Fare evaders

Tonight I was watching Global News at 6 and found myself getting pretty peeved at a story about Translink ticket enforcement.

(you can click here to watch the story since I can’t figure out how to embed it)

The story basically says that if you’re caught riding transit without your pass or a ticket you will be fined. Once you’re fined there is absolutely no reason for you to pay the $173 fine. There is no collections agency coming for the money and it’s not affecting your drivers license or insurance privileges. Of the 53,000 tickets handed out last year, 45,500 went unpaid. That’s almost 86%!! Global also says that this has cause $7,871,500 in lost revenue last year.

I’ve always been led to believe that not paying these tickets would go against your credit score, so I pay my transit fares to avoid the hefty fine. But after seeing this story it begs the question, why the hell am I paying? Fares are going up all the time to pay for these lost revenues, surely making people pay these fees could make a dent in Translink’s debt. As Global says, they’re “bleeding cash in fare evasions” and the need for more money is not only leading to higher fares and car insurance, but (possibly) higher property taxes.

There doesn’t even seem to be a solution in sight. Translink claims it’s not their responsibility but the responsibility of the province to collect. The government claims to have never heard of this before but promises to fix it (Ha!).

The story talks of possibly hiring a collections agency or banning repeat offenders (how the hell will that be enforced? Seems easier just to collect the fine), but it sounds to me that they’re just waiting on the new fare gates to solve the problem.

Until then, they’ll just continue to lose millions of dollars.

So here’s my plan… I’m not paying. At least on the skytrain where my fare isn’t checked on a regular basis. Until I hear that it’s going to affect me in anyway, aside from a minor embarrassment when standing on the platform as the cop issues my “ticket”, why would I bother? Why even issue people tickets anymore? Isn’t it costing more to pay the officers? Even giving out a slip of paper that will just get tossed isn’t worth the cost to the province.

Anyone out there been fined and actually paid their ticket? What are your thoughts… will you stop paying or continue to pay (or not pay)?

What’s that? This blog still exists? Sure does. I’m not going to make excuses for our non-blogging. But I will say between L and I we have about 5 other blogs on the go so this one has fallen to the wayside. Sorry.

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Posted in Fare, illegal activities | 7 Comments

Free Transit!

Wow. We haven’t blogged since October 14th, sorry about that. At least the last post was about cute guys, so we got that going for us.

Hope everyone had a happy and healthy holiday season and will be celebrating the New Year in a fabulous way tonight.

And if you are celebrating the New Year with a few cocktails please remember that drinking and driving sucks and only losers do it.

To help prevent you from being a loser Translink is offering free transit tonight after 5pm until the end of service. Check out the Buzzer Blog for the hours for tonight.

So take advantage of the free service! Even if you’re not going out tonight just take a trip on the bus or Skytrain for fun to say you rode without paying (legally).

Have a happy and safe New Year everyone!

Posted in Events, Fare, Happy riding, Late Night, Service, Vancouver | Leave a comment

Transit Crush

Back in May 2008 I was taking a course that required I be there every morning at 9am. Amazingly I would catch the same b-line every morning that would get me to my downtown destination on time.

The fact that I caught the same bus on time each morning is not the point of the post, although it was quite the feat.

I used to catch this bus at Sasamat and every morning at McDonald the same guy would get on the bus. Then I’d need switch buses at Granville and he kept on down the line. This guy was very good looking and pretty soon I was obsessed with him. I’d text Lauren and marvel at the wonder that two people would consistently get on the same bus every day and it that it had to be fate. That the bus god’s, recognizing the hell they’d put me through, decided to give me this beautiful piece of eye candy each morning.

Sadly, I was too shy and wasn’t aware of proper bus flirting etiquette. Bus boy (the highly original name I had given him) and I never went beyond my ogling him on our short bus ride each morning. My class eventually ended and I never saw him again.

Except maybe once when I thought I saw him but chalked it up to a caffeine-deprived hallucination.

Sadly, I have no photos to remember him by. I was using a Motorola Razr back then and not only was the photo quality crappy, but also made that annoying clicking sound that let everyone know a photo was being taken and stalking impossible.

I bring this up because there’s an interesting blog out of New York that has amorous young women (and men) taking photo’s of their subway crushes and posting them to the site. You can find it here:

SubwayCrush.net

There are a lot of good-looking men in NYC. And I love the concept! It’s good for those stealthy enough to take the photos without others knowing, something I’m always too shy to do. I’m also more apt to take the photo of an ugly outfit or crazy action.

A sample of what you can find. Redheads have a special place in my heart

It could be seen as creepy or objectifying but I’d like to look at is as a major ego boost to the person posted on the site.

You can also find the London version at TubeCrush

Thoughts? Would you take photos of a good looking guy or gal you see on the bus and have it posted to a site?  Have any personal bus boy/girl crush stories you’d like to tell?

Posted in Happy riding, Other blogs/media, Riders | Leave a comment

Thoughts on the Translink’s mobile site

The Translink mobile site went live earlier this month and I’ve got some thoughts on it.

Overall, it’s a great addition to the ever-growing services that Translink provides us. While this may come off as a list of complaints, it’s not. Look at it more like a list of things that could be improved upon. This is a very new feature that I’m sure Translink is aware of the downfalls and is working on it’s improvements.

My biggest disappointment may be that it’s not an actual app, but a website for your mobile web (I hear it’s best on iPhone). Perhaps it was the newspaper articles that were writing it up this way, but I was hoping for it’s own little app. If it were an app maybe we could get GPS capacity? I don’t know much about apps and phones and their capabilities, but I would love if it could locate where I am and tell me which bus is closest to me.

How many times have you been at a corner and had 2 stops to choose from and you’re wondering which one to choose?

If they could locate you, then we’d have a better idea of where to go instead of my ever-present problem of watching the other bus pass by as I wait at the other stop.

Or what about when you’re trying to figure out when your bus is coming and you can’t remember the stop number?

The good people of Translink’s twitter account tell me that they’ll soon have the ability to save stops to your favorites, since right now only the Trip Planning feature can save to your favorites.

If there was a GPS capacity I like to think it could track us down, big brother style, and inform us which bus is coming next and where to grab it.

I’d be willing to pay a couple bucks for an app and it could help pay for the reported $793,000 price tag.

Instead I have to wait until I get to a bus stop, enter the number and watch all the buses that I’ve just missed.

If you haven’t given it a shot I’ll let you know that essentially what we’re working with here is the full Translink website, but in mobile form. The Trip Planning option both on the web and on mobile causes me headaches so I try to avoid it. I mean why does it never understand where I want to go? I usually enter a major landmark or Skytrain station for reference and it still gives me 10 options to choose from, none of which are where I want to go.  Translink has just enabled me to scream at my phone in public instead of my computer at home. I’m glad I get to share that with my fellow commuters.

Overall, I’m happy with the site but hope that it continues to be improved upon.  It works so much better than the old iPhone app, is far easier than trying to navigate the full website on my phone and will hopefully prove to be much more reliable than the text for the next bus system. I’ll just cross my fingers for a bit of big brother style GPS.

Because every girl needs a stalker.

What are your thoughts… love it? Hate it? What would you like to see changed or improved?

Posted in Bus, Bus Stops, Service | Leave a comment

A little bus stop DIY…

I’m pretty big in to making things, crafting and DIY (Do It Yourself) type projects, so naturally when I saw this brilliant idea for a DIY bus stop bench extension I just had to share.

For all of you who have ever lamented the lack of seating at bus stops in Vancouver – good news! Now, in three easy steps you can solve your bus stop seating woes forever!

How To: Create a Bigger Bus Stop Bench

DIY: Bus Stop Bench Extension

Step One: Obtain two plastic patio chairs. You can buy them, take them from the side of a road or drag them out of a back alley (which is most likely where the chairs in the example above came from)

Step Two: If you do drag the chairs out of an alley or take them from the side of the road, don’t bother cleaning them. The flecks of dirt and grime on the plastic will help the chairs blend in with the lovely wood grain finish of the existing bench (along with the garbage and cigarette butts under said bench)

Step Three: Place chairs alongside the bench that currently exists at the bus stop.

And there you go – your favourite local bus stop bench has been extended!

*A fun alternative for those who aren’t really ready to commit to something so permanent, is a genius little product commonly referred to as the Backpack Chair.

Posted in Bus Stops, The picture is the post | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

More San Franciscan treats

We’re easily amused. Here’s our discovery at one SF bus stop, seats that move up and down!

Enjoy as Lauren demonstrates

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It’s important to note that we thought of everyone as we did our photo-shoot.

Posted in Happy riding, Transit in other cities | Leave a comment

Tales from San Francisco: Cable Car Edition

The number one thing everyone suggested we do while in San Francisco was to take a
ride on the cable cars. As transit enthusiasts we had to give it a shot and report back.

It came highly recommended that we wait until the evening to take the cable cars,
partially because it’s pretty at night with the setting sun, but also because the line’s aren’t
as long.

We arrived at the Powell Street/ Fisherman’s Wharf cable car around 6pm and were faced
with a long line that the cable car guys said would take about 40 minutes before we were
at the front. Luckily we had a Starbucks nearby to get warm drinks and steal internet
from.

It did take longer than the 40 minute wait we were told to expect. We took comfort in the
fact that cable cars were sent away empty, just like our buses. It’s nice to know transit
can frustrate us everywhere and it’s these little things that make anywhere feel like home.

Cable cars allow you to sit down or stand on the edge of the car. When we got to the front
of the line we ran to the car to try and get our standing spots. Lauren’s dreams of standing
were thwarted when a family of 5 pushed her aside to get the spot she was eyeing. Yep,
cable car riders can be just as vicious as Translink riders.

So Lauren sat down while I stood on the edge, holding on for dear life. Or not. It’s not
a fast moving vehicle but it’s quite a cool look at the city as you’re rushing through it
at a speedy 9 miles per hour. The hills may have sped us up a little bit, enough to entice
numerous riders to go “wooooaaaaaaahhhhhh” like they were on some kind of Disney
ride.

To be honest, we almost skipped the cable car. We ended up going on what was one
of the coldest days we were there and we were already pretty tired from a big day of
sightseeing. Waiting in line and paying $6 wasn’t at the top of our list, but we figured we
should do it because cable cars and Alcatraz are all anyone talked about us visiting when
we asked for recommendations of things to do (didn’t do Alcatraz, tours were sold out).

Play it safe.

I’m quite happy we went on the cable car trip. It’s one of those stereotypical things to do
and I don’t think a trip would’ve been complete had we missed out on the two must-do
things in San Francisco.

Posted in Transit in other cities | Leave a comment