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Translink Buzzer Blog

Fare gate in action at Sapperton Station

A TransLink employee, Joanne Proft, was REALLY excited to use the fare gate.

A TransLink employee, Joanne Proft, was REALLY excited to use the fare gate.

If you’ve been to Sapperton Station in the last few days, you might have noticed something different. Yep, you’re right, one set of the fare gates is closed, and yes, it’s supposed to be that way.

We know many of our customers who already have Compass Cards (80,000 of them!) are excited to be able to tap their card and have the fare gates swing open for them to walk through—now they can.

What’s up with that?

So why’d we close the fare gate? Lots of reasons:

  • To test a fare gate in regular use
  • To give customers a chance to try a fare gate out and see how they work
  • To get customer input and feedback
  • To give Compass Card holders another reason to tap
  • Because, frankly, we can, and we wanted to have some fun!

I’ve got a Compass Card, what should I do?

Try it! Tap in and watch the fare gate open (and close). Tap out and watch the fare gate open again. Form a conga line with your other friends with Compass Cards and see how many can tap in a minute.

And keep an eye out: we might just close another fare gate at another station close to you (but only if it won’t impact flow for customers without Compass Cards).

Don’t have a Compass Card?

Your turn to tap is coming soon. Next up: Canadian National Institute for the Blind clients are getting their Compass Cards slowly over the course of several weeks. West Coast Express customers will follow in the late spring, and other customer groups will be added through the summer and fall.

But don’t worry, we won’t be closing all the fare gates until we’re confident both the system and our customers are ready—likely in late 2014.

Stay tuned for more information as we move through the different transition phases to find out how and when you can get and use your Compass Card.

Got questions?

Ask away at


  • By Sheba, February 26, 2014 @ 9:07 am

    Oh goody it’s at an underused station that has no bus stops.

  • By Bobo, February 26, 2014 @ 10:09 am

    I see that the compass timeline has been pushed back, again. Most recently the claim was that the general public would get compass in spring/summer 2014 (the translink site still says this). But now this article says summer and fall.

  • By Pamela Findling - Buzzer Contributor, February 26, 2014 @ 11:49 am

    @Sheba: That’s part of why we chose that station as the first place to try closing the gates. This way it has little impact to customers. It’s also commonly used by TransLink and operating companies employees as it’s right next to our offices, so it’s a good location that should get lots of taps, but not impact customers.

    @Bobo: Not quite: we’re still working towards customers starting to get their cards in late spring or summer as our website says, but the transition will continue through the summer and into the fall.

  • By Sheba, February 26, 2014 @ 7:20 pm

    I don’t understand the concept of having a Skytrain station with few to no buses attached to it.

    For example, Metrotown is the second busiest station on the Expo Line. Meanwhile Paterson and Royal Oak stations are on either side of it and fairly dead for most of the day. Wouldn’t it make sense to send some of the buses to those stations and try to balance the station load a bit?

    Then you get Sapperton, which has no buses attached to it. Sure you can hike up past the hospital to Columbia to get the C9 or the 155. But with the growing Brewery District there should be a bus to serve the area and the station.

  • By Corey Burger, February 26, 2014 @ 9:06 pm

    Is TransLink planning to deal with the issue of double-paying of fares for people transferring off buses by 2014 or do occasional users like myself need to complain to the TransLink Commissioner that it constitutes a fare increase (for which you need commissioner approval).

  • By Pamela Findling - Buzzer Contributor, February 27, 2014 @ 1:04 pm

    @Corey: The simple solution is to get a Compass Card or a Compass ticket–there is no need to double pay if you have either. Compass Cards work for occassional users as well–you can load it up with Stored Value and simply pay as you go. This way, when you’re ready to travel, you can easily go from bus to rail without paying extra. It is only if you pay cash on the bus and transfer to rail that it’s an issue. You can read the full statement here:

  • By Corey Burger, February 27, 2014 @ 5:22 pm

    @Pamela: That is a fine concept, but the reality is that people like myself coming on the ferry don’t have Compass Cards and cannot buy them on the ferry or at the terminal. So we are being double-charged. And you don’t need something on each bus, you just need a machine at each station that converts bus transfers to Compass Cards. I won’t even get into the equity issues regarding the other major users of cash fares: the poor and homeless populations.

  • By Pamela Findling - Buzzer Contributor, February 28, 2014 @ 10:26 am

    @Corey–we’re working on ways to make it easy for ferry passengers to get a Compass Card, but details are still being finalized. The nice thing is you can order them online or over the phone and have them mailed directly to your home. And once you have your Card, you can just hold onto it and use it each time you come to town.

  • By ME659, June 18, 2014 @ 9:48 pm

    Both my mom and i got the red disability compass cards. I know that the previous disability bus pass also worked on BC Transit. Do the compass cards work on the BC Transit system?

  • By Allen Tung, June 19, 2014 @ 9:21 am

    Hi ME659. Throughout the transition to Compass period, TransLink and BC Transit have agreed to honor the BC Compass Bus Pass and BC Transit Government Bus Passes as “flash passes”, which will allow for clients to travel through the Province as they always have done. The Ministry, BC Transit and TransLink are working together to enable BC Bus Pass customers from outside Metro Vancouver to continue travel in TransLink’s service area after the fare gates close. If you have any more questions about the Compass Card, feel free to ask away at!

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