Skytrain: Fare Control Zones – Do it Now!

Once again we read a series of articles in the papers regarding safety around some Skytrain stations. Ken Hardie, spokesperson for Skytrain, stated that in the case of these particular stations, the fact that they were situated in neighborhoods that were encountering crime issues, there was a carry over effect into the stations. This may very well be true. It could well be that Hardie’s statement is valid. One thing is sure, and that is that we have seen a litany of crime and safety issues associated with Skytrain and surrounding neighborhoods almost from the inception of the transportation system.
The rate of cheating has been estimated to be anywhere between four to ten percent. That is a pretty hefty rate. It will not pay for the expense of installing the fare control zones, but it will be a good start.
NDP critic, Adrian Dix had earlier called for the installation of the fare control zones. He was right in doing so. Now he is calling for increased security forces to ensure safety on the line.
There may be some political benefits for him to do so, but this time he’s got it wrong.
One consideration that is seldom figured in the financial analysis is the lost ridership experienced by Skytrain, particularly after 7:00 P.M. Many potential riders, particularly women, simply do not have the confidence and trust in the safety of the system to venture onto it after that time in the evening.
It is time to bite the bullet, and install security gates throughout the system. Do it now, before it gets even more expensive. This will virtually eliminate cheaters, it will increase ridership, offer a wider variety of passes and tickets, install machines to collect tickets as riders exit further reducing cheating, eliminate the need for more security personnel and police. Do all of these things and you will have a system that is much safer, more cost effective and significantly upgrades the level of service and public confidence in Skytrain. Do it now, stop the paralysis of analysis, in the long run it will be much appreciated by the current and potential users.
– C.C.

Post Script:
In reading the initial blog I realized I should do a better job of explaining the fare control system.
First, the station is enclosed with a perimeter wall, so that one must go through the turnstiles to enter and exit the system.
This enables the system to sell passes, tickets or entry based on a whole range of options. One can buy time based passes, or distance based passed or one time passes.
On entry to the system, the bar opens when a pass is inserted. The same procedure for exiting the system. At exiting, when the pass expires, or the distance purchased has been used up, the pass is not returned to the customer.
Riders can buy passes which best fit their needs.
It has been shown throughout the world that this system gives better choices for consumers, provides higher efficiency, increases security, and increase ridership and customer satisfaction.

5 thoughts on “Skytrain: Fare Control Zones – Do it Now!

  1. Amen brothers and sisters.
    Good analysis. You have shown that your organization has more grey matter than the Fudge City Bobbleheads: Wane-Rite and his brother Smith-rite ( the Pied Piper of waste disposal, Harper)
    Karaoke Kal, and those other two throw-ins Williams and Cote.
    Williams’ logic of late has truly been a treat. Talk about a vacuum. Cote is Long John Harper’s parrot. These five are the stars of the New West version of ‘Who Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’.

  2. I remember when skytrain first came to New Westminster. It was welcomed. The hope was that it would be the solution to revitalizing the downtown. Instead, it brought Honduran drug dealers. Mayor Sparks gave police a budget and authority to fix the problem and they did, and though the B.C. Civil Liberties complained about how New West’s finest dealt with those criminals, the citizens thought she was a hero. From that point on, to address safety and lawfulness, the physical design around the stations was discussed. Lights, open areas, access/exit points, turnstiles, low, well-maintained foliage, and other increased security measures were some of the things that were discussed then. In other words, it’s been a long time since we became aware of what should be done to improve safety and ridership and address fare-evasion, but after Mayor Sparks, Mayor Wright dropped the ball on the matter.

    Since Mayor Wright, skytrain safety discussions have ground to a halt and nothing substantive has been done about public safety issues. In fact, problems are on the rise and are frequently in the news headlines. Thank you for raising the issue again. It is past time that politicians refocus on the skytrain. Proactive solutions to these problems are needed now. Of course, first and foremost, the structural safety of the skytrain system must be verified. It was alarming to learn of the concrete chunks that are falling away from the rail supports, and still our Mayor and Council have yet to comment on that or advocate for our safety in any way, shape, or form. It is hard to imagine why this has happened, and with all of the well-documented existing problems, it is even more difficult to understand why they don’t respond. Really, what exactly would it take to make them WAKE UP!

  3. Yes, what is Mayor Wright’s position on skytrain regarding public safety and ridership? As Mayor of a city with three skytrain stations, and as Chair of the Police Board, he should be all over this.

    What will be done about those who don’t pay the fare and/or threaten the personal safety of commuters onboard the skytrain?

    Even more than that, what does the Mayor have to say about the crumbling skybridge and the structural integrity of the whole system?

    Why was nothing done to address the failing/falling concrete when they knew “for quite some time” that there was a problem?

    Mayor Wright was on the TransLink board for years but his sense of duty and accountability is seriously lacking. If directors are not liable for negligence to their office, they should be.

  4. To Anonymous – my child, you asked what it would take to wake up our Mayor and Council?

    Gazing into my crystal ball, I see, …I see an election on the horizon!

    Yes, …I see that Mayor Wright will speak out on the skytrain issue – and also on many of the other issues he has ignored for years.

    Indeed, he will sound strong, but alas, … his words will be as empty as his fudge store.

  5. To Frustrated New Westminster has 5 Skytrain stations not 3. They are 22nd Street, New Westminster, Columbia, Sapperton and Braid.

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