The latest in TransLink related issues
By Mercedes Deutscher, News Editor
As of late, a plethora of TransLink-related problems have risen, leaving passengers, TransLink staff, and the government scrambling.
Compass fare gates started closing on April 4 and will continue to do so until the end of the week, but their list of problems hasn’t.
The closure of the gates means that those who have not received their card yet are scrambling to get them. Long lineup have formed at the Compass Customer Support Centre, located at Stadium-Chinatown Station, with wait-times often exceeding 45 minutes. Many have required assistance in obtaining a card, while others need to exchange old forms of fare, such as FareSavers, into digital form.
Only days prior to the closures, a system-wide glitch in the gates caused them to close and not open with the tap of a card. The incident was reportedly caused by staff. Staff members in the stations were needed to open the gates to allow passengers to exit and enter the stations. While the incident may have led to some humourous quips on social media, such as #Gategate, it left others concerned that TransLink may have made the call too early to close all of the gates.
“We can assure our customers that we are confident that the Compass system is working and that we are still ready to begin full gate closures,” TransLink said in a statement.
As well, the closed gates will make for more difficulty getting through. Many unfortunate passengers have had the gates close on them while passing through them. Those who are elderly, disabled, or have a stroller may require further assistance with going through the gates.
However, prematurely closing fare gates remain the lesser of disabled passengers’ concerns.
A recent decision by the BC government will drastically increase the prices paid for the disabled bus pass. Previously, the pass cost $45 annually to people on disability, and was available for anyone to obtain, although it was paid for either way. With the new change, the pass will cost about $52 per month, which will be deducted from disability cheques from those who specifically chose to use the pass. In addition, the government will be adding $77 per month onto the cheques.
“The bus pass is still available,” Michelle Stilwell, BC Social Assistance Minister, told the Vancouver Sun. “The only difference is government paid it directly for them, now they will pay if they choose to have the bus pass.”
Yet BC NDP leader John Horgan has been outspoken on the issue in the legislative question periods.
Horgan said in question period, according to the Vancouver Sun: “I want to plead with the Minister of Social Development, listen to the people you’re supposed to represent, not the spin doctors back at public affairs, and restore the bus pass for the most vulnerable people in BC.”