TransLink is axing FareSavers. Here’s everything you need to know

The end of FareSavers should be mostly painless—unless you're a tourist

January 6, 2016

By Trevor Melanson

After years of anticipation, the transition to Compass cards is well underway in Metro Vancouver (though not without technical hiccups and plenty of grumbling customers). But January’s big move—that is, killing the old monthly passes and effectively forcing regular transit users onto the Compass system—wasn’t the last. TransLink announced Monday that FareSavers, booklets of discounted tickets, will be discontinued at the end of this month. If that seems sudden, well, keep reading. We spoke with Jennifer Morland, senior communications advisor for TransLink, who laid out all the steps involved.

Why is FareSaver being axed in less than a month?

Since we launched Compass, we have been taking a step-by-step approach. This is our next step in that phased rollout: discontinuing the sale of FareSavers after this month—or until they run out at fare dealers—to transition our customers to Compass products, whether that be Compass cards or Compass tickets.

Is there any concern this will inspire additional ire from people who’ve already had bad experiences with the Compass card rollout?

The important thing to highlight here is that FareSavers are not expiring. It’s just that we’re not selling any more of them after January. The FareSavers that are still out there can be used. There’s no specific date right now where people who are still travelling with FareSavers aren’t able to use them anymore.

Until all the SkyTrain gates close, anyway

FareSavers do not expire, so even after January if people still have their FareSaver booklets, they’re able to use them not only on busses but other modes of transit—until the fare gates close. You can also transfer the remaining value of a FareSaver to a Compass card.

So when do all the fare gates close?

We’re focussed more on making sure our customers understand how the system works. We don’t have a hard date for closing the fare gates. We’re monitoring it every day.

Won’t this be annoying for, say, tourists, for whom FareSaver tickets would be the most economical option?

We do still have paper tickets—the Compass tickets. We’ve got Compass cards and we’ve got Compass tickets. So if you’re a tourist and you’re just getting off a cruise for a day, you can still get a paper ticket called a Compass ticket at the same vending machine as you would get a Compass card.

The Compass ticket works similar to how the old paper tickets worked from the old ticket vending machines. You’ll get a Compass ticket, and when you tap in that’s when your 90 minutes on the system starts. You tap with it the same way you would a Compass card. You can still get day passes. They’ll be available on Compass tickets.

But are the discounted FareSaver rates available on Compass tickets or only on cards?

They’re only on the Compass card. If you went to a machine and got your Compass card, you will have to pay a $6 deposit. But then you could put Stored Value on that Compass card and get the same value as you would with FareSavers. And then you could take that same Compass card back to the Compass customer service centre [at Stadium-Chinatown Station] and get your $6 deposit back.

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