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What you should know about breaking the rules on Vancouver public transit

If you get into a sticky situation with Translink, this might come in handy.

Translink, Vancouver’s public transit provider, is a huge part in many people’s lives in British Columbia’s lower mainland. Translink is how they get to work, school, or anywhere else, operating 237 bus routes, 53 Skytrain stations, and 2 ferries and a rail line–the West Coast Express.

They need lots of rules and regulations in order to operate this system and when people break these rules there are consequences. Here’s what you need to know if you ever happen to find yourself in a sticky situation with Translink.

First of all, while taking public transit you should familiarize yourself with proper etiquette. For instance, putting your feet on a seat beside you or in front of you is legal but its not seen as proper. Another example of improper etiquette is not letting the elderly sit in the priority seating. Some of them can’t even walk without a walking aid, so when you see an elderly person giving up your seat would be the best thing to do. 

Some things are plain out illegal like drinking beer, but some people try to hide it by cutting out the top of a soda can and sliding it over the beer can so then it looks like a Pepsi. I’ve seen people do worse things on the bus, but maybe the less said about that the better.

People that don’t pay and just sneak behind people at the Skytrain station or on the bus could be given tickets by Transit Police and Transit Security. At Skytrain stations are Transit Supervisors (always in uniform) who can alert the transit police or security.

Notably, if you’re caught without proof of payment in a Fare Paid Zone, the fine is $173. In addition there are further penalties if you don’t pay the fine after a certain amount of days. If you believe that you are not guilty, you have 14 days to dispute your ticket. However, if you don’t agree with the final decision you have 30 days to refer the decision to the Provincial Court for review under bill 51 section 257. If it is still unpaid after 180 days, your fine will go up by $40. After 366 days, your fine will go up by another $60. 

Yet, the most bizzare penalty for refusing to pay a transit fine is that you may not be able to renew your driver’s license. What does public transit have to do with a driver’s license you may wonder. When I asked Translink about the drivers licence renewal they did not answer directly but merely directed me to their FAQ page.  

Public transportation for many people is the only mode of transportation they have. But when you get a ticket it is not the end of the world as there is always a chance that you might get it thrown out if you are a first time offender. 

If you want your transit ride to go as smoothly as possible, it’s actually pretty simple: just pay the fare and be polite.

Image: Wikipedia commons/Exp691

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