Monday, August 19, 2013

The Boxing Of Translink's 200 Million Dollar Compass


Update, Monday Aug 19th....This was originally posted last Thursday...I've moved it to the top for those folks flocking over from Laila Yuile's most excellent piece in 24 Hrs...


We now know the Compass thingy will cost, when all is said and done, around $200 million.

Which is $200 million that will never be recouped by the nailing of those awful evil ne'r do wells known as fare evaders (and/or poor people).

We also know that the entire thing could have been done without turnstiles that would have saved oodles of money and cut down on the coming congestion (can't wait to see all the folks lined up in the morning at the King Ed Canada Line station trying to get through three, count 'em, three! gates).

And we know that Cubic, the company that is raking in that $200 million, actually makes mag-strip readers.

And yesterday we learned, via an excellent piece from Michael Mui in 24 Hours, that run-of-the mill folks (i.e. the members of the public who are actually paying the $200 million that will not do one single thing to increase Translink's public transportation capacity) who buy a ticket on a bus (rather than first buy a six dollar Compass Card AND a bus fare prior to going anywhere near a bus) will not be able to transfer onto a train because, of course, Translink doesn't want to pay to install mag-strip readers (that read bus transfers) at the train stations where those uber-expensive turnstiles will be.

Which, of course, is the item that is getting all the play (and a petition) today.

But there was something else buried in Mr. Mui's piece that is worth noting:

...(Spokesperson Derek) Zabel said TransLink expects most customers to use the Compass Card instead, as monthly and pre-loadable options offer a discount of up to 14% as a further incentive to buy...


We noticed the killing of the Faresavers (= discounted 10 packs of fare tickets) a couple of weeks back and we were waiting to see what the 'incentive' would actually be given that a 'stored value option' euphemistic mollifer was waved in our faces by the flack-hackery as a 'don't worry, be happy' flag at the time.


In the place of the Faresavers we now know that Translink will now offer a discount of 'up to' 14%, presumably for purchasing multiple trips on the six dollar Compass card.

Let's see...

A 14% reduction on a $2.75 one zone fare would bring things down to $2.35.

And the current cost of one zone Faresaver ticket?

Well, that would be $2.10.

So the increase for moving to the Compass thingy, on top of the $200 million, is actually a hike of more than 10% of the current Faresaver price for a one zone fare.

Which is a drop-in-the bucket right?

Sure thing.

Unless, of course, you are just scraping by and you have to take public transit to get to and from work on a regular basis.


The upshot of all this is that I think Vancouver councillor Andrea Reimer may have been right when she tweeted the following a couple of weeks ago:

Especially those of us that need to take it most.

Take public transit, I mean.


And, as a post-script, I think it is very important to again note, for future reference (particularly given the past performance of the associated flack-hackery), that there is an 'up to' qualifier linked to that 14%.



kootcoot said...

The new system will really infuriate tourists and other visitors to Vancouver - which doesn't bother me as you would have to pay me to go there, other than to pass through on my way to the Island.

Anonymous said...

Next time I leave a comment here its going to be a copy paste save off line. Google says that an error occurred, that cookies cache needs dumping, AND to check online to see if others having been having a similar problem...

North Van's Grumps said...

Let's see... A Two Zone purchase with coins on a Translink bus from the North Shore to Vancouver is only permitted via the Second Narrows Bridge and the First Narrows Bridge..... because the SeaBus costs more. To get from downtown Vancouver (within the allotted fare time from the Bus) via either the Canada Line or SkyTrain will require a SECOND fare purchase of a ONE ZONE, even though you've paid for TWO zones, but restricted to a traveling by bus.

Basically we are now living in another one of the BC Liberals TWO TIER systems.

Sea Bus at Lonsdale Quay is now Compass tolled ... although we can now understand why Translink officials dropped their first choice: EnCompass.

The coin purchase of a TWO ZONE before Compass, included the ability to ride in the ONE ZONE for ..... free... sort of


One Zone Concession Fare is $1.75 Two Zone Concession Fare is $2.75

Which means that we WERE paying ONE Dollar for gaining access to the Second Zone.

Now, if we choose to go via the SeaBus, the bus down the hill is ONE FARE (not fair):

One Zone Concession Fare $1.75
SeaBus to Vancouver Fare $2.75


Christy... you can take your job and $%^&*### .... shine.

RossK said...


Actually the Canada Line + Express Busmakes it a pretty solid/quick journey from town to the Tswwassen ferry....Almost as fast and will save you mucho re: PCL Bus gouging

(there are good things about our transit system)



Sorry you've got me there...If anybody else has these kinds of problems please let me know


Thanks NVG--

I'm sure there are all sorts of bizarre pay way more scenarios - I just took the two simplest ones.

Now...who to really blame for all this?

Well, I think you have to go back to the Days of Exile on this one (i.e. late period Gordon/Golden Era)...Post to follow

(but, for those whose memories are sharp....think 'hats'....lots and lots of 'hats')

And thanks to Laila for the Twittmachine shout out this morning...All kinds of new folks stopping by today because of it.

Might have to get more proactive on that thing (I essentially use it as an accessory, often 'pre-release' news feed)


North Van's Grumps said...

Turns out RossK, that the New minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Todd Stone, has just released the "8th Annual Women in Fixed Income Industry Forum" report via his BC Ferries finances "What We Do" ... I'm not kidding you.... the contents don't match the title which is all about BC Ferries dropping Stat on passengers and cars.

Anonymous said...

Lotsa shiny new stuff, $200 Million PLUS paid for by the BC taxpayers in preparation for the Harper/Clark BC Lib gangers to give away to their bosses...corporate welfare bums....again.

kootcoot said...

Actually Ross, if I were going to the Island, I would likely be driving and would take the cut-off up the Fraser Valley directly to Tsawassen, thus missing the big smoke entirely - unless I wanted to visit somebody in town.

I meant that visitors and tourists wouldn't be likely to have a Compass Card and would be trapped into double payment, kinda like out of towners aren't likely to have arrangements for paying toll bridge tolls at the minimum rate. Of course if I was from out of town, especially out of province I would simply ignore the toll anyway.

kootcoot said...

BTW, I actually liked the Transit system in the mid-eighties when I spent some time in East Van, I could actually do a round trip on tranfers by for example going down Hastings and returning on Skytrain, or the reverse - I lived on Lakewood between Broadway and Hastings. If my trip fit into the time limit on a transfer, I paid once for a return trip to the downtown library or ?.

Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

Nobody can say F___ Y__ louder or clearer than an agency of government like the bus company.

RossK said...


Or, in this case at least, a hand-picked 'Board of The Gord'.


Evil Eye said...

Here we have another Campbell/Doebell fiasco, via TransLink.

For those of us who buy monthly passes, we also no longer get to claim the transit tax credit with the compass cards. It may be a minimal amount to some but when you are buying 3 zone passes every month, even a small credit back was great. Oh and if you get overcharged for traveling, is there a dispute resolution process and the onus may be on the user to prove this as receipts or proof of payment is not provided when the card is scanned.

Read more:

Read even more:

RossK said...

Thanks very much EE--

Following up...


Anonymous said...

Ugh, you people are the biggest whiners. Every major city on the planet has smart cards and u people act like it's the end of the world/Your country sure in u still rely on 18th century technology in transit... my god, do u people even have electricity and phones over there?