News Local

TransLink rejects transit receipts

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver

Bobbi Voak with detailed receipt for a bus pass. (MICHAEL MUI/24 HOURS)

Bobbi Voak with detailed receipt for a bus pass. (MICHAEL MUI/24 HOURS)

Some in the most vulnerable population of the city feel they’re being unfairly harassed over transit fares — even if they’ve paid up.

Bobbi Voak has lost her $45 BC Bus Pass before, and knows to use her replacement receipt to board while waiting for the proper replacement — in this case, one of the early Compass Cards — to arrive.

That process takes weeks, and bus drivers have always waved her aboard when she uses transit during frequent trips to support services in downtown.

The receipt lists her name, date of purchase and that it’s for an annual bus pass.

But the attitude has changed in the past week, she said. Since purchasing a replacement on Aug. 12, Voak has been rejected five times from boarding despite having her receipt and photo ID.

“They want me to sit there and work off of bus tickets until my pass comes here,” said Voak, a low-income Vancouver resident.

“SkyTrain police came and told me that is not valid, they do not accept this, not even the receipt ... I cannot afford bus tickets, this is why I have a Compass Card.”

Kimberly Liesch, a volunteer at Positive Living BC where Voak visits for services, said she hears similar stories from others every day at work.

“They’re getting kicked off the bus and having to walk miles,” she said.

“Even if they don’t have all of the $2.50 for a transfer, the bus driver takes the money — but they’ll say if you don’t pay the full fare you don’t get a transfer.”

TransLink said in a statement that only valid fares are allowed — such as paper, magnetic stripe or Compass Cards — and deferred questions on the BC Bus Pass program to the provincial government.

The province’s BC Bus Pass page says passes can take two to four weeks to arrive, and provided an email and phone number if passes take longer to arrive.

Voak said she would like the receipts to count as valid interim fare media during that wait period.


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