Together, we connect the region and enhance its liveability by providing a sustainable transportation network, embraced by our communities and our people.
That’s the Translink mission, something many people are saying the corporation are straying from with their new policy changes. The upcoming launch of Compass, while reducing fare evasion, also brings with it a few changes that people are getting upset about. The biggest, without a doubt is the inability to have a bus transfer work on the skytrain. A change that potentially would force riders to purchase fare twice for the same trip because of an inadequacy of the system. Pretty crazy thought. Imagine showing up at the airport, having told you have to buy another plane ticket with cash because their credit card systems haven’t registered your payment yet. Stupid analogy? Of course it is, it’d never happen.
My main concern is that two changes that aren’t getting much ink fly in the face of what a transit provider is meant to be about. The elimination of a corporate annual pass, and the elimination of Family Sundays.
The corporate pass passed a small discount to employees of approved organizations if they committed to a year of public transit. Seems ideal right? It’s enough incentive and commitment to keep a vehicle off the roads. Most people take transit to a workplace, why wouldn’t you invent that behavior? The discount being eliminated – no matter how small drives the cost of living even higher, and flies in the face of the concept of ‘livability’.
The other change is the elimination of Family Sundays, the ability for a family of two adults and two children to travel on one pass on a Sunday. Most families only truly get one day in the week to spend together. Irregular work days, household chores, and all the other things that come with having a family seems to consume six days of the week. So, a family makes the decision to travel into their city, whether it’s Burnaby or Vancouver. They decide to skip the expensive parking, the hassle of finding parking to start with, and save by traveling as a family to their destination. Yeah, that’s over too.
The bus/train ticket issue I can almost understand, almost, but citizens shouldn’t have to pay extra because of an inadequate system, an exception should be made. The changes that have an effect on family and work life are much more concerning. A transit corporation should be ensuring there are additional incentives to citizens for taking transit. As a transit user myself, a system that simply runs is not enough. Countless times I’ve seen riders feel unsafe, transit police look the other way at situations that seem messier, than telling a 16 year old he can’t take his bicycle on a train. It needs to get better. A new system with fancy new ticket machines is not enough, and certainly does not fulfill the mission they set out for themselves.