Compass U-Pass

Compass Card Reader (flickr/Steve Chou)

Something happened this past Friday for transit in Vancouver. The first of the U-Pass BC Compass Cards rolled out. I’m surprised that TransLink is not tooting their horn more in this case. This is a big step in the implementation of the smart card system. Perhaps all the technical glitches that have delayed the full Compass Card release are making TransLink hedge their bets and not make a big splashy announcement.

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Getting Around Sapporo – The Sapporo Subway

Sapporo, just like other Japanese cities, is well serviced by rail transportation. The subway system serves most of the inner city. The Japan Rail Hokkaido (hereby referred to as JR) trains connect Sapporo to the surrounding towns, the New Chitose Airport, and other major destinations throughout Hokkaido.

The System

The Sapporo Subway system is made up of 3 lines and is very simple to use.  Rides on the subway range from ¥200-360 depending on how far one travels through the system. The blue Toho Line runs north-south and serves the northeast and southeast of Sapporo. Major destinations accessible on the Toho Line include Toyohiro Park (Toyohiro Koen station), and the Sapporo Dome (Fukuzumi station). The green Namboku Line runs north-south as well, but serve the areas directly north and south of the city centre. Major destinations along the line include Nakajima Park (Nakajima Koen station) and Hokkaido University (Kita 12 Jo station). The orange Tozai Line runs mainly east-west and serves the city’s northwest and part of the southeast.  Famous attractions on the Tozai Line include the Shiroi Koibito Park (Miyanosawa station) and Maruyama Park (Maruyama Koen station). All three lines feed into Odori Station. Like most Japanese subway systems, all stations in the system have a letter and number combo to identify the station. Because you know it’s a lot easier to say station H-05 than saying Higashi Kuyakusho Mae station for us foreigners.

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Compass Card and the loss of the Employee Pass Program

So the end is nigh for FareSaver tickets and the Employee Pass Program.  I personally will not miss either.  I would much prefer to have a Stored Value on my cards.  However, the loss of the Employee Pass Program may be larger than expected.  At least, that’s what I imply from Todd Litman’s research on Local Funding Options for Public Transportation [PDF]. Of all the … Continue reading Compass Card and the loss of the Employee Pass Program

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

Post Compass Beta Test Update – Keep on Tapping, Tapping, Tapping

So I still had $100 of “play cash” on my orange concession Compass Card.  The monthly pass expired on October 1st.  So I’ve been slowly using up the “cash.”  A few more observations from this past week. The bus card readers and the SkyTrain gate card readers are different.  The SkyTrain gates seem to read the cards quite easily and robustly.  I can hold my … Continue reading Post Compass Beta Test Update – Keep on Tapping, Tapping, Tapping

Compass Beta Test is officially over, but …

The Compass Beta Test is officially over as of yesterday. Here’s a few notes from the last week. I was able to tap my card through my backpack a couple of times. I had to keep my card in a more exterior pocket and I only ever tried it on the SkyTrain gates. It would have looked and felt awkward to “tap my bag” on … Continue reading Compass Beta Test is officially over, but …

Quick Compass Update

I’ve had the beta Compass card for about a week now.  This beta test would end up happening during a time of work where I need the car to do presentations and fairs.  However, a few things that I’ve shared with TransLink already. Tapping onto a crowded B-Line proves to be tricky.  People are hugging the poles at the back doors.  So it’s hard not … Continue reading Quick Compass Update

The Compass Card is Here!

As a selected beta tester for the new Compass Card, I am very excited to have the chance to use the card.  And here it is!  It just arrived in the mail yesterday. Apparently, I’ve received the Concession version of the Compass Card.  The back of the card says: This card may only be used by children 5-13 years, Secondary Students 14-19 years possessing a … Continue reading The Compass Card is Here!