Compass Notes – a Month of Stored Value

Well, it’s been 3 months with my new Compass Card. I’ve had mostly good experiences with the card. I used 2 months of the card with a monthly pass – in October and November – and one month in December with only my Stored Value.

A trip using Stored Value is $2.10 for 1-zone, $3.15 for 2-zones, and $4.20 for 3-zones. The multi-zone fares apply to any trips that include a SkyTrain and SeaBus portion. However, if you are taking the bus only, then $2.10 is all you pay.

card usage filter

If you’ve registered your card, then you can easily track how much you’ve spent. Simply filter correctly for the date range and find out how much you’ve spent.

For me, I downloaded the CSV file and opened it up in Excel. Then I could just Sum up all the numbers in the “Amount” column and removed the payments I made to top up my “Stored Value.”

So in December, I spent a grand total of $53.30. That confirms to me that if I don’t have to work for at least a week in a month, it’s not worth buying the $91.00 1-zone monthly pass. In the past, I knew it was cheaper to go with FareSavers on months whenI worked 3 weeks or less, but now I have the easy numbers to confirm my suspicion.

There were a couple of drawbacks to switching to Stored Value without a Monthly Pass in December, though.

First, I had to pay for the $5 Canada Line YVR AddFare when I took the Canada Line from the airport back home. So on top of my 2-zone fare of $3.15, a $5 charge was tacked onto my fare. So I paid $8.15 to take the train from the airport. That’s still better than the $30+ taxi ride. If I had a monthly pass, then I would not have been charged the $5 YVR AddFare.

The other drawback is that I take transit less in months I don’t have a monthly pass. The monthly pass encourages me to explore the city on transit when I have days off. When I don’t have the monthly pass, I will tend to do more errands by car. I really noticed that on my week off for Christmas that I did zero transit travel. If I did go anywhere, I tended to take the car. In the overall picture, though, using the car is a more expensive venture than going by transit.

So that was my first ever month using just Stored Value. Now with the January in full swing, I am back to the Monthly Pass. I can see myself travelling more by transit again this month.

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