Editor: The Compass Card is not a convenient product. Bus drivers aren’t patient enough to make a line of boarding passengers “tap in.” Passengers aren’t committed enough to remember to “tap out” when arriving at their stop and transit users aren’t enthusiastic enough to spend their time reloading fare credit onto what is nothing more than a glorified gift card.
The Compass Card is only convenient to administrators who care more about collecting data, monitoring the movement of passengers and quantifying every sliver of service.
This is the wrong objective. TransLink is not a research institute for social engineers and academics, it is a government corporation meant to deliver affordable and convenient transportation.
I’ve always contended that TransLink could learn from the ski industry and implement an all-access year-long pass, available for a lump sum price (with financing available). Customers can purchase their pass once a year and then ride everywhere they please.
TransLink needs to refocus its goals and start selling transit. If the corporation still insists on collecting ridership data, it can switch on the turnstiles.