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TransLink toughens up on fare cheats

Sep 04 2012

Big changes begin today for Greater Vancouver's transit users when a get-tough law targeting TransLink's fare evaders goes into effect.

The South Coast B.C. Transportation Authority Act (Bill 51), which was introduced in May, allows TransLink to take over responsibility for issuing fare infraction tickets, collecting fines and implementing dispute and appeal processes.

TransLink spokesman Drew Snider said the bill finally allows them to get tough on fare cheats. He also said as of today, the transit authority plans to do random fare checks at locations throughout Greater Vancouver.

Translink will use social media websites to announce what SkyTrain or bus stations will have fare checks, Snider said.

And while they will announce which SkyTrain or bus stations they will be checking, Snider points out they could also be checking another spot without letting anyone know.

The intent of the fare-check campaign is to remind people to purchase a ticket before they get on a bus or SkyTrain, said Snider.

Fines will rise to $273 from an initial $173 if unpaid after a year.

ICBC can also choose not to renew driver's licences and car insurance, should fines not be paid.

Snider said TransLink loses a lot of revenue from fare evaders. "We estimate fare evasion at $18 million a year," he said. "That could buy a lot of buses and improve services," he said.

TransLink has started a slow implementation of fare gates and Snider said a number of stations will be up and running by next summer.

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