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

Bucket-list flight for Chilliwack grandmother

Hampton House resident treated to a beautiful plane ride in Moments that Matter

Lagoon improvements, but no safety audit recommendations, coming to Harrison

The lagoon will see electrical upgrades, a new flag pole and fencing, but no life jackets or signs

UFV introduces first mindfulness graduate program in Canada

Most of the University of the Fraser Valley program is offered online

Chilliwack churns out new generation of wildfire fighters

School district partners with B.C. Wildfire Service to prep Grade 12s for careers

All child porn charges against Chilliwack realtor dismissed

Meissner’s computers contained ‘miniscule’ amount of content normally found on offenders’ devices

Harrison Hot Springs students bring ‘Twelfth Night’ to life

The adaption of Shakespeare’s classic comedy include songs and phrases from Canada’s east coast

WATCH: Popular Glow festival faces cancellation in dispute over farm land

Langley’s Darvonda Nurseries received a compliance assessment notice from the ALC on March 5.

B.C. fire department offers tips to keep your home safe during wildfire season

With wildfire season getting closer, the Penticton Fire Dept. offer tips to keep your home safe

South Surrey mother guilty of second-degree murder in death of daughter

Lisa Batstone killed eight-year-old Teagan in December 2014

Fierce feline spotted as ‘aggressor’ in face off with coyote in B.C. backyard

North Vancouver resident Norm Lee captures orange cat versus coyote in backyard showdown

Wilson-Raybould to reveal more details, documents on SNC-Lavalin affair

Former attorney general has written to the House of Commons justice committee

Anti-discrimination group wants to map offenders with cross-Canada hate atlas

Morgane Oger Foundation issues call for volunteers to help build Canadian Atlas of Populist Extremism

Kater to launch ridesharing service in Vancouver by end of month

The Surrey-based company got its permits from the Vancouver Taxi Association

Most Read