Vancouver Province: TransLink’s crackdown on fare cheats has been postponed for too long

August 9, 2010

Vancouver Province Editorial

Commuters board Canada Line at Waterfront station in Vancouver. Three Richmond city councillors say TransLink can’t afford to postpone installation of fare gates that would foil cheaters.

Commuters board Canada Line at Waterfront station in Vancouver. Three Richmond city councillors say TransLink can’t afford to postpone installation of fare gates that would foil cheaters.

Everybody agrees we need better public transportation in the Lower Mainland. The only question is how we are going to pay for it all — especially if thousands of transit riders continue to get a free ride.

For years, TransLink has down-played the widespread problem of fare evasion and delayed installation of fare gates at rapid-transit stations. Last week, Richmond councillors Ken Johnston, Bill McNulty and Derek Dang urged the regional transportation agency to quit stalling and crack down on fare cheats once and for all.

The councillors said they were disturbed by new numbers showing that, even under the current lax enforcement regime, 24,000 people were caught riding the system for free last year.

Coun. McNulty said he’d personally seen people without monthly passes walking directly past ticket-purchase machines and hopping onto trains, with Canada Line staff doing nothing to stop them.

The Richmond councillors noted TransLink now says it plans to install turnstiles on all rapid-transit lines by the spring of 2013.

But that shouldn’t mean any further delay in dealing with those who refuse to pay for their rides.

TransLink’s resistance to installing turnstiles has always been based on the apparent high cost of doing so. The cost of not doing so, though, has undoubtedly been far greater over the years.

Read the full editorial online at: http://www.theprovince.com/news/TransLink+crackdown+fare+cheats+been+postponed+long/3376103/story.html

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