ALERT! : More info
Translink Buzzer Blog

Full Compass fare gate closures begin April 4, 2016

All gates closed is coming soon!

All gates closed is coming soon!

Today, 675,000 Compass Cards are in active use, with an average of 1.2 million taps on an average week day!

After months of testing and planning, we are prepared for this next step in rolling out Compass.

Starting April 4, 2016 we will begin closing remaining open fare gates.

By April 8, all gates at SeaBus and SkyTrain (which includes Canada Line) stations will be fully closed and customers will need a Compass Card or Compass Ticket to pass through fare gates and travel on SkyTrain and SeaBus.

Gate closure demonstration at Commercial-Broadway Station today.

During the week of April 4, extra staff will be out on the system to help customers with the transition.

UPDATE: We will have staff at fare gates at all SkyTrain and SeaBus stations to assist these customers. When staff cannot be at stations, one accessible fare gate will remain open so these customers can continue to travel independently. During the period following the closure of fare gates, we will directly engage with these individual customers on the system to better understand their diverse needs.

In March, leading up to the full gate closure, we will continue to test all gates closed at different stations across the system.

**NOTE** During the closure demonstrations, staff will be at the fare gates to assist customers. Bus tickets will not be exchanged, but staff will be on hand to assist them entering the system.


After the full fare gate closure, FareSavers and bus transfers will continue to be valid fare on buses, but customers wishing to transfer to SkyTrain or SeaBus must switch to Compass (card or ticket).

We encourage customers to get ready and switch to Compass before April 4.

With Compass, customers can travel and seamlessly transfer across the TransLink network with a single Compass card/ticket while enjoying benefits like AutoLoad and balance protection.

Compass by the numbers:

  • More than 675,000 customers now have a Compass Card.
  • Approximately 300,000 Compass Cards are tapped on an average weekday.
  • 300,000 (45 per cent) of Compass Cards are registered.
  • 70,000 Compass customers are using AutoLoad to renew Monthly Passes or top up Stored Value.
  • Use of FareSavers is down by 80 per cent.

For more information, head to
To order a Compass Card online or register you card, visit
For a convenient, one-stop source for customer questions and answers, visit

You can view the official press release here.

Author: Adrienne Coling


  • By Doug Hilton, March 1, 2016 @ 11:00 am

    What about those of us with Fare Saver tickets? How will we get through the gates? I think the Compass card is a scam, if you have to pay for it to start. That’s like having to pay for a credit card, or library card. If you lose it, tough luck, but the first one should be free. Then I would use it.
    What about people that are visiting our fine city, using public transit system? Will THEY have to buy a Compass card for day?
    Answer these questions, and PROVE that you have thought this through!

  • By keith, March 1, 2016 @ 12:13 pm

    I don’t work but they have compass tickets at machine at skytrain and Seabus and last time I checked you can goto machine exchange the ticket I hope so since it be double dip for some people but I like compass card since it’s paperless and great for environment

  • By Adrienne Coling, March 1, 2016 @ 12:21 pm

    Hi Doug,
    The $6 deposit was established in order to cover the cost of the cards and to encourage customers to keep their cards for future use; protect customers by allowing them a “guaranteed fare” to get home in the event that to go into negative balance and need to complete the last-leg of their transit journey.
    So, if you don’t have enough fare to finish your journey, when you tap out, you will have a negative balance as the system dips into your $6 reserve – which you will need to top up before your next trip. Basically, the deposit acts as a safety feature so the customer can get where they need to go. The deposit is also fully refundable so this money is always yours.
    If you register your card online at, you receive balance protection – meaning a new card will be issued to you with the value that was on the card.
    Many cities (Tokyo, London for example) with smartcard payment systems for their transit have the same program as we do. The card is refundable when you leave either in person or by mail. I’ve done this when I’ve travelled in many major cities.
    Visitors are also able to buy single Compass Tickets at the vending machines at YVR as well.

  • By VancityAlex, March 1, 2016 @ 1:47 pm

    Are there plans to configure the fare gates in each station to be one way? Currently, people can enter the gates in either direction, but this causes conflicts, especially by those who aren’t willing to use the gates on their right.

  • By Adrienne Coling, March 1, 2016 @ 2:28 pm

    Hi VancityAlex, yes! Operational Compass staff are closely monitoring the usage of the gates (peak times, days, stations, etc). With the information we gather through Compass, particularly when all the gates are closed, will allow the busiest stations to have set directional gates if needed. Thanks!

  • By Bobo, March 1, 2016 @ 2:45 pm

    Will future buses dispense compass tickets for people paying a cash fare?

  • By John, March 1, 2016 @ 7:46 pm

    Translink is a scam and ripping people off. How about people coming to and from work via YVR? Or templeton station? This compass system started Since Jamuary 1st and we didn’t get a response. Everyday we are getting ripped off…no robbed by translink. Really and extremely unsatisfied.

  • By John, March 1, 2016 @ 7:55 pm

    I suggest people working near YVR should not use translink and buy a car a drive instead. Paying for the fare I would mind as well pay for the gas and get the convenience. Besides buses take forever also.

  • By Andrew, March 1, 2016 @ 8:04 pm

    John, if you want to avoid paying the $5 YVR add fare, purchase a compass ticket at another station before hand. The YVR airport authority is the one who implemented the add fare and Translink’s job is to collect it for them on their behalf. With the implemention of compass, the only way for them to collect it is through stored value unfortunately.

  • By Trevor, March 1, 2016 @ 8:26 pm

    And what about those of us who are physically unable to hold our cards up to the scanner, are you going to have an attendant at every single gate from the time the train starts till it stops running for the night? Despite what most people think about people with disabilities we actually have live after 5:00!! Who would of thought. But you could just join our current government in screwing us over seems to be a norm for BC and Vancouver

  • By David M, March 1, 2016 @ 8:33 pm

    I visited Vancouver from Victoria. In advance I ordered a Compass Card on-line so I had it before I departed. I do this before visiting any major city that has a similar program (like London England).

    The system worked flawlessly. I really like it. Plus you save money on trips with single zone fares at $2.10 if you use the card.

    The only downside I saw – the beep is continuous when many people going through the gates. And I agree that at some stations, directional gates would be good to help manage flow.

    I’ll keep my card for future trips to Vancouver.

    I’m not keen on the “pass on the card” system. I wold have preferred to use stored value with a daily cap and a monthly cap instead of “passes”. That way I don’t have to plan ahead – I can just use the card and not worry about it.

  • By Adrienne Coling, March 2, 2016 @ 8:39 am

    @John, Hi there. The YVR AddFare has been in place since the implementation of the Sea Island stations and it is paid by people who use it; those who directly benefit from its existence. Travel within Sea Island (ie from Templeton to TVR) is free. You simply need to get a Compass Ticket from the CVMs on Sea Island that says “Sea Island Only.” It’s a free ticket and will open the gates when you tap it.
    With regards to employee programs, soon, Sea Island employees/volunteers will be able to purchase single-use Compass Tickets that are exempt from the $5 Canada Line YVR AddFare at any of the three International Currency Exchange (ICE) locations at YVR.
    The Vancouver Airport Authority will provide an update when this option is available.
    These tickets will be sold in bundles of 10 at regular fare rates.
    We recommend you purchase the amount you will need for one month of travel. These tickets are valid for 30 days from the date of purchase, unlike tickets purchased from CVMs, which expire at the end of service on the day they are purchased, even if unused.
    Sea Island employees/volunteers must bring proof of Sea Island employment to purchase tickets at ICE locations.
    You will be able to purchase 1-, 2-, or 3-zone adult tickets or DayPass products, as well as concession 1-zone or DayPass products.
    Regular Monthly Pass or pass program holders are also exempt from the AddFare – as well as Day Passes and Compass tickets NOT bought on Sea Island.
    Here’s the link to our website about the AddFare:
    You can email for more information.
    Thank you.

  • By Adrienne Coling, March 2, 2016 @ 8:50 am

    Edit: YVR not TVR :)

  • By Adrienne Coling, March 2, 2016 @ 8:52 am

    @Trevor, I understand your worries and we’ve been listening and working closely with people with disabilities, advisory groups and stakeholders to ensure fare gates don’t impede travel for customers with disabilities.
    Which is why we are introducing a new Station Assistance service at SkyTrain and SeaBus so customers without the ability to tap are able to travel through fare gates.
    With Station Assistance, people with disabilities without the ability to tap can call to request a SkyTrain Attendant to meet them to open the fare gate.
    We are in the process of finalizing the details of this initiative and will provide more information once the timing of the launch and operational details are confirmed. Thank you.

  • By Adrienne Coling, March 2, 2016 @ 10:12 am

    @Bobo, thanks for your question. At this time, it simply doesn’t make financial sense to replace around 2,000 functioning fare boxes on buses with cash payment steadily declining. Today cash is outnumbered by other forms of payment three to one. This is why we are encouraging customers to switch to Compass so that they can travel and transfer seamlessly across the TransLink network and, with a Compass card, always pay the lowest fare.

  • By Brandon, March 2, 2016 @ 12:52 pm

    Im seeing all this talk abojt the compass card being used for skytrain and sea bus but absolutely no word of the normal bus system. Are you taking out the papper transfers from the buses to put in the new compass card transfers when paid via cash. Im asking this cause when people use the bus and transfer on to the skytrain the new system will not work with the apper transfers

  • By Sarah Kertcher, March 2, 2016 @ 1:10 pm

    Hi Brandon,
    If you purchase a cash fare on the bus using the fare box you will be issued a paper bus ticket. This is valid for use on bus only. Should you wish to transfer to Rail or SeaBus you will need to purchase a Single Use Compass Ticket that will open the fare gates, or you can also purchase a Compass Card and use it for your future travels as well.

  • By Jim, March 5, 2016 @ 8:50 am

    None of the trains are at the same level as the entrance, requiring the use of stairs, escalator or elevator. If someone can’t use their arms and/or hands to swipe the compass card how do they use the buttons on the elevator? Am I missing something? Is this issue really a Compass issue? Or has it existed since Skytrain opened.

    On a separate note, keep up the good work Translink. Large projects like these are complicated and will always have issues. Most of the complainers probably could project manage themselves out of a water paper bag.

  • By Sarah Kertcher, March 7, 2016 @ 11:23 am

    Hi Jim!
    Depending on the level of disability, as well as personal preference, people with disabilities have some intuitive ways to complete tasks that would traditionally require the use of hands. Some of our passengers use a specialized mouth stylus to push buttons on things like phones, doors, etc., or use other types of assistive switches including buttons, sip-and-puff controllers, head arrays, and joysticks. Some of our disabled passengers also travel with an attendant who can assist them in these functions.

    Ultimately, this is a broader issue of overall accessibility within the disabled community, which is why our Access Transit department takes this very seriously and has undertaken various forms of outreach and consultation with these groups.

    The Disability Alliance BC has some great resources on their website here:

  • By Gael, March 9, 2016 @ 10:29 pm

    How does the $6 deposit work if we are unable to return the card for a full refund? Can we use up the $6 deposit such that the balance is zero?
    In the future, will there be more locations to get a refund for the deposit? Stadium Chinatown and West Coast Express are inconvenient to come down to.
    If mailing, are we reimbursed for postage?
    How come there is no interest paid on the deposit such as they do on damage deposits?

  • By Jongsu, March 28, 2016 @ 4:45 pm

    Im from south korea. The system in south korea did compass card 15 years ago. They changed the system to new one that anybody can pay with their credit or debit card because compass card was very inconvenient(charging).Translink should come up with better one.

  • By Jim, April 2, 2016 @ 12:35 pm

    @gael – why are you so cheap?

  • By Anonymous, January 14, 2019 @ 4:13 pm

    @jongsu they changed it now, now you can pay with ur debit card

Other Links to this Post

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

Please read our Participation Guidelines before you comment.