TRANSLINK bus drivers pressed a special button in their coaches to record a “fare not paid” more than 2.76 million times in 2013, according to documents released on Tuesday by the No TransLink Tax campaign. The information was obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) through a Freedom of Information request.
“These bus drivers should be checked for carpal tunnel syndrome from having to repeatedly push that fare evasion button,” said No TransLink Tax spokesperson and CTF B.C. Director Jordan Bateman. “TransLink executives have turned a blind eye to millions of fare cheats, causing unnecessary financial grief for honest riders and taxpayers.”
The 2,762,363 “fare not paid” button pushes do not include fare evasion on SkyTrain, West Coast Express, SeaBus, or the West Vancouver blue bus network. Further, many bus drivers have previously told media outlets they have stopped pressing the button as “there are so many freeloaders and TransLink doesn’t do anything about it.” The buttons were pushed 2.5 million times in 2011.
“If only TransLink had managed the Compass card and fare gate rollout properly, we’d have a better system to measure and prevent fare evasion,” said Bateman. “Instead, thanks to TransLink’s incompetence, Compass is three years late and at least $25 million over budget. There have been open fare gates sitting at SkyTrain stations for two-and-a-half years already – while cheats keep riding for free.”
The No TransLink Tax campaign is fighting for a No vote in this spring’s TransLink plebiscite.
“TransLink can’t properly manage the system they already have – they certainly can’t be trusted with another $7.5 billion of our money,” said Bateman. “Fare evasion and poor management of Compass cards are just two more reasons why people should vote no.”