While fare evasion isn't the Metro Vancouver Transit Police's main priority, it is a challenge that TransLink faces that police are tasked with enforcing.
It isn't feasible for the transit police to be at all stations at all times given that their jurisdiction is over 1,800 square kilometres, from Bowen Island to White Rock and the West Coast Express station in Mission. There are 55 SkyTrain stations, eight West Coast Express stations, two SeaBus terminals, and over 200 bus stops so a division of the police department, the Transit Police Enforcement Team is responsible for patrolling identified hot spots on the transit system and they will set up fare checks at various stations.
A new fare enforcement app has just been introduced to make that job easier.
The app launched at the end of 2022 as a replacement for the cumbersome handheld units police were using to conduct fare checks. "It has the same capabilities as the previous units but is a more convenient way to obtain information," explains Constable Amanda Steed of the Transit Police by email.
Officers open the app on their phones and scan the Compass Card. The information pops up on the screen indicating what type of pass they have (monthly pass, day pass or single-use ticket) and how many zones. "It will also show trip history, for example where they entered and exited the system," says Steed. "This will help officers determine if the passenger is in possession of a valid fare."
The app simply streamlines and speeds up the fare-checking process so officers can check more fares in a shorter amount of time without the added hassle of an additional piece of equipment.
So far 157 officers have installed the app on their phones and the remaining officers are scheduled to have the capability as of "early 2023" and previous handheld units are in the process of being taken out of service, she says.