Monday, January 18, 2010

She Has A Ticket To Ride ... Not!

If you're planning to come to Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Olympics, here is some good news. Bus and Sky Train transportation around Vancouver is pretty much free. The bus in this picture is one of the many express buses we have in the city. You can see by this photo that the bus has three doors -- one at the front, one in the middle and one at the back -- and people are encouraged to board at all three doors. The only problem is, there is no one to take your money or check your boarding pass. Hundreds of thousands of people ride these buses every day, and hardly anyone ever gets on at the front door. Yesterday I tried an experiment. I boarded the bus at the middle door, along with about a dozen other people. We all sat down, the bus pulled away, I was home in less than ten minutes, and not one single person questioned whether or not I had paid. It was free, gratis. I looked around at the two dozen other people who got on with me, and the four dozen other people who got on at the next two stops, and I tried to calculate in my mind just how much money Translink had lost -- just on that one bus alone.

The same thing applies to the Skytrain. In fact, it's a joke. Translink officials are always wailing and weeping at how much money they lose on Sky Train, and yet there are no turnstiles, and no one on board to check if anyone has paid -- or not -- which is more than often the case. You can zip from Surrey or New Westminster all the way to Vancouver's waterfront on two separate Sky Train lines, or you can come into Vancouver from the Airport, and if you have not paid, the chances are about 99% that no one will know. The Canada Line from the Airport has inspectors at the stations who sort of stand around looking official, but they don't actually check to see if anyone has a ticket. So, again, gratis. Wouldn't you think an organization like Translink -- if they are concerned about losing money -- would tighten these things up a bit? Some things just don't make any sense to me...



Cheers,

17 comments:

Hilary said...

Bus transit around here is front door loading only so payment is an absolute.

Our GO (Government of Ontario) Trains can be boarded without a ticket but there will be checkers who come through randomly to check to see if you have one. I used to see one about every ten trips. Now I'm seeing them every time. The fine is steep. I've never once boarded a train without first purchasing a ticket. That's just wrong.

DUTA said...

The video with the Beatles matches your post perfectly. Lovely song, and such sweet-looking lads.

Jo said...

Hilary, I know...! It's amazing what people will get away with, isn't it? I sent an e-mail to Translink telling them about my experiment. It will be interesting to see if I hear back from them, or if they make any changes. I won't hold my breath. :-)

DUTA, yes, I chuckled when I heard the video again. They were so young there!

Amy said...

Jo, I so want to come, and I would buy a ticket! Portland OR has a similar situation with their "Max." It is puzzling especially when you consider how expensive public transportation is in most major cities; it's pretty hard to travel for "free" anywhere these days, which I think is understandable.

And I love the Beatle's tune. Did you see "Sir Paul" on the Golden Globes last night? Maybe he'll perform at the Oscars!

Jo said...

Amy, yes, I saw Sir Paul. Gosh, he looks as if he stepped into a time machine, doesn't he? And Cher too. Goodness! :-)

Owen said...

Pretty incredible they make no effort to close the gaps... people should pay the very reasonable cost of public transport if they use it. The alternatives, buying your own car and insuring it, are far more expensive, without mentioning the pollution aspect...

Brenda said...

Wow! Our public transportation sure doesn't look that classy! Pretty much the opposite of that. That will be interesting to see if you hear back from them. Love the Beatles... especially Sir Paul.

Alissa said...

I wonder how much it would cost to hire someone to check tickets, versus how much those tickets sell for. Perhaps the cost of hiring someone makes it simpler to just let folks ride for free.

Jo said...

Owen, I can't believe Translink doesn't know about the fare evaders. Good grief! They must lose millions of dollars a week -- maybe even a day.

Brenda, I don't expect to hear back from Translink, and I don't expect them to fix the problem. *sigh*

Alissa, Vancouver is a big city, so I think the cost of hiring someone would be less than the money they lose with fare evaders. It doesn't make sense to me...!

PhilipH said...

What a crazy system! How can they survive if they don't collect every fare?

It's a mad, mad world - but those bus and train vehicles are rather plush.

Jo said...

Philip, they're very plush...! And free -- it would seem. *sigh*

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Good golly. In San Francisco, we're lucky that they don't yet charge us a fare to walk down the street.

Jo said...

Susan, gosh, come to Vancouver...! Everything is free, free, free...!

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Everybody wants a free ride, don't they? Shame on those who continue to do this! They will pay ultimately when the public transit is no longer available.

Paula Slade said...

That's amazing, particularly when compared to the commuter train system here in Massachusetts - they do it the old fashioned way - a conductor comes by to collect your ticket or sell you one if you don't have it!

Mia said...

Maybe they want the buses to be free as a bird. Or instead of riding on a bus they say just drive my car. Or they prefer flying. Maybe they just don't care too much for money. The best things in life are free after all. Or they only charge day trippers.

Wait, do those buses go to Blue Jay Way? Which bus is that? You know the name, look up the number. Is it the one after 909?

Reading all that has been misery. I should have known better. When I get home I will get some help.

Alicia said...

That's so crazy. But that's going to come in so handy during the Olympics