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Translink Buzzer Blog

Transportation Commissioner approves changes to YVR AddFare

Ticket vending machines at YVR.

Ticket vending machines at YVR.

I have some news for riders who buy single fare tickets from Canada Line Stations on Sea Island (YVR-Airport, Sea Island Centre, Templeton).

The Regional Transportation Commissioner has approved a fare change that means riders starting trips from Sea Island traveling to Bridgeport Station and beyond using single fares purchased with Compass Card Stored Value and DayPasses sold on Sea Island will also pay the five dollar AddFare, just like customers who pay cash today.

For monthly pass holders and other product passes like BC Bus Pass, there is no change. These riders will continue to enjoy the AddFare exemption that they have today, as will Sea Island employees and Burkeville residents. Additionally, like today, all customers traveling within Sea Island, including those who pay cash will not pay an additional fare.

For info on stored value and more about Compass Card, is a great resource.

This change will come into effect later this year as customers transition to Compass. It is designed to ensure we continue to meet our funding obligations and provide a viable transit system for all our riders and users of TransLink assets.

As many of you know, FareSavers will be phased out once Compass has fully transitioned for all customers. However, with Compass, many people who currently use cash will switch to Compass Stored Value, which offers a 14 per cent savings. Monthly passes, stored value or a DayPass can all be kept on your Compass Card.

Why the change?

In 2009, as part of TransLink’s 10-year funding stabilization plan, the Mayors’ Council approved the YVR AddFare to close a gap in funding the capital costs of the Canada Line. Customers paying with cash to travel from the airport and other Sea Island stations to points East have been paying the $5 AddFare ever since.

The AddFare was meant to apply to all short-term trips (excluding Monthly or DayPasses) to and from Sea Island; however, at the time, the Regional Transportation Commissioner approved the fare increase only for cash fares. With the ongoing transition to Compass, many customers will shift from cash to the convenience of Compass. With this change, we’ll begin applying the AddFare to all short-term trips as originally planned.




  • By Bobo, February 19, 2014 @ 3:35 pm

    How much money has been collected from the addfare so far? How much more money does Translink expect to collect due to this change?

  • By Tone1point1, February 19, 2014 @ 3:42 pm

    That’s a nice little tax grab by TransLink now isn’t it? Locals, who already contribute to the system through various local taxes, have always had the option of bringing along a few unused FareSavers to avoid the addfare. Tourists on the other hand, who apart from whatever they spend visiting our city, contribute comparatively little in the way of taxes. They are the legitimate and logical target for the addfare.

    Making it that much more difficult for locals to avoid the addfare is just one more cheap shot at the community. Attempting to sell the change as something intended all along is even cheaper and frankly sounds like spin to me.

    It’s all the more laughable now that YVR is trying to sell the airport as a shopping and leisure destination for Metro residents. Good luck with that once Compass rolls out!

  • By Ben Kennedy, February 19, 2014 @ 3:44 pm

    Well, that sucks. So leaving YVR will now cost more for everybody.

    Also, it bears pointing out again that while Compass Stored Value might offer a 14% saving over cash, it will still be more expensive than today: FareSaver tickets afford a 24% saving.


  • By Paul Clapham, February 19, 2014 @ 5:12 pm

    Hmmm… right now when my wife and I travel to and from the airport, we use FareSavers which we buy for that purpose and for other sporadic trips. But now it appears we’re going to be dinged another 10 bucks. At that price it might be more convenient to take at taxi, we’ll have to consider that.

    As for targeting the tourists, I have a story about that. We came back from Australia last year and we found that to go between the two terminals at Sydney Airport you had to pay $5 to take the train shuttle. We were seriously pissed off. Good deal for the train company, but bad deal for Sydney tourism. If we go back we’ll fly into some other city.

  • By Tafyrn, February 19, 2014 @ 5:33 pm

    This tariff change leaves one method by which to avoid the addfare if you don’t have a bus pass:

    1. Before you depart from YVR, purchase and pre-load at least one daypass on to your compass card. Make sure this is done at a station that is not on Sea Island.

    2. When you return to YVR, use this pre-loaded daypass. You will not be charged the addfare, since as per the Transit Commissioner’s ruling, the addfare only applies to “DayPasses sold on Sea Island”.

    If you are going to meet visitors to Vancouver, purchase additional Compass cards for each of your visitors, and load a daypass on each card before you get to Sea Island. Plus, now each of your visitors now has a shiny new Compass card to explore the city with.

  • By Tone1point1, February 20, 2014 @ 1:18 am

    @Tafyrn Good idea, but if my husband and I are going to shell out $19.50 for two day passes we’re only a grande latte and snack away from traveling home from YVR by taxi. A taxi, including a decent tip, runs us about $27. The monetary advantage of the train all but disappears for a lot of people once the addfare is factored in. Add door to door service, and the comparative luxury of the back seat of a Prius, and it becomes a wash. I suspect that a lot of people will opt for a taxi once they realize just how little more that taxi might cost them.

  • By Neal, February 20, 2014 @ 9:50 am

    Correction to this claim: “The AddFare was meant to apply to all short-term trips (excluding Monthly or DayPasses) to and from Sea Island;”

    This is not true.

    When first proposed, the levy would “target air passengers who would be receiving a significant benefit from the Canada Line – the alternatives being Taxi (then $24), Airporter (then $12) or Airport Parking;” The Translink Commissioner has a brief history here:

    So how does this new scheme – levying the AddFare against all short term trips, including locals – target air passengers?

  • By Graham, February 20, 2014 @ 11:24 am

    “… riders starting trips from Sea Island traveling to Bridgeport Station and beyond using single fares purchased with Compass Card Stored Value and DayPasses sold on Sea Island will also pay the five dollar AddFare, just like customers who pay cash today.”

    So DayPasses are going to cost extra now too, even if applicable only to those on YVR/Sea Island? So if say I happened to purchase a DayPass from a CVM at Templeton Station, that costs $5 more?

    Yikes. I sincerely hope this does not apply to DayPasses already purchased/validated in other zones prior to riding the YVR extension.

  • By Pamela Findling - Buzzer Contributor, February 20, 2014 @ 12:20 pm

    Hi, all. Great discussion here. To address some of your comments and questions:

    If you purchase DayPasses at other stations off Sea Island, the $5 AddFare won’t be added. DayPasses aren’t currently available at Sea Island, but will be introduced with Compass.

    Likewise, if you start your trip with Stored Value at a station off Sea Island, you will not be charged the AddFare.

    Monthly Pass holders, program pass holders, residents of Burkeville, and people who work on Sea Island will remain exempt from the AddFare. As for the discount %, Ben is right–however, it’s worth noting that when the price of individual fares went up last time, the cost of FareSaver tickets didn’t. The discount offered by Stored Value is more in-line, percentage-wise, with historical discounts offered by FareSavers.

    The AddFare is intended to target air travellers, which is why, for locals going to the airport to greet guests, they are able to purchase a DayPass at another station and not pay the AddFare.

    TransLink estimates that its AddFare revenue has fallen short by $5.4 million since inception and that it would lose a further $1.4 million annually.

    You can read the full decision from the Regional Transportation Commissioner, including feedback gathered during the consultation process and the reasons for his decision here:

  • By David M, February 20, 2014 @ 1:17 pm

    I still think the add-fare is a bad idea. It is based on a North American attitude that airport travellers should pay extra to use public transport. You do not see this kind of stupid policy in Europe where trains and planes connect seamlessly.

    And why isn’t the free travel on sea-island actually advertised anywhere. When you get to a station there is nothing to say if you are going to Templeton that the travel is free.

    Bad move.

  • By Mike, February 21, 2014 @ 9:50 am

    I agree that it should be better signed and advertised that transit between the three Sea Island stations is actually free of charge. Very few people I know are actually aware that they can start from Templeton and go to YVR-Airport for free.

  • By Kyle Z., February 21, 2014 @ 3:44 pm

    I disagree with much of the discontent here. If you look at hong kong, its airport line is heavily advertized. Note that what is advertized is not the cost, but the fact that an airport line exists!

    HK also advertize that it only takes 24 minutes to get to the airport from downtown. Imagine if there was advertizment in Vancouver: “Take the Airport Express (Canada Line) to the Airport in just 24 minutes from Downtown For just $8.75! Trains Every 7 Minutes!!!”

    In many ways, our “airport express” is much better than hong kong’s, which comes every 10 minutes & costs $26 (Yes, $26 CAD!!) round trip.

  • By R, February 21, 2014 @ 3:57 pm

    What will happen when the outlet mall at Templeton Station opens? Will shoppers who travel by Canada Line (who are not flying anywhere) be charged the addfare?

  • By ???, February 22, 2014 @ 8:59 pm

    I love the Airport Express when in HKG. Great when travelling with lots of luggage, direct secure service without delays at local stops, free hotel transfers, bundle with a 3 day unlimited travel pass. However some HKG locals feel the AE is targeted to “dumb tourists”.

    Single HKG journey Airport Express is HK$100 = CAN$14.28.
    Single HKG journey by A11 bus is HK$40 = CAN$5.72

    You can save CAN$9 by skipping the Airport Express. Best if you can travel light as the popular bus can be crowded.

    Doing a check with Google Maps, for a trip between the airport and Central. The AE time savings can be lost when you factor in your shuttle bus connections on the island.,+Hong+Kong&daddr=Hong+Kong+Station,+Central,+Hong+Kong&hl=en&ll=22.320542,114.049416&spn=0.272182,0.387955&sll=22.318001,114.048386&sspn=0.272187,0.387955&geocode=Fc9kVAEdEULKBiGeNpIYgpD1-SmdxkbM8-IDNDGeNpIYgpD1-Q%3BFV__UwEdz-jNBiGoyC-BjEaRsynT0N-QZAAENDGoyC-BjEaRsw&oq=central+hong+kong&t=h&dirflg=r&ttype=now&noexp=0&noal=0&sort=def&mra=ltm&z=12&start=2

  • By Cliff, February 23, 2014 @ 11:10 am

    Just to confirm here, will a trip from YVR to Templeton continue to be free?

  • By Robert Willis - Buzzer Editor, February 24, 2014 @ 9:30 am

    Hi Cliff: Yes, YVR-Airport Station, Sea Island Centre Station or Templeton Station are all considered part of Sea Island.

  • By Cliff, February 24, 2014 @ 4:14 pm

    That’s great to hear. How will these passengers move through the gates without a fare?

  • By Robert Willis - Buzzer Editor, February 25, 2014 @ 8:55 am

    Hi Cliff: Until Compass Card is fully rolled out, there will always be a way to move through the gates. I hope that answers your question. Thanks!

  • By Tone1point1, February 26, 2014 @ 7:59 pm

    Cliff asked a very interesting question. What solution is anticipated for people who fly in to YVR and want to travel to the outlet mall between connections? Granted a traveler would need a fairly lengthy layover to make the trip worthwhile, but still it is a possibility. Travel between the airport and Templeton is without charge. How will visitors move through the fare gates with no fare media requirement once Compass is fully implemented and the fare gates are closed? Will the ticket machines be programmed to dispense a “dummy” card that opens the fare gates only on Sea Island stations?

  • By Cliff, February 27, 2014 @ 7:10 pm

    Fear not. I just went and found the answer in the official Transit Tariff after the answer still had me scratching my head.

    You’re spot on about the “dummy” card.

    “Passengers with Compass Cards or Compass Tickets may travel at no cost between Canada Line stations located on Sea Island. Passengers without Compass Cards seeking to travel at no cost between Canada Line stations located on Sea Island must first obtain a zero-value Sea Island Compass Ticket from a Compass vending machine. A zero-value Sea Island Compass Ticket will not allow entry to or exit from TransLink’s transit system outside of the Canada Line stations
    located on Sea Island.”

    Anyone without a Compass card or ticket elsewhere will be required to pay an “exit fare” to leave the system. Just as today, anyone without a valid fare can be fined and the tariff states this explicitly,

    “Availability of Exit Tickets do not in any manner exempt passengers from being
    required to possess Compass Proof of Payment at all times while in a Fare Paid Zone and a valid Exit Ticket must be in the possession of the passenger to constitute valid Compass Proof of Payment.”

  • By Tone1point1, February 28, 2014 @ 8:45 pm

    That last paragraph is a bit perplexing. One can imagine a hapless tourist losing their dummy fare card on the train en route back to YVR with their outlet mall purchase, somehow being caught in a fare check, and being given a fare infraction fine for traveling in a free travel zone without the required free ticket. Oy.

  • By Cliff, March 1, 2014 @ 12:01 am

    I’m sure technically that could happen, I suppose… But to be honest, I imagine it might be much as it is today: fare checks virtually never occur west of Templeton.

    I’m sure one might be able to buy more than just an exit ticket from behind the turnstiles… A zero value Compass ticket, for example.

  • By Joey Connick, March 4, 2014 @ 3:34 pm

    Pamela said “As for the discount %, Ben is right–however, it’s worth noting that when the price of individual fares went up last time, the cost of FareSaver tickets didn’t. The discount offered by Stored Value is more in-line, percentage-wise, with historical discounts offered by FareSavers.”

    Actually, that’s misleading. TransLink has usually alternated raising cash fares and raising pre-paid fares, so the pre-paid fares not being raised when the cash fares last were is not an exception–it fits the pattern established over the last 10 to 15 years.

    Additionally, when cash prices were last raised in Jan 2013, they hadn’t been raised since 2008. But pre-paid fares had been raised both in 2008 and more recently, in Apr 2010. That didn’t stop TransLink from raising the price for all pre-paid fares (except for FareSavers) anyway; thankfully the TransLink Commissioner actually did his job that time and limited the amount of the cash fare increase. If only the Commissioner had the power to limit all TransLink fares, not just the cash ones.

    Most tellingly, if you look at inflation over the 2008 to present day period, you’ll see both the cash fare increases and the pre-paid fare increases (including the reduction of discount FareSaver users will suffer with the conversion to Compass) clearly outstrips inflation in the same period. Guess all those unnecessary yet extremely highly-paid executives and board members have to be paid somehow.

  • By Confused, March 13, 2014 @ 6:03 pm

    Soooooooo as an airline employee who pays to park at tempelton and sky trains it to the airport I will now have to pay to go 2 more stops to work?

  • By Scott M., March 25, 2014 @ 7:20 pm

    Please note, there’s a factual error in your buzzer response above… There *are* day passes available on Sea Island today, right at the 7-Eleven in the terminal, steps from the bus.

    So this will be removing that option?

  • By Neale Adams, December 2, 2015 @ 3:51 pm

    Soaking the tourists (and now anyone who leaves YVR on Skytrain) is a bad idea. Frankly, I believe it violates NAFTA and other trade treaties. All people in Vancouver should be treated equally.

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