Compass Notes – Keep a close watch on your balance

As I’ve been using my card for a few weeks now, I must say that one has to keep a close eye on one’s account balance. I already had one incident where $2.75 was taken off my card by mistake. Good thing I noticed that money had disappeared off my card when I checked my balance.

compass card homepage

compass card info summaryFirst of all, let me tell you what I am using on my Compass Card. I bought a 1-Zone Monthly Pass for October. Most of my travel is in Vancouver. So 1-Zone is usually more than enough. However, I also put $10 on my card as “Stored Value.” The Stored Value is what people with no monthly passes or day passes activated on their cards use when they tap in and tap out. It’s essentially like cash on your card to pay for your transactions. For someone like me with the monthly pass, my Stored Value is used whenever I have to pay extra fare for crossing a zone boundary.

When I thought I still had $10 on my Compass Card, I was curious and went to a Compass Ticket Vending Machine to read my card balance. I followed the on-screen instructions and buttons to read my balance. It read $7.25. What the ….?

compass card guest loginI wasn’t about to spend my sweet time looking at my card usage at the Compass Ticket Vending Machine. So when I got to a computer, I logged onto to check my balance. I registered my card already. There is an option for a guest login if you don’t want to create an account.

I looked over my tap ins and tap outs in the “View Card Usage” section under the “Compass Card Information” page. I noticed that for every tap in at a SkyTrain station, I was automatically deducted $2.75. Then for every following tap out from a SkyTrain in the same zone, they give me back the $2.75. The Compass Card is essentially deducting a $2.75 maximum additional fare in case I travel 3 zones instead of 1 zone. Once I tap out in the same zone, it gives me back the money.

Well, why did I end up with $7.25 then? One time I had a tap out error. I had travelled from Joyce Station to Stadium Station. Either I forgot to tap out or the reader got it wrong when I tapped out Stadium Station. I was deducted $2.75 upon “tap in” at Joyce Station, but I never got my $2.75 back when I “tapped out’ at Stadium Station. Both stations are in the same zone. So I should have gotten my $2.75 back automatically.

I had to call the Compass Customer Service Centre to talk to a service rep and have my $2.75 put back on my card. It was a little bit of pain, but not as bad as calling the cable company. I got my $2.75 back and I was happy as bunny.

From my screen cap above, you can tell I only have $6 left on my Stored Value. Since my missing money incident, I have travelled into Surrey once from Vancouver (a 1 to 3-zone AddFare of $2.75) and from Surrey to Burnaby (a 1 to 2-zone AddFare of $1.25).

I’m happy to see that the automatic AddFare deductions from my card worked as promise on those two trips, but I would definitely keep a close watch on your Stored Value balance in case there are any card reader errors. Especially in these early days, there could be more errors.

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