Why do people hate transit and is there a way to solve it?
By Aaron Guillen, Contributor
Ah, transit: the common source of hate for many college students. As a hot topic in the news, TransLink regularly receives commuter complaints which vary from having a bus pass them at a stop to late SkyTrain departures.
Recently, I asked my friends about their memorable experiences aboard a bus, SkyTrain, or SeaBus. Many commented about rude bus drivers who turn away customers that cannot pay an additional dollar to add fare. Others talked about the need for more buses during peak hours and air conditioning in crowded places. The most disturbing one I heard about was of a man who was uncontrollably drunk while walking between the rails of Surrey Central and Gateway Station. The operators had to stop the train and allow him to get on board only to find out he “needed to get to Saskatchewan.” Go figure.
All of these occurrences make TransLink look like the bad guy. Ironically, sometimes the passengers might be the bad guys. Last year, TransLink released a flurry of campaign posters targeting transit pet peeves. From Blocking Bunny to Chatty Chihuahua, riders were able to voice their concerns to each other in a satirical form. It was a clever way to help fellow riders realize the impact that they make to those around them while taking transit.
While riders were able to voice their frustrations towards each other, the perfect situation arose for the public to send their message to TransLink, loud and clear. If you recall, this past May revealed not-so-shocking results: 61.7 per cent of the public voted No to the transit referendum. The proposal promised transit, biking, and road upgrades with a price tag of an additional 0.5 per cent tax hike across Metro Vancouver. As we delve deeper into this investigation, we can only find unreliability and mistrust at its root. Unfortunately, TransLink hasn’t been able to fix their problem, but they are making an effort to ease the tension by eliminating zones on all bus fares. Starting October 5, buses will be one zone, all day, every single day.
I understand the issues that Metro Vancouver residents are facing today, but maybe we need to evaluate our level of expectation of TransLink in order to arrive at favourable outcomes. Let’s get a conversation started. Tweet your opinions with #TransLinkTalk on Twitter!