The future of payments

The future of payment is evolving at a rapid pace. New technologies that make paying
for transit more convenient are emerging every year. In the near term, for example,
transit riders will have the option to tap a credit card or mobile device to board a
TransLink bus. Eventually, you’ll be able to use an app to plan, book, and pay for a multimodal
journey involving several different services through a simple click of a button.
However, no matter which payment technology option people choose, it is important
that–through this Transit Fare Review–we get the underlying fare structure right.

I noticed this section in the last page of the Discussion Guide and I would like to share my thoughts here. If TransLink intends to support contactless debit and credit payment, to respect debit and credit cardholder's privacy yet give higher priority and speed to Compass cardholders, the Compass AFC (Automated Fare Collection) system can only read (and update if necessary) Compass and activated (and approved) cards. The activation and approval request process shall be done either at a CVM (Compass Vending Machine) or in-app via NFC-enabled mobile device (smartphone, smartwatch, tablet, etc.; XPressTap could be used for reading and processing card account details). I really hope that there are plans existing to upgrade the bus fareboxes to something similar to rapidKL bus fareboxes so the fareboxes can also handle debit and credit transactions and activations (accepting both contactless and non-contactless debit and credit cards; only contactless cards available for activation), accept bills, and dispense change in addition to dispensing Compass cards. This is so Compass cardholders with sufficient stored value or a valid pass can keep moving without interruption. Also when activating an credit/debit card, this signifies the cardholder agrees to TransLink terms and conditions (but different from Compass terms and conditions) and the card is approved for a single journey (maximum fare reserved on account) with a transfer assigned and linked to the card. However, once the last tap out is made and the transfer time limit is reached, the account is charged the appropriate fare and the account data shall be erased from the AFC system and unlinked from planning data. AFC system must also automatically check the fare category the cardholder should be charged by requesting the financial institution which category the cardholder belongs to. The financial institution shall respond without revealing the cardholder's age (i.e. respond with the selected category). To use the same card again after last tap out and transfer expired, the card must be reactivated as it is treated as a limited-use reusable single journey ticket rather than a full-featured Compass card. Benefits such as fare capping and specialized passes shall not be available when using contactless debit or credit. Debit and credit cards include physical cards and cards linked to mobile payment apps including Android Pay and Apple Pay.

Every time when I use EMV Contactless (i.e. credit/debit tap-and-pay), comparing with my experience with using Octopus, Octopus is the fastest and most reliable for transit rides (FeliCa transponder (Octopus) is always sensed correctly even if a MIFARE and equivalent ISO 14443 Type A transponder is present with it) and retail transactions (I.e. faster than EMV Contactless as money is deducted locally rather than remote fund transfer). I could say something similar with Compass as it is faster than using EMV Contactless. I even try tapping an Octopus card on a Compass reader and no error message is produced compared to tapping an invalid yet compatible ISO 14443 Type A transponder.

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  • The idea here is to encourage riders to get a Compass card to pay the lowest rates yet reap the benefits of speed and discounts (fare capping, etc.). I should also note that this proposal for future contactless credit and debit acceptance is also to solve the issues of card clash.

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  • For an organisation that doesn't even support basic Interac Online and American Express transactions, this is a long way off. On top of that, they partnered with London Drugs who have barely 15 stores in the entire lower mainland (most of which are already nearby a Skytrain station). The one location I had to walk to when I decided to buy a monthly pass, did not even have the required capability so I had to then walk another 1.5 km to a Skytrain station, and both these "options" were opposite from my direction of travel (bus).

    So let's first make it convenient to use existing payment options and have a better retail network. In Sydney one can purchase/top-up transit cards at 2,100 retail locations + online, phone, mobile app, and transit stations!
    https://www.opal.com.au/en/get-an-opal-card/top-up/

    Although IMO if they had some real vision and innovation they'd have gone straight to contactless or Introduced a ONE card system like Singapore instead. The amount of plastic we carry in our wallets is unnecessary and laughable.

    Overall, I can't believe our tax payer dollars are being used to overpay these bozos fat salaries for their incompetence and ineffectiveness. What a waste! 😥

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  • Stevie Gee Agree! I mentioned online payment options include Android and Apple Pay. Both platforms are already available and TransLink should certainly fully utilize them (including one-time transactions and account preauthorization in app and websites; AMEX included). Yes, I agree Interac Online must be supported too. I prefer a single card system like Hong Kong Octopus and Singapore EZ-Link so card scanning works every time even with another contactless card of another standard yet operating in the same frequency. In Hong Kong, I had a MIFARE transponder and an Octopus card (FeliCa transponder). At validators (both buses and trams) and fare gates (MTR stations), Octopus card is read and updated every time correctly and with no reading and writing errors despite the MIFARE transponder present. As for retail locations, TransLink should really provide all existing FareDealers Compass Vending Machines (CVMs) with ability for users to return card (anonymous cards only). Also all existing CVMs regardless if they are inside a London Drugs or SkyTrain, SeaBus, or WCE station must have ability to let user return their card (anonymous cards only). I should also throw in Android, Apple, and Samsung Pay must support Compass cards so frequent riders and passholders can use their NFC-enabled phone or smartwatch and tap their phone or wrist at the gates without having to fumble for their wallet and card (can be stuck in a tight slot of a tight wallet inside a tight pocket).

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