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Get involved! Let’s talk transit fares and how distance-based fares could work

Since 1984, the way we determine fares—including our zone structure and fare products—haven’t significantly changed.

With the introduction of the Compass system, we now have the ability to redesign our fare system so it works better for more people.

That’s why in 2016, we launched the Transit Fare Review, a comprehensive four-phase review to take a fresh look at how we price transit in Metro Vancouver.

Through the first two phases, we heard from our customers that the current zone-based fare system doesn’t work well and they’d like to see a system that prices fares more closely to distances travelled.

We want to hear from you in Phase 3 on how distanced-based fares could work as part of the Phase 3 Transit Fare Review survey, which is open until December 8. We’ve narrowed the options: by kilometre on rapid transit with a flat fare on bus, or by kilometre across the entire transit system.

We also heard strong support from customers in the previous phases for a system that’s affordable for frequent riders. So, we’re also asking for input on fare products that would provide benefits for frequent users, such as a prepaid pass or paying-as-you-go with a fare cap.

As well, we’d like to know if there’s support for expanding our customer discounts, since many people have told us they want to share their thoughts for how to improve discounts to customers.

But before you take the survey, make sure you watch the videos and read the discussion guide at to help you understand the options before you take the Phase 3 Transit Fare Review survey.

We want everyone to understand the options, their trade-offs and how they could affect prices for some trips as any changes we make to the fare structure will mean fares for some trips will go up, others will go down, and some trips will cost about the same.

A brief history of transit fares in Metro Vancouver

From one flat fare for all trips to over 100 fares to choose from, our transit system has tried it all in its 127-year history.

Since 1958, we’ve had five major iterations: 100 fare options in 1958, two fare options in 1965, “the common area” in 1976, one flat fare in 1981, “three zones-plus” in 1984, and our current three-zone system. Scroll through the slideshow below to learn more!

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Want to learn more even more?! Check out this Buzzer blog post from 2016.

Get involved at! Have questions? Email

1 Comment

  • By Kevin, November 20, 2017 @ 4:39 pm

    It’s honestly a bit difficult to provide you with comments on the pre-paid options because there’s a sentence that says that one option will result in caps that are “slightly higher than current,” and without any idea of what that may be, any comments I could provide are a bit hard to make.

    I submitted that in the survey. I’m in favour of a cap if it’s not hugely more expensive, and if only the Compass system allowed us to top-off *up to* a set amount, ie, the monthly cap. Right now, I can only top off a set amount once I go below a set value. I suppose I could do the math and reverse-engineer my way through this, but I’d prefer not to give Translink more money than I need to.

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