Letter: Compass Card bewilders disability community

Re: “Vancouver transit users weigh in on Compass Card,” Jan. 13, online only.

Not only is the Compass Card system late, incredibly expensive, and entirely unnecessary as a data collection tool, I’m sad to say it quickly became apparent after the rollout that it would also make our public transit system inaccessible to many folks. Here’s why.

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The Compass Card must be used to gain access to public transit by “tapping in.” But transit riders lacking the physical ability to do so (in my case, for instance, I cannot raise my arms at all) discovered Jan. 1 they could no longer use the SkyTrain or buses.

This is a huge issue for the many people with limited arm function who were quite capable of using public transit on their own until the introduction of the Compass Card.

Activists in the disability community are bewildered. Why was this problem not identified and solved by TransLink during the multi-year planning process before rollout?

To make matters worse, Compass Cards can’t be used regardless of your arm function on HandyDART buses because TransLink chose not to install Compass Card readers in them. So when people like me use HandyDART for some rides and public transit for others, we have to buy a monthly pass for HandyDART and a Compass Card for TransLink.

For a lot of people with a disability and low income, this increased cost takes a big bite out of their disposable income.

Most of us are now tapping in and tapping out each time we use public transit.

I think it’s high time we “tapped out” the senior management at TransLink.

Tim Louis, Vancouver

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