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BC: TransLink Admits Its $173 Fare Evasion Fines Aren't Pursued

March 27, 2012
BC: TransLink Admits Its $173 Fare Evasion Fines Aren't Pursued

B.C. Premier W.A.C. Bennett used to say that his opposition couldn’t run a “peanut stand.” Well, TransLink may be even worse.

CKNW radio reporter Janet Brown came up with an absolute bombshell last night when she discovered that only 7,500 of 50,000+ fare evasion tickets were paid—and that TransLink has no authority to force people to pay their $173 fare evasion fines.

That sound you just heard was people rushing past SkyTrain ticket machines. No need for those any more.

Here’s Janet’s story:

The majority of tickets written by Translink Police aren't paid but what's more surprising, the tickets aren't even enforced.

From January last year to February this year there were approximately 64-thousand tickets issued mostly for 'failure to pay fare.' Of that number about 11-thousand were cancelled for one reason or another.

So, of roughly 53-thousand tickets issued, the number of fines 'paid' was only 75-hundred. The fine is 173-dollars.

 What's even more surprising is that there's no consequence if you decide not to pay the fine.

 CKNW reporter Janet Brown spoke with Tranklink's Drew Snider,  "So, if I'm issued a ticket because I can't produce my little ticket from getting on the Skytrain, I'm given a 173-dollar ticket from the police officer but if I chose not pay it there's no consequence. Is that right?"

Snider: "That is correct."

Jordan Bateman with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation says he's stunned, "It's an absolute bombshell. In fact, I'm rarely at a loss for words, but I'm completely by what Mr. Snider was saying. I mean, he's admitting that these tickets they are writing are not worth the paper they're written on. I think you're going to see fare evasion quadruple in the weeks to come because, why not."

In fact, Translink says the collection of fines rests with the Court system.  Translink does not get the fine money - that goes to the Provincial Government's general revenue.

NDP Transportation critic Harry Bains is calling on the Transportation Minister to make sure fines are collected, "I think the Minister needs to get on the phone and talk to the Translink CEO and say, 'look, you have a job to do. You're placed in that position to make sure the system is running. The system we have to enforce our laws are there and that enforcement is there."

This is why we so desperately need a BC Hydro-style audit of TransLink, and why the CTF supported Premier Christy Clark’s announcement of one last week. Something isn’t right here—before this organization is given a single nickel more of taxation power (let alone the $1 billion worth of tax tools the regional mayors have requested on TransLink’s behalf), we need to change the corporate culture and bring accountability into that organization.

TransLink is a waste machine, with issues like nepotismsecurity breachesU-pass theftsafety concernscommunication mistakesfare evasionpay pollingsuperfluous studies and redundant transit police. And that’s just what we can prove right now.

By
on March 27, 2012
Good. The number of times those assholes harassed me for not paying even though I always paid... Just go by the honour system.

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By
on March 27, 2012
Very interesting - just yesterday I was issued a ticket for 173 dollars because I was riding the sky train using my girlfriends Upass. The officer took the pass away and ticketed me - he used the information on my drivers license to write the ticket. Would it still be safe not to pay the ticket? I don't want to waste 173 dollars...

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By
on March 27, 2012
Non sequitur The conclusion of your article does not follow from the rest of the article. The $173 is a provincial fine - as you state. The lack of collection of that fine is due to the Province of BC not running the provincial court system properly. In fact it has not been for many years, but the last eight years have seen a steady policy of reduction of court services due to BC Liberal policy to cut "costs". Translink can do nothing about that, and anyway even if the fines were collected would not see any revenue, but might see some improvement in fare compliance. Most people pay the fare. The few who don't mostly enjoy gaming the system. Ordinary people caught without the proper fare are embarrassed and will pay up willingly. What is needed is not an audit but a Penalty Fare system. That is what most European public transport has been doing for years. But BC thinks that it is special and refuses to learn from the experience of others. And what do you think this audit will find that the last three didn't? The audit is a waste of money.

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By
on March 28, 2012

People said the BC Hydro audit was also a waste, and then it turned that corporation on its ear. The TransLink one will too.

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By
on July 20, 2012
Great! I moved here from Ontario about a year and a half ago, and was promised a job upon my arrival. Sadly that didn't quite work out. So I spent 8 months actively looking for work, and naturally could not afford to pay my way to interviews and resume handouts and all that jazz. Throughout that time, luckily I only received 2 fare evasion tickets. I've been trying to budget to pay for it, but no one has pursued me to pay it or even asked me for my proof of purchase since!(aside from bus drivers) so I figure: what's the point?

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