Last week, I posted about TransLink’s first quarter results. Compared to the same period last year, revenue was flat.
This week, TransLink is having its Annual General Meeting and Open Board Meeting on June 23rd. Full details are available on the TransLink website. In preparation for the meeting, TransLink has released various reports that will be presented at the Open Board Meeting.
What caught my eye was the report on the Compass Card Project. As of April 30th, the total project cost was $190.4 million. In April, total transit revenue was up $2.9 million compared to the same period last year (or 7% compared to the same period last year.) It will be interesting to see if this trend continues, and what the final second quarter numbers will be.
According to the report’s author “the closure of the faregates, the high visibility of front line staff, and a marking campaign” are the reasons for the revenue increase. Interestingly enough, another report in the Public Board Meeting Package (page 73) notes that if fare gates remain open at all time, there would be a $8.3 million estimated annual loss in revenue. This is less than the total lifecycle cost of the fare gates.
The Compass Card itself is useful as it makes using transit easier to use for customers, and provides information to TransLink about how its services are used. It also seems to be having a positive impact on revenue. The fare gates themselves? I’m not so sure.
Speaking about fare gates, TransLink estimates that there are between 15 and 50 people who used to be able to use SkyTrain independently, but can’t once all the fare gates are fully closed. The agency looked at several near-term and long-term options to maintaining access for these people. TransLink is recommending that in the near-term the current SkyTrain station assistance program be expanded, and that impacted customer have customized assistive devices to help them use the faregates which would be devolped with the agency.
The long-term solution being recommend is to build RFID enabled access doors for customers that cannot tap a Compass Card.
|Proposed long-term solution for people that cannot tap a Compass Card at fare gates. Select image to enlarge.|
If approved by the board, fare gates will be completely closed at the end of July.