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One million Compass Cards now in use: TransLink

Accessible Skytrain gates to close Monday
WATCH: Translink announced Tuesday that it will be closing the remaining accessible fare gates on Monday. Raising questions once again about where that will leave customers with disabilities. John Daly has the details.

It’s been a long time coming, but TransLink says its Compass Card system that has met with a lot of glitches and challenges since launch has now reached an active circulation of one million.

The company says reaching the one million mark means more than one in three people in TransLink’s service area are using the card.

It says 94 per cent of journeys on the system are made with a Compass Card or ticket, and more than 1.5 million taps are recorded every weekday.

With so many cards now in active use, TransLink says it will close the remaining accessible gates on the morning of Monday, July 25.

“We’ve been eagerly watching the numbers climb towards one million, and we want to thank our customers for embracing the Compass Card and getting us to this milestone,” said TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond in a release.

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READ MORE: TransLink launches first phase of their fare review with online survey

Desmond says they have seen increases in both revenue and ridership since the fare gates closed at all SkyTrain stations in April.

He says fare revenue for April, May and June of 2016 is up eight per cent over the same months last year and that’s driving an overall five per cent growth in fare revenue over the first half of 2016 as compared with the same period last year.

Meanwhile, ridership has gone up an estimated two per cent over the first half of 2016 compared with the same period last year.

The Compass Card project cost almost $200 million to implement and another $20 million a year to operate, leaving critics saying the $15-million tab for fare evasion looks like a bargain by comparison.

TransLink was also caught in considerable controversy earlier this year when customers with disabilities complained the new system made it too difficult for them to tap in and out.

But the company says proximity-sensor entrances will be in place by the end of next year, and there are a number of other options in place for people with disabilities to gain entry.

Initially, the transportation authority announced that they planned to close all fare gates at SkyTrain and SeaBus stations, including ones that were left open for people with disabilities. It then reversed that decision.

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Eventually, TransLink left at least one of the fare gates that can accommodate wheelchairs and scooters open at all SkyTrain stations as a temporary fix.

READ MORE: 5 things you need to know about the Compass Card and 1 zone bus fare

~With files from Paula Baker