Questions are being raised about whether B.C. Bus Pass holders in outlying regions will still be able to use the pass to board SkyTrain when they come to Metro Vancouver.

Faregates may exclude some seniors, disabled with annual passes

SkyTrain access uncertain for B.C. Bus Pass holders who live outside Metro Vancouver

TransLink has yet to determine how some seniors and disabled transit users from the Fraser Valley with special passes will be able to board SkyTrain once the Compass card is fully in effect and fare gates are closed.

About 90,000 low-income seniors and other B.C. residents on disability assistance get provincially subsidized B.C. Bus Passes at a cost of $45 a year, giving them blanket transit access anywhere in the province.

Most of those pass holders live in Metro Vancouver and they have already been issued Compass cards to replace the old paper passes, which won’t open faregates.

But so far there’s no plan to do the same for others living in the Fraser Valley or on Vancouver Island so they can continue to use SkyTrain when they come to Metro Vancouver.

Advocates say they don’t want those passholders to be denied rapid transit access.

“If you’re living in the Fraser Valley and you need to come in, it could be a problem,” said Disability Alliance B.C. executive director Jane Dyson. “It’s not clear to us yet how this is going to work.”

TransLink spokesman Chris Bryan said bus drivers will continue to accept the regular B.C. Bus Passes.

As for whether companion Compass cards will be issued to pass holders living outside Metro, Bryan said TransLink is in discussions with the provincial ministry of social development.

“We’re working with the province on how that’s going to work,” he said.

He acknowledged there is some concern about the potential for illegal reselling of Compass cards enabled for the annual pass.

A Compass card version of the B.C. Bus Pass is more likely to be of use to someone in Abbotsford than a Fort St. John resident, he noted.

B.C. is the only province that subsidizes transit passes for low-income seniors and those on disability assistance, to the tune of $50 million a year.

Another access concern is how sip-and-puff wheelchair users who are paralyzed from the neck down with no use of their arms will be able to tap in and out with Compass cards at SkyTrain stations.

“They will not be able to use their Compass cards unassisted,” Dyson said.

Since TransLink won’t have attendants at every station, those disabled transit users who have until now been able to use the system independently may be forced to seek assistance from strangers.

“We are concerned that will diminish folks’ independence and dignity and safety,” she said. “This takes things backwards for those folks.”

One idea she suggests is to have a Compass reader mounted in a lower side position on one faregate per station – affected passengers could have their card strapped to the side of their chair and drive against the reader.

Bryan said TransLink is continuing to explore whether a solution exists.

“It’s a challenge that ideally we would like to be able to overcome,” he said.

Just Posted

Confusing parking lot blamed for cars tipping into flowerbeds at Peninsula Canadian Tire

Tow and repairs cost thousands, engineer says drivers’ responsibility, Canadian Tire stay quiet

Saanich says it will take months to fix a sink hole that appeared during ‘Snowmaggedon’

Roads closed in the area after the sink hole first opened in early February

Saanich councillor ‘chose pragmatism over politics’ in opposing EDPA replacement

Coun. Rebecca Mersereau acknowledged her opposition shocked many of her supporters

New secondary school planned for north Langford

Province announces $18.6 million in funding for site

PHOTOS: Car Free YYJ entertains the masses in Victoria

Third annual fair where cars are banned goes off without a hitch

WATCH: Barbers battle it out in Victoria

‘Barber Battle’ saw stylists and barbers from across North America go head-to-head

Suicide confirmed in case of B.C. father who’d been missing for months

2018 disappearance sparked massive search for Ben Kilmer

Eight U.S. senators write to John Horgan over B.C. mining pollution

The dispute stems from Teck Resources’ coal mines in B.C.’s Elk Valley

Threats charge against Surrey’s Jaspal Atwal stayed

Atwal, 64, was at centre of controversy in 2018 over his attendance at prime minister’s reception in India

Anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to speak in Surrey

He’s keynote speaker at Surrey Environment and Business Awards luncheon by Surrey Board of Trade Sept. 17

Otters devour 150 trout at Kootenay hatchery

The hatchery has lost close to 150 fish in the past several months

B.C. church’s Pride flag defaced for second time in 12 days

Delta’s Ladner United Church says it will continue to fly the flag for Pride month

Update: Two shot, two arrested at Toronto Raptors victory rally

The team and several dignitaries, including Justin Trudeau, remained on stage

Oil and gas sector cautious as deadline on Trans Mountain decision nears

Trudeau government expected to announce whether it will approve pipeline for second time on Tuesday

Most Read