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On the system – fare evasion

The Transit Security badge

To say fare evasion is a hot topic on this blog and in Metro Vancouver in general is an understatement. Not only has it spurred much debate of late, it’s generated a lot of questions. One of those questions is just how is TransLink trying to reduce the amount of fare evasion on the system. The most current numbers are that between four to six percent of riders are not paying for fares, resulting in a loss in revenue of roughly $18 million dollars. One of the aims of installing faregates, which will come into use at SkyTrain stations along with Compass Card in 2013, is to help reduce the number of people getting on SkyTrain without paying the proper fares. However, we know that faregates alone won’t completely solve the problem on SkyTrain, not to mention the rest of the system. Along with Transit Police and SkyTrain Attendants, Transit Security are actively on the system every day checking for fares. If you’re a user of the multiple modes of transit in Metro Vancouver, it’s very likely you’ve met or seen a member of our Transit Security team on the bus, SkyTrain or SeaBus.

On Monday, I joined the members of Transit Security on one of their numerous targeted fare check blitzes on a Metro Vancouver bus route that is particularly prone to fare evasion. Transit Security has taken a new approach this year to reducing fare evasion, and while I can’t get into details about exactly what they’re doing, I can tell you that so far, it’s working.

Over the course of one week in February, fare evasion was reduced from 11 per cent to just under eight per cent on one problem route.

Being a user of the system for many years, I assumed most fare evaders were simply not paying for fares when they get on the bus. What I discovered is that fare evasion is a much more complicated problem than I thought, and it’s a problem that spans socioeconomic status.

Bobby, Security Operations Coordinator with Transit Security

I was paired up with a veteran of security on transit with more than 20-years experience working in various capacities involving transit in Metro Vancouver. Bobby, a Security Operations Coordinator, takes his job seriously but always has a smile on his face. He took me to a corner in East Vancouver where we met up with two of his colleagues. As each bus pulled up to the stop, one member of the team would get in the front while the other two would enter at the rear or middle doors. Of the eight buses I entered along with the team, no two experiences were the same.

The Transit Security Team checking fares

On the first bus, three people travelling together were not able to produce a ticket. The Transit Security team asked them to either pay for a ticket or leave the bus. They said they had money and proceeded to the front of the bus to pay. Once Security left the bus, they had to get back on, because it turned out those customers didn’t have the money they said they did. Still, they were very polite to Bobby when he told them they couldn’t ride for free and would have to walk instead of ride the bus.

There was at least one person per bus that was searched who hadn’t paid their fare. Five of the eight buses were almost filled to capacity, while the remaining three were about 40-60 per cent full. I would estimate that there were perhaps one or two more fare evaders on these buses judging by the quick exits by some customers out of the back doors as soon as the Transit Security team entered the bus.

To check if these people had paid their fare, sometimes one of the team members would wait outside of the back doors and ask people for proof of the fare payment as they exited. Many of these people had fares, but two others told the team member that they simply hadn’t paid their fare. One such man explained that he was on welfare and was waiting for his Provincial Transit Pass. From my perspective, he looked like someone who didn’t have much money, and his story about welfare matched my assumption. He was extremely polite to the team member and was apologetic for not having paid his fare. A general respect for authority is what I saw from the riders without means.

Civility and respect would not be the words I would use to describe the next fare evader the team met. Having asked everyone else for proof of their fare payments, the last person to be asked was a woman in her early 20s, with nice clothing, sitting at the back of the bus. She pretended not to hear Bobby’s request for proof of payment and avoided any eye contact with him. After several requests, she produced a monthly U-Pass BC that turned out not be hers. She insisted that it was, but when informed that the school she attends is not part of the U-Pass BC program, she returned to ignoring Bobby and picked up her Blackberry to make a call. Bobby asked her to leave the bus and informed her that he would have to keep her fraudulent pass. Outside the bus, he politely informed her that she could be given a ticket for using a fraudulent pass. She continued to talk on her phone then started verbally attacking Bobby, swearing and using a racial slur. Bobby once again informed her that she wouldn’t be able to take that bus, at which time she quickly walked away swearing.

A UBC student using an SFU U-PASS BC pass

The next fare evader was a young, expensively dressed young man (every item including his headphones had expensive labels) who said he was a UBC student. The problem was that he was using an SFU U-Pass. When asked whose card he was using, he insisted that it was his. After being asked the same question repeatedly without an appropriate answer, he was asked to leave the bus. He then admitted that he bought the pass from his friend for $20. He was informed that what he was doing was a fraudulent, “his” transit pass was confiscated and he wasn’t allowed to board the bus from which he was removed.

Another man also admitted that he had bought his Government of British Columbia issued bus pass from a friend. I wouldn’t have suspected his pass wasn’t his own, but after the man wasn’t able to produce other identification, the Transit Security team member asked him for his date of birth. His date of birth didn’t match up with the date on the pass. He, too, had his pass confiscated and wasn’t allowed to board the bus.

A customer using someone else's Government of British Columbia transit pass

The remaining fare evaders I saw came from a variety of social and economic backgrounds and proved that fare evasion can come in nearly as many forms. Some people were using one-zone FareSaver tickets when they had traveled beyond their designated zone. One teenager was using a FareSaver card from the day before. Another customer was travelling using a March monthly FareCard even though it was February.

In all, I was on the beat with the team for roughly 45 minutes. In that time, I learned more about how fare evasion actually happens than I have over the past 10 months. I found that most people were more than willing to show their fare, and if they had the wrong fares, they apologized and promised that it wouldn’t happen again. I also witnesses a level of disrespect that no one should have to endure.

Seeing fare evasion first hand reaffirmed my belief that it isn’t solely about saving money. It seemed to me that for some of these fare evaders paying for transit wasn’t a priority for them. They had access to money, but would rather spend it on something else. This once again raises the question I ask in my past post,

Why do people feel that they don’t have to pay to use transit?


75 Comments

  • By Sally, February 29, 2012 @ 6:26 pm

    Too bad it was Feb passes that were confiscated on the last day of Feb! The fare evaders won’t really miss them tomorrow.

  • By Ivan, February 29, 2012 @ 7:52 pm

    For me, I always pay for transit fare, because I don’t want to get in trouble with Transit Police and Security and I will feel embarrassed if I get in trouble with them. At least it’s good they accept VISA and Mastercard taking Skytrain.

  • By John B, February 29, 2012 @ 9:07 pm

    This is really good to see. I see Transit Security checking fares quite often. They just need to hire more of them! Once in a while I see other translink staff check or trying to deal with a problem person, but I would prefer Transit Security as they seem to be trained and equipped to deal with out of control or problem people. More Transit Security = safer Transit.

  • By Michael Danielsen, February 29, 2012 @ 10:19 pm

    I see a terrible amount of fare evasion on the new Canada line. I wasnt going far. I was down visiting from Kamloops and was at Landsdowne Mall with a friend in Richmond and wanted to go one station down to Aberdeen. I got to the terminal and bought a ticket and waited for my friend to come. He has lived in Richmond for 10 years at least. He evaded the pay stations and started walking up the escalator, and I asked him if he was going to buy a ticket. He said it was just one station over and he has NEVER been caught. He has learned where the Transit police show up and when. Obviously they dont randomly show up at middle of the road stations and check those who might only be riding it a station or two. So there is easy evasion there. A system like Beijing’s subways fare gates should help solve this problem.

  • By Bill R, March 1, 2012 @ 6:22 am

    I see transit security way more then police, they do virtually the same job for half the price. I think they should hire more of them and less of the police

  • By Russell, March 1, 2012 @ 7:14 am

    Well, if hardly anyone actually gets fined for being caught, that isnt much of a incentive to pay for a pass. Also, the new UPass system is no better than the old one for fare evasion, and it is a massive inconvenience for honest students (like me)

  • By Chris, Public Transport, March 1, 2012 @ 9:04 am

    I suspect as Vancouver migrates to a tap-card based fare system university ID cards will be able to be used as passes, which should cut down on fraudulent use of U-Passes.

  • By Pat J, March 1, 2012 @ 9:20 am

    My concern with this story is the punishment for using a fraudulent or counterfeit pass: a polite reminder from enforcement officer. That might be appropriate for the welfare guy waiting for his BC Pass, or the girl who travels one past her zone boundary on a one-zone pass, but people who knowingly purchase and use counterfeit U-passes are committing fraud, and should be arrested and charged

  • By Robert Willis - Buzzer Editor, March 1, 2012 @ 10:58 am

    Pat: When I was with security on Monday, Transit Security took down contact information of those using fraudulent passes. Transit Security also reserves the right to call in Transit Police to take further action.

  • By DB, March 1, 2012 @ 11:51 am

    “Seeing fare evasion first hand reaffirmed my belief that it isn’t solely about saving money.”

    Ain’t that the truth! If it was about saving money, BC and TransLink wouldn’t be wasting so much of it on fare gates, and would be putting more personnel on the system to be helpful, provide assistance, presence, and security, and to exercise discretion, as the story shows. This whole fare gates thing runs totally counter to the numbers and should be a major source of shame to all involved. Act to make the system safer? Implement a digital farecard? By all means, but skip the gates, focus on personnel, and save valuable money for operations.

  • By Terra, March 1, 2012 @ 12:04 pm

    Awesome article. One of my biggest transit pet peeves is seeing people try and reem out of paying when they get on bus or just hopping on the skytrain. It’s these same people that complain about the system not being good enough when they are the ones causing it to loose money and not be able to put better service in place.

    A side note: you guys need to get some social media links to twitter and facebook on your blog posts! This is a great article and I would love to share it with my friends and colleagues easily. Just a thought. (:

  • By Karen, March 1, 2012 @ 12:10 pm

    Unrelated, but I would love to see this kind of blog post about the law-breaking behaviours of drivers, even if it’s more ICBC’s jurisdiction than TransLink’s.

  • By Drae, March 1, 2012 @ 12:11 pm

    Great article. It’s refreshing to see a transit agency discussing a controversial issue publicly.

  • By Seamus, March 1, 2012 @ 12:15 pm

    People evade fares simply because they can. I take 2 buses to and from work daily. Without fail, every day on both buses, I see drivers giving free rides to people who ask. I counted 3 people getting a free ride one day going from the downtown core to Hastings St. How about instead of wasting money on fare gates, Translink requires drivers to enforce the payment rules instead of letting people mooch off the system?

  • By Joyce, March 1, 2012 @ 12:25 pm

    Sometimes I don’t pay because I only need to go one station. $2.50 is too much for a ~1minute ride. Can’t wait for the Compass Card.

  • By Marvin B, March 1, 2012 @ 1:58 pm

    To Joyce:

    I hear about that sort of thing all the time. “It’s just one stop.” or “just one station” and it’s not worth $2.50 for such a short ride. If it wasn’t worth it, then you’d just walk, cycle, skateboard, etc. Obviously there’s some value for you. You want access to the system for whatever reason (I don’t care what reason) but don’t feel you have to pay for it. There has to be a minimum value for the ride. A taxi has a start price which only goes up as you ride longer. If you go a short distance, you pay. Go a long distance, you pay a little more. With transit, you pay for a short distance, but no more for more travel unless you cross a zone. Plus you get to keep that ticket for 90 minutes for more travel. Seems a bargain to me. Your payment for short distances is just as valid for those going further. I suggest regardless of how far you travel, stay off the system unless you want to pay for it. I’m tired of subsidizing freeloaders like you.

  • By Denny Bastian, March 1, 2012 @ 2:27 pm

    If you want to see how bad fare evasion really is, ride the 99 bus when security hasn’t been around for weeks, incidentally which is very normal. I would also suggest that the typical fare evader looks a lot like a student. Older folks generally pay. It is the younger crowd who have this misplaced sense of entitlement and the balls to abuse the system.

  • By Michael, March 1, 2012 @ 4:40 pm

    Transit Security can arrest for obtaining a service under a false pretence & using an altered or forged pass. However, it is often not worth it to wait for Police to attend. However, it does happen f/ time to time depaending the the offender’s attitude. Also, I believe, bus drivers are not able to enforce fares because of safety & liability issues. But they can dispatch people who can.

  • By Joe, March 1, 2012 @ 7:53 pm

    @Seamus, they used to, but drivers were getting assaulted so much it was deemed to be “not worth it.” Instead buses were declared fare paid zones like SkyTrain, subject to random checks.

  • By Philippe, March 1, 2012 @ 10:39 pm

    If it can be shown that fare checks can reduce evasion to the point where they pay for themselves, I’m all for it. That is until I get held up at a stop for 10 minutes while the officer checks all 60+ people on the bus which makes me miss my connection and my Tsawwassen ferry on the other side…painful
    These blitzes have to be conducted with the idea in mind that 95% of riders pay they’re fares, and shouldn’t be inconvenienced by the checks.

  • By Dylan, March 2, 2012 @ 3:23 am

    You know, more people might be willing to pay if Translink didn’t have some of the highest fares in the West, maybe even North America. When you’re spending more on your bus fare than you would on gas if you just drove yourself, it puts the pople who can’t afford gas in a pretty tight bind. Gotta pay for those fare gates somehow though, eh?

  • By George, March 2, 2012 @ 6:36 am

    “I would also suggest that the typical fare evader looks a lot like a student. Older folks generally pay.”
    Prejudice? Why would you make such a statement and where are your facts to support this?

  • By Sheba, March 2, 2012 @ 10:15 am

    @Dylan
    Transit Fares In Canadian Cities http://markosun.wordpress.com/2011/11/18/transit-fares-in-canadian-cities/

  • By Kelly, March 2, 2012 @ 12:17 pm

    Obviously, No one had mentioned of a fareless zones in the downtown Vancouver area like the states do. Nor if there’s goina be a free bus in the near future. For a sample, Island Transit in Washington is fare free. You check out why by visiting: http://http://islandtransit.org/did_You_Know// to find out more.

  • By Kelly, March 2, 2012 @ 12:25 pm

    When fare gates go up in 2013, all the passengers will be clogged up in the entrance way both going to their trains and exiting them during rush hour. I know that Broadway-City Hall Station will be one of many.

  • By Kelly, March 2, 2012 @ 12:31 pm

    Also, Didn’t anyone mentioned about the Handycard Pass? If you’re disabled, you get a concession fare & when someone is with you, they get in for free. It’s too goina be hard on those fare gates when you have a handycard pass.

  • By Tracy, March 2, 2012 @ 9:43 pm

    Let’s not forget that the U-pass agreement means that the universities are paying Translink a per student fee (charged to the student whether they want a U-pass or not) in exchange for a reduced bus pass price for the student who need a (who pays the additional cost directly to Translink). The small percentage of students abusing the system have had their fares paid for many times over by all the students who don’t use transit (ever seen a university parking lot?).

  • By Rob, March 2, 2012 @ 10:05 pm

    Wow what a bunch of whiners! We’ve all seen the guy standing by the train door checking out the platform at each station presumably because he thinks his next date is waiting there… Not! I saw the well dressed woman who had been on the train from downtown open her purse, pull out a one zone Faresaver booklet and tear out a card as we ascended Peterson Hill toward Gateway Stn. Then standing at the bus stop another woman who also got off the same train pulls her fresh ticket out of a booklet. On the 332 Guildford a (inebriated) man gets on at King Geo Blvd. and pleads with the driver to give him a lift. If this continues I may be the only person still paying (far an Annual Pass)!

  • By Henry Myers, March 3, 2012 @ 12:47 pm

    Gates and a tap system will just make the system less efficient and cause crowd jams at gates and possibly restrict the disabled. Why can’t translink go all the way and let us buy RFID transit passes that record passengers entering and leaving. Transit police could also just walk through a bus to see who has a valid RFId and who does not.
    RFID wold also measure ridership and travel patterns. Also RFID will allow all busses to allow entrance and exit from the rear doors, speeding the bus loading and increasing throughput for the system.
    It seems to me that Translink is saving a few pennies on this system, a savings that will cost more in system inefficiency and customer inconvenience

  • By ;-), March 3, 2012 @ 3:46 pm

    The taps are so quick getting on a bus in HKG, it’s not a problem with congestion. It’s faster than using a faresaver, or as fast as showing your pass.

    What’s interesting will be the BLine’s… people exiting and entering on rear doors may have issues.

  • By Kelly, March 3, 2012 @ 10:33 pm

    The B-Lines are useless. Try waiting 5 to 6 buses on Cambie @ Broadway or Clark Drive to go to UBC, because the buses are full. Also if one B-Line bus is late, due to overcrowding & another bus behind the lead bus is also full, you may as well forget the b-lines & try to hop on a 9 bus to UBC, but you can’t, cause those buses are full with people also. >:@

  • By sammi, March 3, 2012 @ 11:37 pm

    Why do people feel that they don’t have to pay to use transit?

    There are many reason people feel they don’t have to pay. But one reason i feel I should have to is the lack of night time service. I have to wait 45 mins after exiting 1 bus before i can board my next bus that when i get off it still leaves me more then 20 mins walk from home.and the fact that the shuttle buss in my area are never on time they are eather 10 mins early or 10 mins late.

    That all being said I do buy a monthly pass to ride the buses as i dont agree with fare jumping and its cheeper for the pass then the fine i could get for not paying.

  • By bob, March 4, 2012 @ 1:43 am

    Try telling the Truth, It Will Set You Free.
    September 12,2008 Buzzer “Transit fare evasion is lower than you think; over 97% of customers pay their fares”. PricewaterhouseCoopers September 2007 study reports 2.5% fare evasion with annual 2007 losses of $6.4 million.
    2008 NRG research shows public believe 23 in 100 people don’t pay their fare – nearly 10 times more than actual.
    $171 Million cost to 97% honest fare paying transit customer Taxpayers of $6.4 million per year for nearly 27 years, not including interest, is not fair.
    The electronic fareboxes in Buses break down regularly, turnstiles fare gates maintenance will exceed 2.5% fare evasion of $6.4 Million.
    How much is Bus Electronic Fareboxes cost and maintenance?
    Translink will want the 97% honest fare paying transit Taxpayers to pay for new turnstiles again when the 2012 turnstiles wear out.
    Question: Why were turnstiles not installed on the original Expo Line?
    Answer: Original $1.454 Billion 21.4 km Expo Line was $896 Million over budget.
    Translink could have purchased 40 new Skytrain cars for $161 million adding 10 – four car trains to increase capacity by 5100 regular load or 8500 rush hour load riders every 20 minutes to improve service, safety, efficiency and customer comfort.
    Since no successful business person, bank or investor would ever spend $171 Million to recover only $6.4 Million! What is the real purpose of turnstiles?

  • By Michael, March 4, 2012 @ 6:08 am

    Also, whoever said it’s cheaper to drive is dead wrong. A 3-Zone Pass is $151, I believe, roughly the monthly cost to insure a vehicle, let alone the cost of gas, maintenance, parking, & purchasing/leasing the vehicle. That argument has no weight.

  • By jmv, March 4, 2012 @ 8:20 am

    Wow, lots of comments here. Every time I see transit fare enforcement, I relive the scene from Run Lola Run, the words “die tasche” echoing in my head. Karen raises a good point; cars need enforcement too, but the isolating effect of cars makes ticketing of motor vehicle violations an entirely different experience. Getting a ticket in your car, at least you get to stay in the privacy of your own vehicle (unless you’re asked to step out of the vehicle, which would be bad).

  • By jay, March 4, 2012 @ 9:23 am

    one young woman try to argue why bus driver cant refuse her a free ride because buses is part of city service. what she fail to understand conveniently is that ‘yes’ buses are part of city service, free ‘no’.tho

  • By ???, March 4, 2012 @ 10:19 am

    If anyone says transit should be free…. I ask them how will the transit driver be compensated? How will the buses be fixed? Are you going to be happy with the buses running once an hour and may not be picking you up because it’s full. Would you like to see your property taxes double or quadruple to keep the transit quality high?

  • By Henry Myers, March 4, 2012 @ 4:05 pm

    Anyone who has been in a city with transit gates has seen how easy it is for an agile person to jump over the gate: think of numerous police movies where the bad guy does not stop to pay fare or tap his Compass card. This system will not stop people who want to cheat the system, and the 97% of us who pay will just have one more inconvenience.

    The only way that a gate will work is if there is a cop at every gate ready to chase after cheaters.

    An RFID system that tracks entry and exit without touch or a barrier should be able to identify cheats, but not require a copy or person at every point of entry. A touch free radio frequency system should know who is a paying customer and who is a cheater, and the security officers can simply walk through a vehicle with a sensor and see who has paid. The person who has not paid can then be identified.

    Of course it’s pointless to argue: Translink has been duped into buying an expensive ineffective system and nothing we say can change that. I certainly hope their decision was based on simple stupidity and not bribes and graft.

    Henry myers

  • By Edwin, March 4, 2012 @ 11:35 pm

    Quite a lot of the time for non-b-line bus, people board on the bus from the back door. I am not sure that whether the bus driver did see it or not, but it is a common practice. Sometimes, I think that the bus driver allow it happen. The percentage of invasion are way more than you think.

    Another problem would be when the bus is full. However, 20 to 30% of the time, the buses are full in the front but not at the back. If the drivers insist people moving to the back, more people could get on the buses.

    In addition, for the scheduled time. It is reasonable that the bus might come slightly early or late. However, after I look at bus schedule, at a certain stop of the route, there is a scheduled leave point. However, most bus drivers do not follow it. Even the bus arrive 5 or 6 minutes before the scheduled time, they do not stop and wait, and just leave.

  • By David, March 5, 2012 @ 12:56 pm

    Edwin – boarding by the back doors is permitted on the B-line buses – so it okay to do that if oyu have a pre-paid fare.

    Some timing points are only estimates. The bus you saw might even be an earlier one behind schedule.

  • By Tom, March 6, 2012 @ 2:40 am

    Im really glad to see Transit security doing fare inspections. I think translink should have them start writing tickets to the people who are using a fake pass.

  • By Ouch, March 6, 2012 @ 7:54 am

    There’s always Yubitsume… you can only do it so many times.

  • By Jimbo, March 6, 2012 @ 8:23 am

    Faregates aren’t meant to be foolproof in preventing determined non-ticket holders from getting by them. The more they are designed to physically prevent people from bypassing them the more expensive and cumbersome they become for regular users. The faregate system is a compromise between prevention and cost/ease of use.

    The faregate configuration selected will deter the \casual\ evader: someone with an expired pass or no pass, etc won’t be willing to physically hurdle over faregates. It will also make the more determined evaders *much* easier to find – they’re the ones hopping over the faregate.

    Of course, if no authority is around to catch the now obvious faregate-evaders then the system will not work.

  • By Daniel, March 6, 2012 @ 10:18 pm

    This is really interesting to read. i’m a highschool student and i always have a monthly pass and i always have my gocard with me as a form of ID to show to the transit official if he questions if im legible to use my pass.(maybe i look older than i really am? hehe :P) But if im unable to obtain one for a new month, i always keep myself a back up supply of change because ever since i’ve started taking transit, i never really wanted to be caught without proof of payment. As for those University students using those fruadulent (however you spell it) passes, that to me makes me question why they even bother to try when they know that they might be randomly checked or why they’d take that chance at being caught.

  • By John B, March 7, 2012 @ 9:06 pm

    There’s been a lot of press surrounding safety on transit as of late. Having more Transit Security, such as the ones in this article, will make the system safer, not more cameras. Not to mention less fare evasion!

  • By Jacky, March 8, 2012 @ 7:53 am

    Why do people feel that they don’t have to pay to use transit?

    I’ve been riding transit in the lower mainland for over twenty years. I have also visited cities with turnstiles. Here’s what I think.

    The way the system is built and sign posted invites people to walk on to a bus, on to a platform and on to a train without paying. The system is built for the user who knows how to use it and unfortunately because of this, it’s open to abuse.

    There is an absence of explicit signage before a user gets to the ticket vending machine level and at / above the ticket vending machines explaining how to ride the system, that a fare is required at all times and what type of fare, and consequences for not purchasing a fare. Also, there’s a lack of signage around ticket machines about other types of fares that can be purchased at stores. And a lack of highly visible signs throughout the system stating consequences for using a fraudulent ticket or pass. Similar high visible signs are lacking on trains, on platforms and on buses. No matter where you sit or stand on a bus or train, there needs to be explicit signage regarding the above. In addition, there is an absence through the system of repeated recorded announcements stating the same.

    I see Transit Security and Transit Police yet I see them less checking fares. In the last three months, I have not been asked for my fare to be shown. There isn’t a permanent ticket check at all stations, on trains and on buses all the time. Some riders know this and abuse the system – it’s a given.

    Without significant user friendly signage – for some reason Vancouver is a city that isn’t sign friendly – repeated verbal messages through the speakers and permanent ticket checks – I think these are some of the reasons why people feel they don’t have to pay to use transit.

  • By ron, March 8, 2012 @ 10:08 am

    I have a real problem working for Translink one who is not a police officer asking for identification beyond a valid fare. How is that legal?

  • By TransitsUser, March 8, 2012 @ 3:29 pm

    People might see Transit as an essential service.
    It is something that we all have the right to: GETTING AROUND.
    Why should we have to pay for that right?
    Perhaps transit could be seen as the most basic form of this right, asfterall transit users aren’t asking for much, just a way to move aroung, not a Private Driver Mercedes trip.

    Should transit not be free? Would that not in turn help stimulate the economy in other ways?
    If you don’t have to worry about the cost of travelling around, would you not do it more often?
    When you cannot even afford the most basic form of long-distance travel do you not feel deprived, trapped, limited?

    Transit IS inexpensive, but how would our world be different if it were FREE?!?

  • By Edwin, March 8, 2012 @ 6:51 pm

    David, sorry, I forgot to state that the buses I mentioned are non B-line bus.
    Before, I called to Translink and asked them about the “Schedule leave point.” At the “Schedule leave point” the bus drivers suppose to stop there and wait until the “Schedule leave point” come. I know that some buses I saw might even be an earlier one behind schedule. However, the bus that I took were 430 which was operated every 30 minutes after 7 pm, 49 which also operated every 30 minutes after 10 pm.

  • By User, March 9, 2012 @ 8:23 pm

    We do have the right to getting around, it’s why we are able to walk for free. Getting around on anything but your own two feet is not a right, it’s a privilege. You have to buy a bike, buy skates, buy a car, and buy your transit ticket. If you want to buy something and drive people around for free and eat up all the operating costs, you have my support.

    I don’t think transit being free would help the economy because that cost would have to be covered by something. A private company wouldn’t take that kind of loss, because where/how could they cover the cost? The cities sure are not going to provide their own versions of public transit, and if they did they would not be linked together easily and they would have to somehow cover the cost as well in their budgets. Sure you would not feel trapped, but if it’s that much of an issue then perhaps move to a cheaper place in a better location. Free transit is never possible, because operating a fleet of buses is expensive and nobody is just going to eat that cost for nothing.

  • By Tom, March 10, 2012 @ 5:25 pm

    Like it has been said before in the comments, hire MORE Transit Security for the buses. These guys do a great job.

  • By Albert Giesbrecht, March 17, 2012 @ 9:16 pm

    Why do people feel that they don’t have to pay to use transit?

    Because we already pay for Transit with our taxes? Boom Ya!

  • By Albert Giesbrecht, March 17, 2012 @ 9:22 pm

    Sometimes I don’t pay because I only need to go one station. $2.50 is too much for a ~1minute ride. Can’t wait for the Compass Card.

    I agree with you Joyce. Portland has free transit in the Downtown core. We should have that here.

  • By Michael, March 19, 2012 @ 6:58 pm

    Just read how one person said that fare evasion is rampant on the #99. How does that get by the driver???? How are people evading fares without the driver knowing it? Wouldn’t he make everyone pay?

  • By Robert Willis - Buzzer Editor, March 20, 2012 @ 2:32 pm

    Hi Michael: As noted in this previous blog post – http://bit.ly/zOW1WO fare evasion isn’t a prevalent as some believe it to be. That said, the #99 is an all door boarding bus, so the driver is unable to check everyone’s tickets.

  • By Robert Willis - Buzzer Editor, March 20, 2012 @ 2:34 pm

    Albert: Unfortunately taxes alone don’t pay for all the expenses of transit. It’s good to also remember that not everyone using transit pays taxes as well. Thanks for the comment!

  • By Kelly, March 20, 2012 @ 3:19 pm

    I feel that the bottom line is that the rich people pay the fares, while homeless & low income get in for free on buses. Faregates will hurt low income people on SkyTrain, but not for riding on public buses. Maybe they should have faregates on all buses front and back.

  • By Michael, March 20, 2012 @ 9:41 pm

    Hpw is the driver not able to see everyone who gets on? All who get in from the front door would have to walk by the driver. I’d be sitting there watching each one as they go by! If it got too quick I’d ask everyone to slow down a bit. Plate people allowed to board from te rear door?

  • By ???, March 20, 2012 @ 9:59 pm

    @Michael: To clarify…. the BLine routes allows for rear boarding. If the driver is focussed on the front door, activities of the back door cannnot be easily monitored at the same time. There is no way the driver can determine if the passengers boarding from the other doors have paid their fares.

    Some locations (Main Street station) and in situations with articulating buses that are not BLine (#20 @ Broadway)…. many passengers sneak on the rear doors to avoid the farebox and driver in the front. It is hoped that we can have some fare enforcement officers can at these problem locations to stop passengers to use the rear doors creating a safety hazard. It’s common to see seniors hit when exiting the rear doors while freeloaders force their way onto the bus.

  • By User, March 21, 2012 @ 8:42 pm

    @ Albert

    If it wasn’t of value, then why don’t you walk it? In some situations a station is located probably a 10-15min walk away, so giddy up? If not, don’t complain about the price. Someone in here mentioned, just like a taxi, there has to be a base cost to start your trip. $2.50 happens to be it and that is pretty cheap when compaired with alternative methods of travel if you consider time vs money investing.

    @ Michael

    The drivers do not enforce fare. Nor would I want them to. Their safety and phyiscal well being is not worth $2.50 – $5.00. If you dissagree why not step up and say something? A person is worth more than that, and it’s nice to see a big company thinking the same. I would not step in myself to try and net that kind of money, so I would not expect a driver to jepardize (sp?) himself over it either.

  • By Chelsey, March 26, 2012 @ 8:42 pm

    During the 4 years as a Upass carrier, I only got stop for fare checks about 4-5 times. That means an average of once a year. I’ve seen Transit officers on pretty much all the skytrain stations on the Canada line, but were they checking for fares? No. Every morning, on the Brighouse station, I would see the two transit attendant on the Platform on so-called “duty”. They were basically chatting with each other. People are like no buying fares and still able to board the Skytrain. In addition, I’ve seen people pushing each others in and out the skytrain and being rude, did they do anything? No. So honestly, I don’t know why they getting paid for doing absolutely nothing.

    Oh, the 99 B-line to Broadway and UBC is super prone for fare evaders. I have no idea why nothing is done on them yet. People just rush in and out in the middle and back door.

  • By Albert Giesbrecht, March 27, 2012 @ 8:14 pm

    Chelsey, entering through the back doors on the 99 B-line is permitted.

  • By Chelsey, March 27, 2012 @ 8:25 pm

    @Albert
    Well then, wouldn’t that be encouraging fare evaders? Since entering backdoor is “permitted” as you say, people WOULD take advantage of that.

  • By ???, April 4, 2012 @ 6:44 pm

    This is absolutely disgusting….
    http://www.ctvbc.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20120404/bc_steele_fare_evaders_120404/20120404/

    Who like’s BC Green’s idea of bribing officers $75 for a lower fine on the spot. Will that be MasterCharge?
    http://www.news1130.com/news/local/article/347979–bc-greens-propose-new-strategy-to-crackdown-on-fare-evaders

  • By User, April 5, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

    @???

    I don’t mind the idea. Think of drivers, if you pay your ticket early you save like $25 or something. It makes people want to ‘save’ that money by paying it early. The same could work with transit tickets. Right now it’s $173, I’d say drop it to $125 if it’s paid same day either at a TVM with debit/credit (would need to be implemented), over the phone with the same, or at ICBC. Otherwise drop it to $140 if paid within 30 days. After that, bring it up to $173 for 3 months (enough time to budget if needed), then send it to collections at $200 or $225. This will encourage people to pay early to save money, make them realize that there are timelines and consequences to them. Right now with loose consequences it’s no wonder people don’t pay. If you’re going to give consequences it’s only reasonable to give something in return for a fast ownership of fault. At least, in my mind.

  • By Tom, April 8, 2012 @ 1:56 pm

    They need more Transit Security doing fare ENFORCEMENT. I see some translink staff checking, like STA and Seabus people but they don’t enforce and just let the person go if the person refuses to cooperate. I see Transit Security actually doing something about people who refuse to comply.

  • By ?!?, April 30, 2012 @ 10:21 am

    Transit should be paid for by the over 100 thousand dollars in taxes that the government has stolen from my dead fathers pension account which was taxed going in. Taxed coming out. And then at the end of the year when they count what came out as income, taxed again. And how do we pay that income tax? By taking money from the account. Which is taxed an then considered as income for the following year.

    The account is locked in by the government. My mother wasn’t eligible to receive the “old age compensation” which my father had paid into his whole working life because he died at 52 after working for cprail since he was 17. So they took that. And when my mother dies. There is a “death tax” on the locked pension and they just take it, leaving us with nothing.

    So screw you public transit. My family has paid its dues.

  • By Jacky, May 9, 2012 @ 6:20 pm

    Great to hear the SkyTrain station announcements re: having a fare for inspection at all times. This is similar to the ideas I was presenting in my March 8, 2012 post.

  • By J, December 24, 2012 @ 11:00 am

    The reason people abuse the system is because it largely works out in their favour. Even paying a fine now and then, with the cost of three-zone tickets, the gamble often pays out.

    Personally I have little sympathy, having been verbally harassed and physically intimidated by Transit Police officers, and watched them bully other transit users, whether they had grounds to issue a ticket or not.

  • By Stefanie Lee - Buzzer Contributor, December 27, 2012 @ 11:55 am

    Hi J – Sorry to hear about your experience with the Transit Police. If you have a few minutes feel free to fill out the Customer Feedback form with your suggestions about how we can improve our services. And thanks for your input about fare evasion, with the new faregates and Compass card coming in 2013 we hope this will help to discourage fare evasion.

  • By rosa, November 29, 2018 @ 11:21 pm

    but what I’m poor… they should introduce free bus cards for low income people… pay 5 bucks per ride is just way too much

Other Links to this Post

  1. The Buzzer blog » New legislation introduced to better enforce fare evasion fines, plus a few more items — June 4, 2012 @ 8:40 am

  2. The Buzzer blog » On the system – fare checks are up, fare infractions are down: a follow up with Transit Security — February 4, 2013 @ 7:37 pm

  3. The Buzzer blog » TransLink 101: welcome to our February special post series! — February 8, 2013 @ 4:21 pm

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