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TransLink fares (Vancouver)

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Title: TransLink fares (Vancouver)  
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Subject: Bus Riders Union (Vancouver), TransLink (British Columbia), West Coast Express
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TransLink fares (Vancouver)

TransLink is the transportation authority in the Metro Vancouver region of British Columbia. It was created in 1998 as a replacement for BC Transit in the city of Vancouver and neighbouring municipalities. As part of its mandate, TransLink is responsible for setting and administrating fares for regional public transit services.

On June 25, 2007, all Coast Mountain and West Vancouver Blue Buses were designated "fare paid zones", meaning that passengers are legally required on demand to produce proof that they have paid the proper fare.


  • Fare zones 1
  • Smart card and faregate project 2
  • Fare classes 3
  • Cash fares 4
  • Prepaid fares 5
    • Compass Card 5.1
    • FareSaver tickets 5.2
    • FareCards 5.3
    • DayPasses 5.4
    • U-Pass 5.5
  • West Coast Express fare 6
  • Notes 7
  • 2010 Winter Olympics 8
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11

Fare zones

The TransLink fare structure is based on a zone system. Municipalities are located in one of three transit zones, and fares are calculated based on the number of zones travelled on SkyTrain or SeaBus. As of October 5, 2015 the bus system is considered to be a single zone.[1] In other words, if your trip is solely on buses you only have to pay a 1-zone fare regardless of the number of geographic zones you cross.

* Zones 2 and 3 overlap on Annacis Island in Delta.

The zone system applies only on weekdays from start of service to 6:30 p.m. on SkyTrain or SeaBus. Outside of these times, the entire system is considered to be one zone—on weekdays from 6:30 p.m. to the end of the service day, and all day Saturday, Sunday, and holidays.

Smart card and faregate project

Work on a new smart card system, the Compass Card, began in 2010, with the smart cards becoming operational in late 2013.[2] The size of a credit card, the card will contain an embedded microchip and will replace current forms of payment on all transit services in Metro Vancouver. Passengers will "tap" on and off at electronic readers when they board or exit transit vehicles. To reload cards, passengers will be able to pay online or by phone. According to TransLink, this new system has "overwhelming public support" because of the additional security it provides.[3] The initial purchase of the card will cost $6 and serves as a one-time overdraft in the event of insufficient funds for travel.[4]

Fare classes

There are two classes of fares on TransLink: adult and concession. Concession fares are less expensive than the adult fare. They are available for children (ages 5–13), secondary students (ages 14–19, with a TransLink GoCard), seniors (ages 65 and up), and patrons with disabilities (with a valid HandyCard). Children four years old and younger ride free when accompanied by an adult.

  • A GoCard is a TransLink identity card used by high school students in Metro Vancouver to travel on TransLink services at the concession rate. Students must present this card or pay the full adult fare. GoCards are often used by high school students as ID cards until they get their driver's license. A GoCard displays the student's high school yearbook picture and is often customized with the school's picture or logo. A typical GoCard includes the student's name, student number, home room number, and grade. At some schools, a bar code is also printed on the card.
  • A HandyCard entitles its bearer to pay the concession fare on TransLink services, as well as allowing an attendant to ride for free. To receive the card, an individual must have a permanent disability that prevents him or her from using the public transit system without assistance.

Cash fares

A cash fare transfer ticket

Below are the fare prices in Canadian dollars, effective January 1, 2013.[5]

Fare type One zone Two zones Three zones YVR AddFare
Adult $2.75 $4.00 $5.50 +$5.00
Concession $1.75 $2.75 $3.75 +$5.00

Tickets are valid for 90 minutes. To purchase on a bus, money is dropped into a farebox, which accepts only coins. The farebox counts the money and depending on the time and amount paid, and the driver presses a button on a control panel printing out a transfer for one, two, or three zones. At SkyTrain stations and SeaBus terminals, tickets are purchased from electronic ticket dispensers. TransLink buses accept Canadian coins only. Most electronic ticket machines on the SkyTrain and SeaBus systems also accept bills, major credit cards, and Interac debit cards. The fareboxes and electronic ticket dispensers used by TransLink are manufactured by Cubic Transportation Systems.

The YVR AddFare came into effect on January 18, 2010 in order to help pay for the Canada Line. It applies only to cash-paying passengers travelling from the three Sea Island stations (YVR Airport, Sea Island Centre, and Templeton) to Bridgeport Station and beyond. Passengers holding prepaid fares, such as DayPasses, Monthly FareCards, FareSaver tickets, West Coast Express weekly and 28-day passes, U-Passes, Employer Passes, and Government Bus Passes, are exempt from the YVR AddFare.[6]

Prepaid fares

Prepaid fares include Compass Card, FareSavers, FareCards, and DayPasses. These may be purchased at FareDealers throughout Metro Vancouver, including supermarkets, convenience stores, drug stores, and gas stations. Post-secondary student fares are issued by the university or college. FareCards, U-Passes, West Coast Express 28-day passes, and Employer Passes qualify under federal tax regulations for the Transit Pass Tax Credit.[3]

Compass Card

Compass Card can be purchased and loaded with Stored Value, Monthly Passes, and/or DayPasses.[7] The table below are the fare prices for Stored Value on Compass Card.

Fare type Zone 1 Zone 2 Zone 3 YVR AddFare
Adult $2.10 $3.15 $4.20 +$5.00
Concession $1.75 $2.75 $3.75 +$5.00

FareSaver tickets

A two-zone adult FareSaver ticket
A one-zone adult FareSaver ticket

FareSaver tickets are sold in books of ten. Tickets are validated at a SkyTrain station or at a SeaBus terminal by inserting them into the validator or on a bus by inserting them into the electronic farebox. Like cash fares, FareSaver tickets are valid for 90 minutes. Concession FareSaver tickets are valid in one zone travel only. The purchase of an addfare is required for travel through 2 or more zones. Prices of FareSavers were frozen during the last round of fare increases; below are the prices as of January 1, 2013. FareSaver will be phased out when the Compass card system is fully operational.

Concession One zone Two zones Three zones
$17.50 $21.00 $31.50 $42.00

One- and two-zone FareSaver tickets can be upgraded for use in additional zones by adding the difference in the cash fare. TransLink calls this an AddFare.


The FareCards on TransLink

A FareCard is a monthly pass that entitles the holder to unlimited travel within the month shown. Until December 31, 2013, two adults (14 and older) and up to four children (13 and younger) were allowed to ride on one adult FareCard on Sundays and Holidays.[8] Concession FareCards are valid for three zones. The most recent price change was on January 1, 2013.[5]

Fare type One zone Two zones Three zones
Adult $91 $124 $170
Concession $52.00


A DayPass is a three-zone pass valid for the entire day. These passes are convenient for people travelling from downtown Vancouver to a 3-zone city (such as Surrey) and people travelling many times a single day. The prices are:

Adult Concession
$9.75 $7.50


The U-Pass is a discount transit pass program available to all BC public post-secondary students should a referendum by each individual institution is passed to implement the mandatory transit pass. The cost is shared by all students whether they use transit or not, resulting in a lower price.

The program was previously sponsored by Vancity, but as of September 2010, the province sponsors the program and offer the same subsidized rates ($30/month) for all referendum-approved BC public post-secondary school students.[9]

Students using the UPass are required to print their name on the back of the pass and be in possession of their student card at all times. The UPass is not valid unless these conditions are adhered to. UPasses are non-transferable, which means that only the student who the UPass was issued to may use it. Using someone else's UPass or using a fake UPass may result in criminal charges against the person.

The inception of this program also saw the end of the FastTrax program, in which a sticker was applied to one's student ID, which must be shown along with a monthly FareCard when boarding the bus; this allowed the user to travel across all three zones on a one-zone pass.

West Coast Express fare

From Waterfront Station, effective January 1, 2013:[5]

Destination Port Moody, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam Pitt Meadows, Maple Meadows, Port Haney Mission City
Adult fare (one way) $7.25 $9.00 $12.25
Adult fare (return) $13.75 $17.00 $23.00
Adult fare (weekly) $60.25 $73.25 $101.50
Adult fare (28-day pass) $201.00 $244.00 $335.75

West Coast Express fares can also be used as a three-zone fare on other TransLink services. The ticket expires three hours from the time of purchase.


The TransLink zone system, combined with the geography of the Lower Mainland, results in a number of quirks in the fare structure. For example, to travel from Burnaby (Zone 2) into the District of North Vancouver (also Zone 2), passengers must travel into Vancouver, which is located in Zone 1, and over the Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing. This results in passengers having to pay for two zones. Similarly, the #430 bus between Metrotown Station and Richmond–Brighouse Station requires a two-zone fare to travel from one end to the other. While both Metrotown Station and Richmond–Brighouse Station are in Zone 2, the route travels through Vancouver.

SkyTrain crosses into Coquitlam (Zone 3) between Braid and Lougheed Town Centre Stations. As there is no station in Coquitlam, riders are not charged for this crossing. However, because Braid Station is in Zone 2 and Lougheed Town Centre Station is in Zone 2/3, Coquitlam passengers using the SkyTrain between these two stations are required to pay for two zones.

Until recently, passengers travelling from Delta to Annacis Island were required to pay a two-zone fare, but Annacis Island is now located in both Zone 2 and Zone 3, and only a single-zone fare is needed.[10]

A two-zone cash fare purchased in Zone 2 can be used to travel the entire system. However, two-zone monthly passes are zone-specific, and as such cannot take advantage of this anomaly.

Fare Enforcement are conducted by South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Police Service and Officers from Transit Security. Persons caught in a Fare Paid Zone without a valid fare may be removed from the Transit System and fined $173. If fines are ignored, they increase to $213 after 180 days and $273 after 366 days. A person may not be able to obtain or renew a drivers licence or vehicle insurance if fines are ignored.

2010 Winter Olympics

Beginning December 2009, a limited-edition 2010 Winter Olympics transit pass was made available for purchase. The pass was valid for the duration of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (February 8, 2010 to March 21, 2010).[11]

Concession One zone Two zones Three zones
$63 $110 $149 $204

In addition, an event ticket for the Games entitled the holder to unlimited access to all TransLink services for the day of that event.[11]

See also


  1. ^ "One-Zone Bus Travel". Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  2. ^ "Compass Card FAQs". TransLink. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  3. ^ "Smart Card and Faregate Project moves forward". Retrieved 27 February 2010. 
  4. ^ Clearing up questions about TransLink’s Compass Card
  5. ^ a b c "Fare Changes". TransLink. Retrieved January 3, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Canada Line YVR AddFare Information". Retrieved 27 February 2010. 
  7. ^ "Compass Cards and Products". Translink. Translink. Retrieved October 15, 2015. 
  8. ^ [4]
  9. ^ UPass BC Program Introduction
  10. ^ "Fare Zone Map". TransLink. Retrieved January 3, 2013. 
  11. ^ a b Transit Fares during the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games

External links

  • TransLink web site - transit fares
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