretty cool keepsake!

  • By Eugene Wong, October 3, 2013 @ 9:59 am

    @ Pamela

    Why can’t you empty it of play money, or let it restart after expiry?

  • By Sheba, October 3, 2013 @ 5:03 pm

    I’d like to know that too Eugene. Give people until a certain date (like I said above) and have them take the cards to either the Stadium or Metrotown TransLink locations. Then a transit employee can wipe the card if need be and people can pay the deposit and load money onto it if they wish.

    It’s far more logical than an organization that’s ‘looking for efficiencies’ (aka ways to save money) while at the same time wasting 10,000 cards.

  • By dan t, October 3, 2013 @ 5:19 pm

    It might be a deliberate limitation of the database. I don’t think it would allow for CS reps to reduce the stored value in the database representing your balance accidentally or purposefully, it would either be a value add or a full disable.

  • By Cliff, October 9, 2013 @ 3:07 am

    Great job on the selection of which London Drugs will be participating. I was worried that we might see an over abundance of Vancouver locations despite that city having the most access to the machines at SkyTrain stations already.

    Will there be machines available at West Coast Express stations? Which brings me to my next point… How will transfers between BC Transit and TransLink work now? Talking about the West Coast Express and the Aldergrove Connector specifically.

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