Councillors Call for Fare Cheat Crackdown Until Fare Gates Open

For Immediate Release

August 5, 2010

Disturbing new figures prove that Translink must quit stalling and crackdown on transit fare cheats once and for all, said Richmond Councillors Ken Johnston, Bill McNulty, and Derek Dang on the heels of newly released fare evasion statistics by the Vancouver Sun.

“The new fare evasion statistics were shocking and validated our calls for a crackdown and on fare cheats and the installation of fare gates,” said Councillor Ken Johnston. “On behalf of Richmond taxpayers we’re calling on Translink to direct their staff to crackdown on fare cheats at all rapid transit stations, at all peak hours, until fare gates are installed and operational.”

New figures recently obtained and published by the Vancouver Sun detailed the extent of the problem – and the lack of enforcement at rapid transit stations. In 2009 alone, 24,000 people were caught riding the system without having paid their fares – including 550 fare cheats on the Canada Line in its first five months of service. As well, due to a conscious decision by Transit Police not to enforce random fare checks during the 7am-9am rush, less than a third of the tickets were issued in the morning (1,363) when compared to the afternoon 4pm-6pm rush (4,284).

“I’ve personally seen people without monthly passes walking directly past ticket purchase machines and hopping onto trains with Canada Line ‘green jacket’ staff watching the entire way and doing nothing to stop it,” said Councillor Bill McNulty. “These appalling statistics are just the tip of the iceberg showing those caught during the rare occasion of a Translink fare check – it’s clear we need to fast track turnstiles and dramatically increase fare checks until they are completed.”

Trankslink’s own statistics show that when there are more fare checks, more people get caught. This is exemplified by a 50-percent higher chance of getting a ticket on a Saturday or Sunday because there are fewer riders per transit police officers. Looking ahead, after years of pressure from Richmond First Councillors, Translink has embarked on a process to install fare gates on all rapid transit lines by the Spring of 2013.

“We applaud Translink for finally looking to install turnstiles to improve safety and fairness, but we’re talking about three more years and tens of millions of dollars out the door in fare evasion in the interim” said Councillor Derek Dang. “We’re talking about the loss of millions of dollars in fares and Translink just doesn’t seem to care.”

In 2008, PricewaterhouseCoopers issued a report that showed there were approximately 4.1 million stolen rides annually leading to Translink revenue losses that range from $5.3 million to $9.4 million per year. Richmond First Councillors have been publicly calling for the installation of fare gates at Canada Line and rapid transit stations since 2006.

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