Off-again, on-again Compass rollout will mean big adjustments for transit riders

The reported delay in the roll-out of Translink’s Compass card, now denied by Translink, came just 48 hours after I began tapping in and tapping out with my own card, one of 10,000 issued to transit riders volunteering for the beta testing of the new technology.

(I still have to pay my own fares, but my beta test card came loaded with $100  of  “cash” to fool around with.)

For someone who’s used to riding with a monthly pass, which I can wave at the bus driver on my way to the back, the “tap in and tap out” rules with Compass make life more complicated. Most of the terminals I tried have been working, although the full-on test won’t begin for a few days.

The technical issues with the Compass card may take time, but the political problems may be even hard to resolve. Issues awaiting clarification: access for the homeless, how the passes of 150,000 students with a U-Pass will be integrated, and whether or not travellers making a single trip will pay separately for the bus and Skytrain portions.