January 7, 2016 2:58 am
Updated: January 7, 2016 3:59 am

TransLink keeping Compass Card gates open for paralyzed users

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In the latest glitch to plague the controversial Compass Card system, it appears TransLink didn’t foresee that in order to tap in and out to open the fare gates, you need the use of your hands.

“TransLink has really dropped the ball. TransLink didn’t think through how the Compass Card could be implemented so that everybody could use it,” says Tim Louis.

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The lawyer and former Vancouver city councillor says he’s a regular SkyTrain rider, but since January 1 he’s been taking the bus instead, in the company of his care attendant.

“For folks that have limited arm function, transit is no longer an option,” says Louis, who is challenged in the use of his arms.

As a temporary fix, TransLink is leaving at least one of the fare gates that can accommodate wheelchairs and scooters, open at all SkyTrain stations. But for disability advocates, it’s a move that brings up safety concerns.

“I just hope that I’m not talking about someone injured in the weeks and months ahead,” says Craig Langston. A past member of TransLink’s Access Transit Users’ Advisory Committee, he fears foot traffic will gravitate to the open disability gate and increase the potential for collisions with motorized scooters and wheelchairs.

“I’ve been disappointed through the introduction the implementation of the fare gates of the Compass Cards it’s been one glitch after another,” said Langston.

Meantime, Louis says other parts of the world have found a fix for this.

“There are products on the market that can read the equivalent of a Compass Card from a distance so you don’t even need to take it out of your pocket and the reader reads it as you sail by,” he claims.

Global News wanted to ask TransLink about their solutions to the glitch, and how planning for the Compass Card program failed to detect this latest blunder, but were told no one was available to discuss the issue tonight.

For now it appears one accessibility gate will stay up at all stations to allow the disabled to get through even though the practice invites fare evasion – the very thing the Compass Card was designed to reduce.

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