Running with the bulls

Initially announced in March of 2005 and implemented in December of 2005, The GVTA brought forth their new armed Constabulary which unlike their unarmed predecessors who had the status of peace officers yet they were ineffectual in enforcing the criminal code outside of Transit Property with their giant ticket/notepads and collapsible batons.

Since the new armed GVTA Police have been walking their beat, I’ve usually seen them flexing their authority in groups of two or more on Skytrain platforms and with a greater presence of numbers during high passenger volume periods such as Canucks games.

Inevitably, this has lead to those looking for a free ride to be more vigilant or more cautious. It is quite amusing to watch the cat and mouse game of a fare skipper nervously pacing back and forth between the conjoined cars on the Millennium Line Skytrain Cars made by Bombardier (Theoretically it’s much harder to break out on the older Expo Line Skytrain Cars with only two exit doors). And at every stop, the fare skipper will have their head and half of one foot out the door. Their eyes will be scanning left and right on the platform for any sign of trouble. Once the coast is clear and the doors shut and the train begins to move to the next station, the fare skipper relaxes slightly however still vigilant and edgy until the next stop.

Observing these behavioral patterns I’ve thought up of ways that fare skippers or the frugal can do to avoid playing this cat and mouse game:

1. Have yourself a damn good fake buspass. Though it sure is damn hard to reproduce that hologram on a colour photocopier

2. Hang out around the escalators by the stations, forgo your dignity and beg passer-bys for a spare transfer

3. Scour the ground for dropped transfers that are still valid

In my experience, if you want a cheap ride and come across some junkie who is trying to raise funds for their next fix by selling you a transfer, the best way to hustle down the cost is to inspect the ticket, then bitch about the paltry amount of time left and always carry loose change in your pocket. And always, always make sure that the transfer is valid for the zone you are traveling in.

After the junkie has presented their ridiculous selling price, lowball themby presenting them your pittance of dimes and nickels and feign “That’s all I got”. Almost always, the junkie will relent and take your pittance and, voila you got yourself a cheap ride. And Mr or Mrs Junkie has some funds for their next fix. Everybody wins.

1 Comment so far

  1. Richard (unregistered) on February 21st, 2006 @ 12:59 am

    It bugs me a little that some passes (U-Passes, Employer Passes) are non-transferrable, as are the tickets you get from the machine when paying with coins or using a FareSaver. The first two make at least a little sense, at least, since they have your photo on it, but Translink doesn’t otherwise justify why someone can’t borrow a pass so that someone can get somewhere. If a person has to work or attend class, why cheat their friend out of a ride to the store? Besides, monthly fare cards are transferrable, so why not equally unpersonalized FareSavers or regular ‘transfers’? If someone has a half-hour left on the thing, they should be able to let someone else use that half-hour. Why not create–or rather, legitimize–a small market in reselling about-to-expire tickets for a few cents?

    I’ve seen not the mouse’s side of the game, but saw the cat’s: the constables had their foot on the door, keeping the door open when the SkyTrain I was in signaled it was about to leave, until they communicated non-verbally something (possibly “nobody trying to make a hasty exit”?) meaning that they could step in and inspect fares.

    Now that I think about it, I’m not sure how I feel about someone with a gun checking to see that my papers are in order. I was fine with someone who could hand me a fine, but not as much with someone who has power of arrest.



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