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TransLink introduces world-leading new program for customers with disabilities

January 23, 2018

BURNABY, BC — 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 ensure 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.

More than 40 per cent 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 translink.ca/opengates. Applicants will meet with an occupational therapist to determine if an RFID card is the right assistive device for them.

It’s important to us that this customer group have the same travel experience as our 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.


Terry Beech, Member of Parliament for Burnaby-North-Seymour, on behalf of the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities –

“The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of efficient and accessible public transit infrastructure for creating inclusive communities where Canadians can reach their full potential. The integration of new touchless gate access technology: a first of its kind in the world, will ensure all Metro Vancouver residents can easily access the Sky Train system.”

Bowinn Ma, Parliamentary Secretary for TransLink –

“It is a priority for the B.C. government to make sure everyone can access the important services they depend on, and this includes accessibility to transit. I am proud to celebrate the roll-out of these high-tech Universal Fare Gates, which will ensure those who are physically unable to tap a Compass Card can still travel independently on the system.”

Kevin Desmond, CEO, TransLink –

“We have engaged with stakeholders throughout the development of this technology to find a solution that works with our system. We’re proud of the TransLink team who developed the concept and pleased to have partnered with a local company like Hyperlight Systems to finalize the design. We’re also grateful for the support of both the federal and provincial government to help make this innovation a reality. It is extremely important that our customers have access to our transit system and are free to travel independently around the region.”

Jane Dyson, Executive Director of Disability Alliance BC –

“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.”

Media contact:

TransLink Media Relations
C: (778) 375-7788


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