$5 surcharge on YVR leg of Canada Line okayed

A $5 surcharge on Canada Line rides to and from Vancouver Airport will be expanded to more transit users when the Compass card rolls out. - Black Press file photo
A $5 surcharge on Canada Line rides to and from Vancouver Airport will be expanded to more transit users when the Compass card rolls out.
— image credit: Black Press file photo

TransLink will make many passengers who don't have a monthly pass pay a $5 surcharge to ride the Canada Line branch between Vancouver Airport and Bridgeport Station after the Compass card rolls out.

The YVR AddFare surcharge is already charged on Canada Line riders who pay in cash or buy a day pass on Sea Island. It's been in place since 2010 to help TransLink cover a shortfall in financing the Canada Line.

TransLink Commissioner Robert Irwin approved TransLink's request to also charge the $5 fee for Compass cardholders who pay with stored value or who buy a day pass on the card at a Sea Island station.

Until now, savvy passengers going to and from YVR have been able to avoid the surcharge by using pre-paid FareSaver tickets.

But that will no longer be an option when the Compass card rolls out and FareSavers are phased out.

Irwin said he doesn't want greeters and sightseers to be deterred from taking the Canada Line to the airport, and noted they can avoid paying the AddFare by buying a day pass on their card at a station off Sea Island.

Compass card users who buy an electronic monthly pass on their card won't be charged extra either.

Nor will some other special pass holders, including employees who work at YVR or elsewhere on Sea Island.

All 67 public comments received by the commissioner opposed the expanded fee.

Some called it "outrageous" or "a blatant cash grab" and others warned the commissioner it will deter transit use on the YVR spur line because it makes a taxi ride cheaper for a family heading to the airport.

Current FareSaver users said they would be "far more inclined to drive" and one respondent from Quebec said he'd be more likely to rent a car at the airport in the future.

Extending the AddFare's reach to more people is forecast to generate an extra $1.7 million. The surcharge has not been generating as much money as TransLink originally expected.

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