All B.C. Bus Pass users to get Compass cards

Fare gates close at all SkyTrain stations in Metro Vancouver this week

Low-income seniors and people with disabilities who have the provincially subsidized BC Bus Pass will also be issued a Compass card, giving them unlimited use of the Metro Vancouver transit system, even if they live outside the region.

About 80,000 pass holders who live within the TransLink area previously got Compass cards that give them continued unlimited transit access, but the provincial government says it is now mailing Compass cards to 18,000 other BC Bus Pass users who live elsewhere in B.C.

Most of the use is expected to be by pass holders in outlying regions like the Fraser Valley or Vancouver Island who come to Metro for medical appointments or to visit family.

Sunday’s announcement came as TransLink begins closing all fare gates this week, requiring Compass cards or tickets to board SkyTrain. Bus transfers and FareSavers no longer work.

By Friday, all gates at the 50 SkyTrain and Seabus stations are to generally be kept closed, ending the practice in recent weeks of keeping one gate open at each station to ensure access for people with disabilities.

TransLink has promised to instead staff most of the stations at peak times and keep a gate open when staff can’t be present to assist those in specialized wheelchairs who can’t tap in themselves.

Spokesperson Jennifer Morland said there may be larger numbers of stations with a gate left open at night when there are fewer staff on shift.

This week marks the final step in the Compass card rollout, which went over budget and was repeatedly delayed due to performance problems.

SkyTrain stations had been ungated since the original Expo Line opened in 1985, leading to recurring concerns over the years about fare evasion and security on the system.

Morland said the vast majority of passengers arriving at gated stations Monday morning already had Compass cards and staff only had to assist relatively small numbers with buying Compass tickets from vending machines.

The first stations to be gated Monday included Lougheed, as well as a few other stations in Burnaby, New Westminster and on the Canada Line.

“Each day we’ll be adding an additional 10 stations,” Morland said. “By Friday all of the stations will have closed gates.”

About 750,000 transit users now have Compass cards.

TransLink won’t lose fare revenue from extending more Compass access to holders of BC Bus Passes, which cost eligible seniors $45 a year. The provincial government is to absorb any increased costs.

The Compass card addition is separate from the change to the transit pass policy for people on provincial disability assistance that takes effect Sept. 1. The monthly disability payment, currently $906 for a single person, rises by $77 a month. A $52 per month charge takes effect for people who opt to continue to receive monthly passes for unlimited transit use.

Just Posted

Police say they’ve identified suspects in Bradley Kline homicide in Surrey

Kline, 26, was found dead at 7055 144A St. on Dec. 7, 2018

Star time for Surrey actor in ‘Snow White’ panto play

Royal Canadian Theatre Company presents a twist on Disney script at Surrey Arts Centre this month

Ten of 11 people taken into custody after shooting in Surrey have been released

Police say four guns, two Tasers, drugs and other weapons were seized after home shot at in Whalley

Madchild headlines ‘Hip Hop For Hunger’ at Surrey’s Strumms ‘n Drums club

Venue at Turf Hotel has hosted a variety of music events in recent months

Cardiac-event survivors stage hospital protest in White Rock

Optional maintenance exercise program to continue ‘indefinitely’ despite confusion– FHA

MAP: Christmas light displays in Surrey and beyond

Send us pictures of your National Lampoon-style lit-up homes, nativity scenes or North Pole playlands

Seven arrested in 20-man fight between rival gangs in Vancouver

Seven men were arrested but have since been released with no charges filed

SkyTrain strike averted after ‘eleventh-hour deal’ reached

CUPE 7000 says ‘marathon bargaining session’ led to tentative agreement with BC Rapid Transit

China hints at national security trials for 2 Canadians detained for one year

The two Canadians’ detention is largely seen as retaliation for the arrest of a Huawei exec

B.C. seaplane company set to test the first commercial electronic plane

The plane is powered by a 750 horsepower electric motor

Fireballs to fill the sky Friday for brightest meteor shower of the year

Geminid meteor shower features colourful, brighter, longer shooting stars

Province sues over sailing incident that killed teen with disabilities

Gabriel Pollard, 16, died from injuries after marine lift failed

Hope’s illicit drug death rate rivals Vancouver

Small Fraser Valley district listed among top five per capita in B.C.

First Nations want Big Bar landslide cleared ASAP to allow fish passage

Leadership calling for urgent action and resources to remove obstruction on the Fraser

Most Read