Frequently asked questions

U-Pass BC program

Who determines my eligibility?

Your U-Pass BC eligibility is determined by SFU. Please visit www.sfu.ca/students/upass/eligibility for more information about the SFU U-Pass BC eligibility criteria. If you have questions about your eligibility, please contact the U-Pass BC office at upass@sfu.ca or 778.782.6930.

Is my U-Pass BC transferable?

Your U-Pass BC is non-transferable. You will need to carry your SFU student ID card with you at all times when travelling on TransLink's services.

How can I pay for my U-Pass BC fee?

U-Pass BC fees must be paid in the same manner as all SFU fees. See how to pay your fees.

What if I am taking a course located outside Metro Vancouver and am still being charged for the U-Pass BC?

There may be two reasons why you are eligible for the U-Pass BC program when you are completing your course/co-op term outside Metro Vancouver: 1) Your mailing address including postal code is within Metro Vancouver (see list of communities below) or 2) You are enrolled in a course section that has been identified to be held on-campus or within Metro Vancouver. If one or both of these reasons apply to you and you meet all other eligibility requirements, then you are eligible for the U-Pass BC program and the U-Pass BC term fee will be applied to your student account.

To be correctly assessed as not eligible for the U-Pass BC program while you are living outside Metro Vancouver and completing your course/co-op term outside Metro Vancouver, you need to update your mailing address (including postal code) in your Student Centre at go.sfu.ca account to reflect your outside Metro Vancouver residence and you must be enrolled in the offsite/off-campus section of the course. By doing this, you will no longer be eligible for the U-Pass BC program for the term. The next business day following these changes, the U-Pass BC eligibility will reflect that you are not eligible for the U-Pass BC program and the U-Pass BC term fee will be refunded on your student account. 

We suggest that you contact the U-Pass BC office at upass@sfu.ca or 778.782.6930 if changes are made after the term has commenced.

What happens if I change my address during the term?

If you change your mailing address, your eligibility may change. Students who are enrolled in off campus courses listed as off-campus/off-site, and reside outside of Metro Vancouver for the term should not adjust their mailing address until after the end of the term to avoid changing their U-Pass BC eligibility for the term and be charged the U-Pass BC term fee.

What communities are located within Metro Vancouver?

  • Anmore 
  • Belcarra
  • Bowen Island 
  • Burnaby 
  • Coquitlam 
  • Delta (includes Annacis Island, Boundary Bay, Deas Island, North Delta, Ladner and Tsawwassen)
  • Langley (includes City & Township, and Aldergrove, Fort Langley, Milner, Walnut Grove) 
  • Lions Bay 
  • Maple Ridge (includes Albion, Haney, Iron Mountain, Kanaka Creek, Port Hammond, Ruskin, Silver Valley, Silvermere, Thornhill, Webster's Corners, Whonnock, Yennadon)
  • New Westminster 
  • North Vancouver (includes city and district)
  • Pitt Meadows 
  • Port Coquitlam 
  • Port Moody 
  • Richmond (includes Steveston, Sea Island, Thompson)
  • Surrey (includes Anniedale, Cloverdale, Crescent Beach, Fleetwood, Kennedy, Newton, Ocean Park, Port Kells, South Surrey, Sullivan, Whalley)
  • Vancouver
  • West Vancouver
  • White Rock

Can I claim my U-Pass BC cost in my income tax return?

Check Revenue Canada's website for the current regulation on claiming Transit Tax Credits. If you need proof that you were charged and paid the U-Pass BC fee, you can print an Account Summary from your Student Information System account (see Financial Information for the terms or years for which you are making a claim). 

Does TransLink have access to my personal information?

To protect student privacy, SFU do not disclose personally identifiable information to TransLink when your eligibility information is uploaded to TransLink. No personally identifiable information is transferred when you link a Compass Card to your U-Pass BC account, or when you request your U-Pass BC for the current or next month.

SFU provides TransLink with anonymous data in the form of unique identifiers that indicate which student accounts are eligible for U-Pass BC each month. SFU also provides TransLink with a portion of your student number so that fare inspectors can match your student ID to the pass on a given Compass Card.  All transmissions are encrypted.

For U-Pass BC users, TransLink only has access to your personal information if you provide it in the following situations: 

  • You sign up for reminders on the U-Pass BC website 
  • You produce your student ID when asked by Transit Police or Fare Inspectors
  • You register your Compass Card (either on the Compass website or by phone)
  • You request a refund

Signing up for optional reminders lets you know when your U-Pass BC has been loaded onto your Compass Card or when it's time to request your U-Pass BC for a new month. Students who sign up for optional reminders will need to provide an email address, which is stored with your account and enables TransLink to send reminders and system updates. This is necessary so that students can manage their details (i.e. disable reminders or update an email address). Signing up for reminders is entirely optional.

Any use of personal information is governed by the TransLink’s Privacy Policy.

Is the U-Pass BC program changing?

No, the U-Pass BC program remains the same. The only thing that has changed is that you no longer need to obtain your monthly U-Pass BC cards from the kiosks. You can load your U-Pass BC by requesting to have your U-Pass BC loaded onto you Compass Card each month on the U-Pass BC website.

U-Pass BC on the Compass Card

How do I load my U-Pass BC onto my Compass Card?

To load your monthly U-Pass BC onto your Compass Card, sign into upassbc.translink.ca. Select "Simon Fraser University" from the drop down menu and sign in using your SFU computing ID. Next, you will need to link your Compass Card by entering the 20-digit number and the 3-digit CVN on the back of your Compass Card. Once your card is linked, you will request your U-Pass BC by checking the box. The Compass system will confirm your eligibility before loading your U-Pass BC onto your Compass Card.

How long will it take to load my U-Pass BC?

It can take up to 24 hours for your U-Pass BC to be loaded onto your Compass Card, so make sure you request your U-Pass BC at least the day before the end of the month. Without a valid U-Pass BC on your Compass Card, you are responsible for paying your transit fare.

Why do I have to request my U-Pass BC every month?

As a discounted transit program, requesting your U-Pass BC each month is a safeguard to reduce the chance for fraudulent misuse and helps ensure the continuation of the U-Pass BC program.

Is my U-Pass BC on a Compass Card considered valid fare on its own?

The U-Pass BC is valid only when you carry your SFU student ID card. Remember that when you tap in, you are validating your fare.

What happens if I am caught without a valid fare?

If you are caught without a valid fare (U-Pass BC on Compass Card and associated SFU Student ID card), your Compass Card may be confiscated and you may be fined $173 by TransLink.

Can someone else use my U-Pass BC on the Compass Card?

Your monthly U-Pass BC is non-transferable and must be used only by you. If you are caught using another student's U-Pass BC, your Compass Card may be seized and you may be fined $173 or charged with fraud and arrested. Under the U-Pass BC Agreement, TransLink, SFU, the Simon Fraser Student Society and the Graduate Student Society each have the ability to restrict students from accessing U-Pass BC for any period of time as a result of fraudulent or inappropriate use of a U-Pass BC card.

Where can I obtain a replacement card if I lose my Compass Card?

You can purchase a replacement Compass Card for $6 (deposit) at the Compass Customer Walk-in Centre, West Coast Express Walk-in Centre, online at compasscard.ca, or by calling 604.398.2042. For other options, visit the TransLink website.

Can I use a Concession (orange) Compass Card?

You will not be able to link a Concession Compass Card to your U-Pass BC account at upassbc.translink.ca. You will need to buy an Adult Compass Card from one of the TransLink options listed on their website.

Do I need to tap in and tap out?

That's how the system works. Tapping in and out with Compass Card provides important anonymous travel data that helps TransLink plan a better transit system. That means long-term sustainability, affordability for customers and better service routes for customers, including U-Pass BC students.

You must tap in and tap out every time you enter and exit a SkyTrain or SeaBus station, including when you transfer. Please note that as of October 5, 2015, you only need to tap in on a bus. When you tap in, you validate your fare. If you do not have validate your fare, then you risk receiving fare infraction ticket. When you tap out, TransLink receives important tap out data to support sustainability for the U-Pass BC program and future transit system improvements. It demonstrates how many students are using the U-Pass BC program, which helps build on the success of the program. Every time you tap out, it’s like a vote for improved transit along your route. 

It’s also a good habit to develop. When you're not travelling on your U-Pass BC and you tap in, but forget to tap out on the SkyTrain and SeaBus, the system will charge you the maximum fare (three zones).

I cannot see anything after I enter my SFU computing ID and password on the U-Pass BC website. What should I do?

The U-Pass BC website uses cookies. If your cookies are disabled on your browser, you will need to enable them to gain access the U-Pass BC website. Please go to your browser’s preferences and enable cookies to proceed with using the U-Pass BC website. TransLink's privacy policy, available on their website, provides more information on cookies.

Other TransLink Services

Do I tap on at West Coast Express stations?

Yes, U-Pass BC students need to tap in and tap out on West Coast Express (WCE). Make sure you purchase Stored Value or a WCE Add-On to ride on the WCE as WCE services are not included in the U-Pass BC program.

How do I purchase Stored Value?

You can load Stored Value at Compass Vending Machines, online, by phone at 604.398.2042, and at the Compass Customer Walk-in Centre (located at the Stadium-Chinatown Station). 

How does my Compass Card and U-Pass BC work on HandyDART?

U-Pass BC students will use their Compass Card like a flash pass on HandyDART; you are not required to tap in and tap out on HandyDART. If you ride on the conventional system (bus, SkyTrain, or SeaBus), then you will need to tap in and tap out at the card readers.

As a U-Pass BC student, what fare media do I need to provide when travelling with an attendant?

Currently, if you travel with an attendant, please ensure that you have your HandyCard with you. Your HandyCard provides free travel for your attendant. This applies to both Compass Card customers and people who use traditional fare media. In the future, Access Transit Compass Cards will replace HandyCards. On the conventional system (bus, SkyTrain, SeaBus), people who travel with an attendant must tap their Compass Card, or use their traditional fare media, and show their HandyCard to bus operators when boarding.

More FAQs about TransLink services and Compass Card can be found on their website. Questions about the Compass Card should be directed to TransLink at AskCompass.ca or 604.398.2042.