Some sources claim that there is some surcharge if you buy (or reload?) a compass card at YVR. (There should be a refundable $6 fee when you purchase the card, but I believe those sources mean another surcharge.) Some advice to buy (or reload?) it in a 7-11 at the airport, others suggest to buy it somewhere and reload it online.

My question is what is the cheapest way to get and reload a compass card after arriving to YVR? The assumptions to be taken into account: the flight arrives after 6pm, and I only need to get to downtown on that day and I do not plan to use public transit later on that day. (Later, I may (or may not) choose to load a day pass e.g. for the next day.)

  • 1
    BC stands for Bring Cash :) Unfortunately there's no way to avoid the surcharge
    – JonathanReez
    Oct 17, 2019 at 22:38

2 Answers 2


I believe your sources are referring to the $5 YVR AddFare, which is charged when your eastbound journey originates at YVR, Sea Island Centre or Templeton stations and terminates at any other station.

This $5 charge applies if you use stored value to pay for your journey starting at any Sea Island station, or if you buy a DayPass on Sea Island, and exit the system at a station not on Sea Island.

The TransLink web site explains the applicability of this charge in detail:

Applicable Fares

The $5 YVR AddFare is applicable on the following adult and concession fares for eastbound travel:

  • Single-use tickets purchased from CVMs at the three Sea Island stations.
  • DayPasses purchased from CVMs at the three Sea Island stations.
  • Compass Card Stored Value trips that originate on one of the three Island Stations for travel beyond Sea Island.
  • Contactless American Express, Mastercard or Visa credit card or mobile wallet Tap to Pay fares.


The following fare media is exempt from the YVR AddFare:

  • Monthly Pass holders.
  • Program pass holders.
  • Burkeville resident program cards.
  • Customers using DayPasses not purchased on Sea Island.
  • Customers using single-use Compass Tickets not purchased on Sea Island.
  • Customers travelling between Sea Island stations.

It used to be that you could buy the DayPass at the airport 7-11 to avoid the AddFare, but they appear to have closed that loophole a few years ago. If you arrived in Vancouver some other way, then buying the card and DayPass anywhere off Sea Island would work. If you will be in Vancouver for more than a couple of weeks, then buying a monthly pass is an option which will let you avoid the charge.

  • Can you buy a compass card with zero balance at YVR and then reload it online avoiding the YVR AddFare?
    – user557
    Oct 17, 2019 at 21:22
  • 1
    @user77409 AFAIK you can only buy stored value or monthly passes online, not day passes. This doesn't help, as if you use stored value to pay you'll be charged the $5 leaving YVR anyway. Oct 17, 2019 at 21:27

If time is not a concern for you, take the free shuttle to South Terminal, there you can take route 412 back to Bridgeport, which is outside of Sea Island.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.