PSA: You'll have trouble with your U Pass if your Compass card has a negative balance

Joshua Medicoff

If you forget to request your Compass card on time, you could be royally screwing yourself over. Odds are that if you've been on top of requesting your U Pass before the month's end, then you probably have around $5 kicking around on your Compass card. If you forget to request your U Pass in time, the standard fare of $2.10 will be taken off your card. However, many might not notice this because most students are used to swiping their cards without batting an eye.

Before you know it, you'll have a negative balance on your Compass card. Only after having your card not work on a bus will you remember that you need to request your U Pass. Here's the bad news — U Passes won't work if you have a negative balance on your card. How to fix this can be a bit more complicated than you might think.

To add value onto your card, you'll have to link your credit card to your Compass card online. However, there have been complaints of website glitches with the U Pass where adding value doesn't work. You will then need to find your way to the nearest Skytrain — without using your Compass card — and top it up at one of the machines there.

Alternatively, you can call Translink and pay with your credit card over the phone after waiting on hold for ages. If this all sounds like way too much effort, then don't forget to request your monthly U Pass in advance.