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TransLink introducing one-zone fare on buses

Last Updated Aug 6, 2015 at 12:15 pm PDT

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Starting October 5th, there will be one-zone fare on all buses, all day, every day. It’s part of the greater rollout of the beleaguered Compass Card program.

TransLink recognized it would have a problem with passengers not “tapping out” on buses when leaving, which would mean an inaccurate fare charge.

The one-zone fare will only apply to buses and HandyDART. It will not include travel on SkyTrain, SeaBus, or West Coast Express; for those modes, “the existing fare-zone rates will remain in effect, and tapping out will still be required to ensure the correct fare is charged.”

Jordan Bateman with the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation says the unintended consequence may be that people avoid SkyTrain now and take buses because it’s cheaper.

“That flies in the face of years of what TransLink has been trying to do with the system. People do amazing things to avoid paying more money; they drive around the Port Mann Bridge all the way to the Pattullo and wait in traffic to save a few bucks. They’ll drive to Abbotsford to save money on gas taxes,” he tells us.

TransLink says starting this month, the Compass Vending Machines activation will be phased in at SkyTrain stations and SeaBus terminals. It expects that will take several weeks.

The plan is for single-use tickets to be available through the machines at first; TransLink expects the machines will be stocked with Compass Cards by late October.

It says by November, the cards will be available at retail outlets, customer service walk-in centres, and by mail (through ordering online or by phone).