Compass card on TransLink.

Compass Card on TransLink is the transport card used in Vancouver, BC, to move from one place to another. If you are going to study in the city (or its surroundings) you need to know how it works.

The city of Vancouver has excellent infrastructures, that’s why you can commute by bus, SeaBus, Skytrain (metr /underground) and West Coast Express with your Compass card.

What to do to commute with your Compass Card?

  1. Acquire the Compass card from Translink

Our recommendation is that you acquire the card in one of the Compass Vending Machines that you will find in Skytrain stations. To obtain the card you have to leave a deposit of 6 dollars. In case you’ leaving the city or the Country, you can get the deposit back by going to the Downtown Vancouver offices at Stadium-Chinatown Station or West Coast Express at Waterfront Station.

  1. Load the card

Once you get your card, you can charge the amount you need as many times as you want:

  • Compass Vending Machines: load the balance of your card in the Compass vending machine that you will find in all the Translink stations.
  • Online: you can avoid the lines of the Compass Vending Machines by loading your card online at Compasscard.ca 
  • AutoLoad: you can program and fix the renewal of your card balance or monthly pass.
  • By Phone: Compass Customer Service 604-398-2042

From loading an amount ($ 5, $ 10, $ 20 …) to a daily or monthly pass; there are more than 150 different tickets and passes that you can buy and use with your Compass card. Choose the one that best suits your needs. Yes, it’s that easy!

  1. Tap In -Tap out System:

The city is divided into 3 zones.

  • Zone 1: includes Downtown Vancouver.
  • Zone 2: North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, and Bowen Island.
  • Zone 3: Surrey, Delta and Coquitlam.

To access any of the 3 areas of the city you must use your card. Using the card is very simple, you just have to tap your card onto the reader you’ll find at the entrance and exit of the bus, Seabus, Skytrain or West Coast Express Stations.

Tap In: when you tap your card to the entrance of the Skytrain, SeaBus or West Coast Express the system automatically reserves the amount of a full-distance trip (Bus only one zone). In a second the card reader system checks if you have enough balance for the trip (sometimes the card can be left in negative).

Tap Out: Once you arrive at your destination, you have to tap the card on the card reader at the exit gates. In this way, only the amount related to the area where you have traveled is charged. That is if you travel within zone one, but you only do Tap In and do not Tap Out, a full-trip of your card will be deducted (Zone 1 – Zone 3 or maximum distance for West Coast Express).

As buses only charge an area regardless of the area you go to, you do not need to do Tap Out with your card.

Can I change my Compass Card?

Yes, with your Compass card you can transfer within a period of 90 minutes. 180 minutes for trips with West Coast Express.

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