VANCOUVER – There is more controversy tonight over Translink’s Compass Card program.
Testing was supposed to wrap up a year ago but the system is still not in operation and it is millions of dollars over budget.
Faregates were installed years ago with much fanfare, complete with scanners that were meant to deter fare evaders with one simple tap of a Compass Card.
The cards were handed out to 85,000 riders, and beta-testing was supposed to wrap up in October 2013.
But one year later, the system still isn’t fully operational.
“Gordon Campbell in 2009 promised that they’d be up by 2010, actually gave $100 million towards them from the provincial government,” said Jordan Bateman from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
“Then we were told ‘no no’ 2012, then 2013 and now we were promised in 2014, of course that’s going to fall by the wayside, we’re talking probably late 2015 at the very earliest. As much as two or three years after the fact.”
It’s unclear what the delays will cost. The project’s budget was originally set for $171 million, and now sits at nearly $200 million.
“At least be transparent and open with the public,” said Harry Bains, NDP MLA for Surrey-Newton. “What is going on? Why is this not operational? One year after it was promised to be in operation. I think those are some very legitimate questions, we’re not getting those answers.”
Translink officials weren’t talking about the project today, but said last July said they were still working on technical issues involving the card reader’s speed and reliability.
Translink has said they will provide an update in October.
– With files from Tanya Beja