Loading articles...

TransLink rolls out universal fare gates for customers with disabilities

Last Updated Jan 23, 2018 at 10:13 am PDT

(Screengrab: Video by Ashley Burr for NEWS 1130)

RFID cards will be issued to approved transit riders who have difficulty using the regular Compass gates

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – People with disabilities will soon be able to more easily use fare gates at SkyTrain and SeaBus stations.

TransLink is rolling out a new program that allows riders with disabilities to pass through gates using radio-frequency identification (RFID) cards.

“As the customer approaches the gate, it will open when the card comes within range — and close after they pass through it. [It has] a range of approximately two to three metres,” explains TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond.

“It’s seamless for our customers and it enables independence on our transit system. That is key. We want to make sure anybody and everybody who wants to use the SkyTrain system can use it when they want and how they want.”

The Compass fare gate system was originally rolled out a little over two years ago. Shortly after the system came online, transit riders with disabilities began reporting difficulties using it.

A temporary solution was brought in a couple of months later, with TransLink staffing stations to help people who can’t use their hands to tap in or out. Disability gates were left open during times when staff were not available.


The transit authority says more than 40 per cent of stations with fare gates are now equipped with the RFID technology and all SkyTrain and SeaBus stations will be using it by the end of the year.

Eligible customers have to apply for the program online. They will have to meet with an occupational therapist before they are approved for a card.