The Card Keeps Tapping – Post Compass Card Beta Test (October 19, 2013)

It’s been another week tapping the leftover amount on my Compass Card.  It’s October 19th and I have just under $60 left in my balance.  I think the money is lasting a little longer since I only get $1.75 deducted per ride with a Concession card.  Here are a few of my thoughts from the past week.

  • I really want a way to track my own transactions.  I know that I am only deducted $1.75 per ride.  So why is my balance ending in a number that is not a multiple of $0.25.  I think it probably has something to do with the discount for Compass Card use, but I’m not sure.  I’m not sure TransLink is planning to give us access to this info.  I would think it’s easy enough for somebody has registered their card.
  • Yesterday I got a lot of red “Tap Card Again” errors at the SkyTrain gates.  I didn’t have so many problems with errors since I removed other NFC media away from the Compass Card.  I’m not sure if TransLink has done something to the readers or whether it’s my card
  • I wonder if there will be a Compass Card service centre of some sort.  I can imagine these cards malfunctioning.  When I was in Taipei, they use tiny plastic RFID/NFC tokens.  I had at least 3 of these tokens malfunction on me during my 5 day trip to the Taiwan capital.  Luckily, each Metro station has a service centre that could deal with issues as they come.  Our SkyTrain stations have nothing of sort.
  • There’s been news about a loophole where a passenger could “tap out” earlier than he/she actually alights the bus.  This is only an issue with bus rides that cross zone boundaries.  I can’t see bus drivers having the time to monitor the back card readers for “fare evaders.”  However, TransLink’s answer on the news was very flat and not very good.  It sounded like they didn’t have a solution to the problem and just brushed off the issue.
  • With some of these Compass Card complaints that have come out in the past month since testing began, why has the media not approached the man who spearheaded all these fare gates.  That would be Kevin Falcon.  So Kevin gave the edict to install fare gates, but TransLink gets the blame when things go wrong.  Is this how politics and transit works in British Columbia?

I’ll keep you all posted until my balance runs out.  Maybe I’ll even try tapping once my balance is depleted and see what happens.

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2 comments

  1. To answer your questions:
    1) During the beta test, one part was testing the online software that allowed you to log on at Translink.ca to check your compass balance. Did you try that? The compass offers a ~14% discount over regular fares, so next time see if it costs something like $1.51.
    2) The compass vending machines should be at all stations. You can also call customer service, which is a major cost of compass.
    3) Tapping out early would be fare evasion! I don’t think it’ll be a huge issue, as there’ll be occasional checks by transit police (they’ll probably carry compass readers).
    4) Faregates was Falcon’s idea. A smart card was always a translink initiative. But TL mixed the two up. I hate the TL haters too. It seems like they have something to blame for every transit issue.

    1. There was online software to check the Compass balance? I totally missed out on that. Thanks for the info. I look forward to the actual card rollout.

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