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‘Tap to pay’ goes live for Vancouver passengers

Card links all of TransLink’s services and fare products in Metro Vancouver to single payment system

Cubic claims the contactless system puts Vancouver at the forefront of transit innovation
Cubic claims the contactless system puts Vancouver at the forefront of transit innovation

Vancouver transportation authority, TransLink, in partnership with Cubic Transportation Systems (CTS), has launched what it claims is the first open fare payment system in Canada.


The ‘tap to pay’ feature on the city’s public transit system means passengers can pay for travel using their contactless credit cards and mobile wallets.


The new system works in the same way as the Vancouver’s Compass Card, a contactless smart card payment system that was designed by Cubic and introduced in 2015. It allows passengers to tap their contactless Visa or Mastercard credit cards, or a device with an Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay wallet on card readers at fare gates and on buses to enter and exit the transit system.


“Tap to Pay is about increasing customer convenience by offering more payment options,” said Kevin Desmond, CEO, TransLink. “Whether you’re a daily commuter, a tourist who just arrived from Vancouver International Airport, or a concert goer who only rides transit on occasion, you can choose the payment method that suits you best. Tap a Compass Card, a credit card or a mobile device and be on your way – no ticket line-ups and no need for cash.”


According to CTS, the tap to pay option is especially convenient for occasional riders and tourists, eliminating the need for users to prepay for travel. Riders may choose to simply ‘pay as you go’ without worrying about obtaining a Compass Card or regular ticket.


“We’re very proud to be the first technology company to bring open payments to a public transit system in Canada,” added Matt Cole, president of Cubic Transportation Systems.


“While the system is straightforward to use for the rider, it’s a major technological achievement offering a similar level of functionality as the world-class contactless system in London, placing Vancouver at the forefront of transit innovation.”


The Compass Card, reportedly, remains the most popular form of transit fare payment in Vancouver and is used to pay for 97 per cent of fares by TransLink’s 50 million monthly riders.


It links all of TransLink’s services and fare products in Metro Vancouver to a single payment system, including buses, West Coast Express, SkyTrain and SeaBus.


Last year, the Compass Card processed more than one billion ‘taps’ by Metro Vancouver’s public transit users.


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