TransLink's new Compass cards won't offer as generous a discount as the existing FareSaver pre-paid tickets.

TransLink's new Compass cards won't offer as generous a discount as the existing FareSaver pre-paid tickets.

Stealth transit fare hike deserves scrutiny: critic

TransLink under fire for Compass card's shrunken discount

A TransLink critic says the new Compass card payment system arriving next year unfairly sneaks in a stealth fare increase for the many transit riders who use booklets of pre-paid FareSaver tickets.

Sustainable transportation advocate Patrick Rault says passengers who normally use FareSavers will pay roughly 12 per cent more to travel one zone when the new Compass cards take effect in 2014.

FareSavers now cost $2.10 each for a one-zone trip – 24 per cent less than the $2.75 cash price – but users who get a Compass card will pay $2.35 for one zone, a slimmer discount that will add up to considerably higher transit costs over the course of a year.

TransLink officials say the current discount on FareSavers is larger than it has historically been because the last fare hike was applied to cash fares while the price of pre-paid tickets was frozen.

“If you look at it on a global perspective, the way we’ve designed it is revenue-neutral,” TransLink vice-president Mike Madill said.

Many passengers who now pay cash will switch to Compass cards, he predicts, and save up to 14 per cent compared to what they now pay.

Rault contends that under TransLink’s legislation, the change in fare pricing should have gone to the independent TransLink Commissioner for approval and to a vote of the region’s mayors’ council.

“It’s not being done in the spirit of the law,” he said. “TransLink is doing whatever it wants with the fare structure.”

Madill said changes to discounted fares like the “stored value” rates with the new Compass cards do not count as short-term fare increases that are subject to approval of the commissioner, who can veto cash fare hikes.

Other changes to the system mean other groups of users will also pay more.

TransLink has eliminated its Employer Pass Program that gave employees of participating companies large discounts.

TransLink had intended to eliminate FareSavers as of Jan. 1, but the delay in rolling out the Compass card means FareSavers will still be sold until next summer, when most passengers are to be offered the new cards.

TransLink’s 2014 base plan shows combined revenue from cash fares and either FareSavers or its Compass card stored value equivalent is forecast to rise 12 per cent from $188.1 million in 2013 to $210.4 million in 2015.

Over the same period, ridership is forecast to rise just three per cent to 244 million.

Rault said he suspects the increased revenue compared to ridership means passengers will end up paying more on average.

But he added much of the revenue gain may be the result of TransLink’s projection that fare evasion will be reduced once SkyTrain faregates are activated.

Rault also believes TransLink is underestimating the number of passengers who pay by cash on buses and transfer to SkyTrain, where they face having to pay again if they refuse to use a Compass card.

Officials estimate just 6,000 riders per day now use bus-to-SkyTrain cash transfers that will no longer be accepted at SkyTrain faregates.

Just Posted

Councillor Doug Elford. (File photo: Amy Reid)
Elford to join Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society as a director

Fellow Safe Surrey Coalition Councillors Laurie Guerra, Mandeep Nagra and Allison Patton will be re-appointed to the board

A cyclist stops traffic to allow a gaggle of geese cross the road. (Tino Fluckiger photo)
White Rock man asks motorists to be mindful of wildlife after close call

Impatient motorists drives into oncoming traffic

Big Splash water park is located in Tsawwassen. (submitted photo)
Big Splash reopens Canada Day with changes to keep the water park ‘safe for everyone’

Executive Hotels & Resorts has owned and operated the attraction since 2017

Elgin Park Secondary students rally for climate change outside of their South Surrey in 2019. (Nick Greenizan photo)
City of Surrey set to host online climate-action panel

June 23 Zoom event to include speakers, question-and-answer period

(Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey council moves to reduce parking along rapid transit corridors

This also targets rental housing developments in Rapid Transit Areas

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Most Read