TransLink Introduces World-Leading New Program for Customers with Disabilities

Photo of person in a power wheelchair entering a Translink station
A radio-frequency identification enabled card (RFID) will automatically open accessible fare gates when users move within range. The card is read by an antenna above the gate and automatically opens without the need to tap a card. (TransLink)

Transit customers who are not able to tap a Compass Card at fare gates due to a disability will now have greater access to the SkyTrain system with the launch of the Universal Fare Gate Access Program.

TransLink will be the first transit authority in the world to offer fully-automated, touchless access to a gated transit system. It is part of TransLink’s commitment to ensuring all customers can access the transit system independently. The cost of the program is $9 million, which is a part of the $740 million Public Transit Infrastructure Fund (PTIF). PTIF is funded by the Government of Canada at 50% and the Province of British Columbia at 33% and TransLink at 17%.

Program participants will be provided with radio-frequency identification (RFID) cards that will automatically send a signal to RFID readers located above designated accessible fare gates. The fare gate will open when the card comes within range and close once the customer passes through.

“TransLink has lived up to the commitment it made to us to develop a solution for people unable to tap in and out independently at Compass Card fare gates. The Universal Fare Gate Access Program is the result of collaboration between TransLink and the community. This partnership and technological innovation is an example for public transit systems everywhere. We congratulate TransLink and the disability and seniors communities for their hard work and commitment to ensuring that all individuals can use our transit system with independence and dignity.” — Jane Dyson, Executive Director of Disability Alliance BC

More than 40 percent of stations with fare gates have now been outfitted with radio-frequency identification (RFID) readers. By the end of the year, all SkyTrain and SeaBus stations will be equipped with this technology.

This industry-leading technology was designed by TransLink and implemented in partnership with Vancouver-based Hyperlight Systems.

Eligible customers can now apply for the program at Applicants will meet with an occupational therapist to determine if an RFID card is the right assistive device for them.

It’s important that this customer group have the same travel experience as other customers. This unique, locally-developed solution allows those enrolled in this program to use the same fare gates as everyone else to independently travel the system as they please.

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