More than 350,000 people are now using the Compass Card, according to a new report from TransLink.
The transportation authority’s goal is to have half-a-million users on the system by the time all fare gates close, though staff haven’t said when that will be. They say 50% of them are closed already.
Interim CEO Cathy McLay says they’re currently analyzing user patterns.
“Every single tap is a data tap, and so we’re collecting data as we’re going on. So, as more people migrate over to the Compass Card, the more data we’re going to get.”
She says TransLink is currently reviewing it’s fare policy — for the first time in 30 years — and the Compass data will help them determine where transit resources should be allocated.
“Now we’re looking at what the options around it, whether we’re going to go to distance based or flat fare – each one of them has their advantages and disadvantages. What I can tell you is we’re looking at the full array.”
That review should be completed in two years.
The switch to Compass is having an effect on TransLink’s bottom line.
That’s because riders who use the cards actually pay less per-ride – a change that McLay says could cost the agency up to a million dollars next year.
“Once Compass is fully implemented on it, we believe that cash fare payers will dramatically drop, and everybody will have access to what we call a stored value, which is a discounted fare service.
McLay says in the long term, they hope increased ridership will make-up for the difference.