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Clearing up questions about TransLink's Compass Card

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – As the Compass Card gets officially unveiled this fall, transit users have plenty of questions about multi-zone fares and transfer deadlines.

So we endeavoured TransLink’s Derek Zabel to answer those questions.

Question: What happens when you only have enough fare credits on the card to travel one zone, yet you travel three zones?

Answer: The six-dollar deposit we pay for the card acts like a line of credit. “You’re allowed to dip into your six dollar deposit. It allows you to go into overdraft. It guarantees people one safe trip home,” says Zabel. But you’ll have to top up your credits and cover your overdraft to get on transit once again.

Question: Will you get charged additional fare as you tap off transit if you’ve gone past the 90 minute travel deadline?

Answer: “If you’ve made your final transfer before the 90-minute window, you’re not going to be dinged any more because you’re entitled to 120 total minutes in the system,” says Zabel.

Question: How will you know how many minutes you have left before you exceed the 90-minute trip deadline?

Answer: Zabel doesn’t know if there will be a system that could work in conjunction with something like a smartphone.

Question: How will you know how much credit is left on the card?

Answer:  You will be able to insert the serial number found on the card into a website which will let you know.

Question: Where will we be able to top up our credits?

Answer: Online, by phone and at SkyTrain stations. There will be vending machines at a yet-to-be-announced retailer.

Question: Will the Compass Card be tied to our credit card?

Answer: Not unless you decide to opt for the auto-load feature. For people who use monthly passes, the Compass Card could be loaded automatically once a month from a bank account or a credit card account.

Question: What happens to people who use the BC Government Bus Pass?

Answer: Bus pass holders will be notified about how the pass will be integrated with the Compass Card.