My authentic Surrey experience with TransLink’s new budget
By Greg Waldock, Staff Writer
We’ve all heard the rumours of TransLink’s new budgets, buses, and schedules. I’ll admit it: I was afraid. What would happen to the grungy old bus seats from the 1980s? How could I sleep at night knowing my train would not suddenly stop 37 times just outside of Scott Road station for endless maintenance? I didn’t know what to expect. TransLink is entering a brave new world, and we’re just coming along for the overcrowded ride.
But I have good news, dear reader: My bus was ten minutes late this morning. So was the bus after that. Three active buses and one Not in Service suddenly appeared like a comforting cup of morning coffee. Everything was the same as before, and it was all I ever wanted. The homeless man blocking the exit with a bag of smelly recycling, the two crying babies at the front, the jackass blaring loud music without headphones… mornings on the Surrey buses are still as magical as ever.
I’d heard the trains were going to run more often from King George Station, and that old trains would be replaced with new ones. This was terrifying to me. I’d never feel comfortable going over the Fraser River unless I could also step over a river of either old soda or old pee—hard to tell sometimes—on my way to my seat. The sleek new trains just don’t have that “we promise Surrey Central isn’t still Whalley” charm. Well, this is the second bit of good news: It’s just as gross as ever. That morning, I discovered the new SkyTrains already have comforting piles of old newspapers underneath the corner seats, maintenance at Scott Road every single night is set to continue for the next year, and people are still blocking the doors with huge bikes! What a relief.
Arriving at New Westminster station, I carefully avoided the yelling people and Red Cross petitioners. This station held my greatest fear regarding the change; that the huge buses going vertical up the big hill would suddenly be safer, slower, and actually have functional breaks. I’m glad I was wrong, yet again. All the most dangerous buses were replaced with new double-deckers! When they hit the sharp corner down, they majestically tipped and rolled; all while the pedestrian light was on, of course.
This was an emotional day for me, my friends. I was scared that my commute to school would suddenly be punctual and clean, that I could reliably make it home at night without wondering if the trains stopped early for cleaning. I even got myself thinking that the 502 from Surrey Central might actually show up at the station on time. Thank God I was wrong. TransLink is back and better than ever.