Monday, November 30, 2015

Compass Card roll out update, and understanding Compass Card reader messages

Over the last month, TransLink’s Compass Card roll out has been ramping-up. According to recent media reports, about 22% of all monthly pass holders have transitioned to the Compass Card. CNIB clients, U-Pass holders, and people that have a subsidized BC Bus Pass are also using the Compass Card.

December is the last month that people can purchase paper monthly passes, so all pass holders will be switched over to the Compass Card in January 2016. The next phase for TransLink will be the discontinuation of the paper FareSaver tickets likely by the summer of 2016.

As everyone knows, the Compass Card program was delayed because of problems with people tapping on the bus. While there are certainly issues with tapping out due to a lack of readers which impacts people exiting busy buses at a major stops, most of the problems were due to people not knowing how to tap properly.

At the beginning of the month, people where waving, swiping, and doing all sorts of non-tapping things with their Compass Cards, making it hard or impossible for the reader to register their cards. As this month comes to a close, people have gotten used to just holding their card at a reader until a check is displayed.

Speaking about checks, there are a several different messages and icons that appear when presenting a Compass Card at a reader. Besides the general idea that a check plus green was good, and an “x” plus red was bad, I had no idea what some of the messages were as they flashed up so fast.

TransLink recently posted a Compass Card instruction guide to its website. The guide contains an explanation of the different messages that you’ll see when presenting a Compass Card at a reader.

What you'll see if you've upset a Compass Card reader, and/or don't have the right fare to be travelling

What you'll see if you need to top-up your Compass Card.

When everything is great, you'll see these messages on the Compass Card readers.

From a customer perspective, the Compass Card roll-out has been going well. It will be interesting to see how TransLink will deal with people that pay with cash on the bus and received a ticket that won’t open faregates (tickets issued on buses don’t work with faregates), once all the faregates are fully operations along the SkyTrain network.


Tim said...

What happens when one gets a low balance message getting on a bus. Are they denied until sufficient funds are on the card? Must go to nearest wifi spot and top up?

Nathan Pachal said...

They will let you be in the hole to complete one trip, then you must top up.