Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Looking at TransLink revenue and the Compass Card effect, one year after fare gate closure

Last night, Global News posted and aired a story about TransLink’s increased revenue and reduced fare evasion since the closing of the fare gates and retirement of older fare products last year. You can watch the video by select the image below.

Earlier this year, I posted on TransLink’s revenue, and the impact from Compass Card fare products and the closure of the fare gates. I found that the closure of the fare gates seemed to have resulted in an increase in cash-like revenue to the tune of $10 million and a similar spike for DayPass fare products in 2016. For a detailed breakdown, please select the table and graphs below.

A detailed breakdown of TransLink's fare produce revenue between 2014 and 2016. Download the full document.

As I also noted at the time, the Compass Card system cost $8.4 million to operate and $2.8 million to maintain in 2016. The amortized yearly capital cost of the Compass Card and fare gate system over 20-years is $9.3 million. For 2016, that works out to about $20 million for capital and on-going costs.

The Compass Card and fare gate system has had a positive impact on revenue, customer convenience, and data, but it hasn’t produced a windfall profit for TransLink.

One of the things I talked about in the story is that the Compass Card system helps keep bus passengers honest too. Besides ensuring that people pay the correct fare every time, as I pointed out in the news story, “people see people tapping and when you don’t, there’s a community thing where: ‘Oh, you’re one of those cheats’.” Most people don't want to be singled out as a cheat.

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