Thursday, October 4, 2018

TransLink’s Universal Fare Gate Access Program to provide fare relief

When it comes to the delivery of public services, the goal should always be to improve access for people no matter their colour, race, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or mental or physical disability. Creating new barriers to access services is not acceptable.

When TransLink rolled out fare gates at all SkyTrain and SeaBus stations, the organization created a physical barrier that removed the ability for some people, who couldn’t tap a Compass Card due to physical disability, from independently using the system.

To TransLink’s credit, they recognized that this was entirely unacceptable, and developed a system that restored independent access to these stations for all previous customers. The system uses an RFID card similar to what some people use for accessing their apartment underground parking. When a person approaches a universal access fare gate, there are sensors above the gate that when they detect the card, will open the gate.

Fare gates with RFID card sensors. Select image to enlarge.

In order to be eligible to received a universal access card, people must be able to “travel independently and due to a disability, confirmed by a medical practitioner, are physically not able to tap fare media, without assistance, at a Compass Fare Gate.”

About 11 people in the Metro Vancouver have been issued this card to date.

The universal access card is not tied into the fare payment system. Due to the limited number of people who use the universal access card, and the high cost of integrating it into the fare payment system, TransLink is looking to let people who are members of the universal access card program to have zero cost access to the SkyTrain and SeaBus network.

In my opinion, this is the right move. The application process to get a universal access card is rigorous, so it is unlikely that people will be able to take advantage of this program.

By restoring independent access for people, TransLink restored people’s quality of life. The universal access card program shows that it is always possible to accommodate people no matter their ability.

1 comment:

the Yip said...

At today's Board mtg, Translink voted to continue current policy for
the foreseeable future.