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DOUBLE TRANSIT FEE

Petition launched for ‘unfair’ transit policy 0

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver

Numerous TransLink riders flooded social media in outrage after it was revealed the Compass system wouldn’t accept cash bus transfers onto other modes of transit. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)

Numerous TransLink riders flooded social media in outrage after it was revealed the Compass system wouldn’t accept cash bus transfers onto other modes of transit. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)

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TransLink’s move to reject bus cash-fare transfers to SkyTrain in the Compass system has sparked an online petition and prompted a prominent Vancouver lawyer to call the policy “unfair.”

TransLink said it can’t afford the $25 million it would cost to upgrade its bus fare boxes so they distribute Compass-compatible cards when the system launches this fall.

That means cash users on a bus would pay twice to transfer to other modes of transit.

Social media was flooded on Wednesday with outrage at the policy, and a petition on change.org to eliminate this so-called “double transit fee” had reached about 450 signatories by Wednesday evening at press time.

But it’s unlikely customers appealing to B.C.’s Consumer Protection Act would get their money back, according to lawyer David Klein.

“It is an unfair practice, but it’s not something covered by that statute,” he said. “It reminds me of the situation at Vancouver airport, where if you go to buy a ticket for the Canada Line at one of the airport machines, it costs you more than it does anywhere else in the city.

“That practice takes unfair advantage of visitors to the city, but it’s not illegal.”

The move only affects cash-fare transfers from buses to other modes of transit. Users of Compass will be able to access all types of transit.

Tatiana Chabeaux-Smith, spokeswoman for Consumer Protection BC, agreed the act likely doesn’t offer any recourse for commuters.

“We recognize this situation could be frustrating for their consumers and consumers always have the right to take any issue to small claims courts,” she said.

“One of the first things I would suggest is to complain to the business.”

TransLink reiterated in a statement on Wednesday that the change only affects 6,000 daily riders.

“We are not unique in our approach. Many other transit systems around the world who we consulted with, including London and Paris, also don’t allow cash bus-to-rail transfers,” TransLink spokesman Derek Zabel said.

 

Find the Change.org petition here.

 

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