TransLink – Extremely User Unfriendly
As Zwei has said before TransLink and its SkyTrain mini-metro system is extremely user unfriendly.
The current fare regimen is fraught with complications and contradictions, people make mistakes, yet TransLink seems unable or unwilling to fix it.
IT IS A HELL OF A WAY TO RUN A TRANSIT SYSTEM.
TransLink may boast of more fares being collected, but it still costs more to operate the fare gate system than money collected, plus it adds a lot of ill will with transit customers.
This sort of nonsense could have been avoided if a simple fare system was used, with regular inspections by a conductor.
More than 30,000 SkyTrain riders were forced to purchase “exit tickets” during the first five months of the updated fare gates system, netting TransLink as much as $200,000 in extra revenue. Passengers who let tickets expire, lose them, purchase insufficient fare to reach their destination, or fail to buy one at the start of the trip are required to buy a ticket from TransLink machines before they exit SkyTrain stations. During prime time the exit ticket costs the equivalent of a three-zone fare — or $5.50 (half that during non-peak hours), no matter how far the rider travelled. Scott Martin and Corey Daviduk of Maple Ridge discovered that the hard way. They boarded at the new Coquitlam station with a one-zone ticket when they should have paid more. As a result they had to purchase an exit ticket before the gates would let them out when they reached Waterfront Station. Her brother and his friend ended up paying $2.75 (for one zone) plus $5.50 (three-zone exit fare), or a total of $8.25 for a one-way trip. “I told them it would be cheaper just to buy a day pass,” said Daviduk’s sister, Isabella Daviduk, who bought the $9.75 pass that was good for unlimited travel the entire day. “It’s kind of stupid,” said Corey Daviduk. “I honestly didn’t know.” Since the new fare gates went into operation, 33,883 riders — about 221 a day on average — have had to buy exit tickets, according to TransLink. Based on that number of riders, TransLink would have collected between $93,000 and $186,000 in revenue from the tickets, depending on whether those riders travelled in peak or non-peak hours. “The number of exit tickets sold has not come as a surprise to us — and it is not excessive,” said TransLink spokesman Chris Bryan. There were 6,000 exit tickets purchased in October out of 11.8 million boardings on SkyTrain that month, Bryan said. That works out to .05 per cent of all boardings, or a couple hundred a day out of 450,000 average boardings each weekday, he said. The station with the highest number of exit tickets sold was Waterfront, at 3,194 tickets over the five months, or almost 21 a day. That station also recorded the highest one-month total (August) of 795 exit tickets sold. The least amount of exit tickets sold were at Sea Island station near Vancouver airport on the Canada Line, with a total of 65 for the five months, or about one every two days. At almost all stations, the greatest number of exit tickets were purchased in August, the first full month of the new closed-gate system. The number of exit tickets over five months exceeded the 24,118 tickets issued for fare infractions from January to November 2016, according to TransLink. In 2015, there were about 31,000 fare evasion tickets issued. Tickets with $173 fines are issued to riders who can’t produce a valid fare when checked by Transit Police. Fare evasion tickets dropped 25 per cent after the gates were first closed in early 2016, even before full closure of the gates, compared to the same period in 2015, according to Transit Police. And revenues were up almost eight per cent between April, when the fare gates were first closed or partially closed, and December, over the same period in 2015, said Bryan. That translated into $29 million in additional revenues.