No plans for the Compass smartphone App. Urban Mobility is a faraway goal. Vancouver, B.C.

No plans for Compass smartphone app anytime soon

Dailyhive Dec. 2019

For years, a common request from regular public transit riders has been the creation of a Compass smartphone app that provides a new way to pay for transit and access route information. This also happened to be a frequently submitted idea in TransLink’s recent public consultation for Transport 2050.

“We’re not going to have a Compass app anytime soon,” TransLink.

“Our view is that right now, the better approach is to tap on your smartphone if you have NFC or a chip with your contactless credit card. A smartphone app will require a new generation of our Compass system that you can use an app on your phone.”

Besides the Compass Card and wearable products, the fare gates and card readers accept all three major credit cards, as well as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay.

TransLink launched it’s New Mobility Lab (NML) program today

Dailyhive Aug 2018

TransLink launched it’s New Mobility Lab (NML) program today, which seeks researchers within the BC academic world to explore mobility themes spanning a range of disciplines that have relevance to Metro Vancouver.

What is Integrated Urban Mobility?

CUTA 2017

The Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) defines Integrated Urban Mobility as The ability for people to move easily from place to place according to their own needs.

By itself, this definition is quite general and open to discussion and interpretation. That is why CUTA supports the definition with the following statement: For CUTA, Integrated Urban Mobility is a people-focused goal that:

  • Starts with public transport service-connected to all modes of transport including walking, cycling, auto, and alternatives to transportation;
  • Enables door-to-door and seamless mobility throughout an urban area;
  • Designed for all segments of the population.

Mobile Payment one of the key elements for Urban Mobility

Reasons Why Public Transport is Not Moving to Mobile Ticketing

Mobile phones are so popular nowadays, so why don’t transit agencies around the world decide to move to mobile ticketing?

The reason is stemmed from the availability of a technology that can support most of the smartphone and have a fast transaction speed like the legacy smart card. Here the two popular technologies and their problem:

1. NFC based (Near Field Communication)

NFC is the technology used in the legacy smart card for automatic fare collection (AFC). By incorporating an NFC chip inside a smartphone can enable the smartphone to be used as a legacy smart card.

With the launch of Apple Pay, NFC based payment in 2014, people believe that NFC will be the ultimate solution for AFC.

However, on the Android side of the smartphone, NFC is getting unpopular especially for the high volume low-end smartphone under US$ 200. This is a major setback for NFC is a solution for fare collection.

2. QR Code-based

With the popularity of 2 payment giants in China, Wechat Pay, and Alipay, the QR code-based payment method suddenly gain popularity in China as well as in Asia.

QR code payment method is available for all smartphones (IOS and Android OS). Unlike NFC based payment, QR code-based is an online payment system that requires server verification for the transaction. The transaction time will take more than 3 seconds. This speed is not acceptable for public transportation, especially for busy cities.

In China, there is a work-a-round using off-line based QR code payment by trusting that the user will have sufficient funding. This is workable in China because all smartphone users have to register their name and personal information and get verified. However, it won’t work in most of the countries in the West due to the privacy act.


The popular account-based ticketing isn’t a complete mobile payment technology, because most of them are using contactless credit cards.

Effort should be spent on technology innovation to make Compass card a true mobile payment system supporting all IOS and Android phones.

The author has over 19 years of experience in the automated fare collection industry. The latest development of mobile wallets is worth looking into. To learn more, please visit