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Compass Card system celebrates fifth anniversary

Compass Card system celebrates fifth anniversary

November marks the fifth anniversary of TransLink’s Compass rollout. Compass made it more convenient to pay transit fares online or over the phone. Its transformative technology and the smart card system made it possible so customers didn’t have to rely on physical vending machines or purchasing transit passes in stores.

The year following that, fare gates at SkyTrain stations and SeaBus terminals closed in the spring of 2016.

Over the past five years, Compass has continued to make access to transit easier by adding various new components.

The Compass system is the first in the world to introduce Universal Faregate access allowing customers who are unable to tap a Compass Card access through faregates. This fully automated, touchless access to a gated transit system means that fare gates open when customers’ radio-frequency identification (RFID) card signals to RFID readers located above designated accessible fare gates.

In November 2018, the Compass system was the First in North America to introduce wearable payment technology with Compass wristbands that work just like the Compass Card.

Earlier in 2018, TransLink was the first in Canada to introduce Tap to Pay where customers can pay for fare directly with their credit cards. The Compass technology allows passengers to pay for fare directly with credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, and American Express) or mobile wallet digital payment (Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay).

Since its launch in November 2015, the Compass system has had approximately 2.5 billion taps system-wide.

Typically, Compass Cards are blue (for adults) and orange (concession) in colour, but a recent edition to the limited-edition Compass Cards family is the COVID-19 design that bears the six-word phrase “Be Kind, Be Calm, Be Safe” to recognize the efforts of Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

You can buy a Compass Card online or at your nearby retailer and don’t forget to register your card for balance protection and the option to set AutoLoad. Happy birthday Compass!


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