Turnstiles are a ‘common sense step’

Editor:

Re: “Ditch rapid transit turnstiles, unions urge,” Oct. 23.

I was disappointed to read the one-sided argument put forward by the union representing transit workers to oppose the installation of fare gates along the Canada Line. They argued it costs more money to run and install the gates than you see back in return.

Unfortunately, this argument completely misses the point that the public has been making about our public transit system for decades. The public has said time and time again, “there is no such thing as a free ride.”

The installation of turnstiles at rapid transit lines, such as our own Canada Line, is about both fairness and safety of riders.

While the vast majority of users pay their daily fares, a good chunk of people don’t—and that’s not fair to either other riders or taxpayers who are footing their bill. All fare evasion reports to date, commissioned by Translink themselves, show there are still 4.1 million stolen rides costing up to $10 million per year. The return rate on fare evasion fines for the few that are caught in ticket checks is less than 15 per cent. There’s no penalty for cheating the system, we must stop the cheater.

With respect to safety, it’s clear that fare gates make it more difficult for criminal elements to use our transit lines for criminal gains. Turnstiles aren’t the be all and end all, but they are a common sense step in the right direction. As taxpayers, we deserve no less.

Ken Johnston
Richmond First Councillor

Read the published letter online in the Richmond Review at: http://www.bclocalnews.com/richmond_southdelta/richmondreview/opinion/letters/106309783.html

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