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TransLink identifies nearly 600 transit fare cheats

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – It didn’t take long for TransLink to round up hundreds of fare cheats who have outstanding fines.

In about a month, it has flagged 583 drivers and passed their information along to ICBC. Those drivers won’t be allowed to renew their licence or car insurance until they pay up.

“This new legislation came into effect back in September when TransLink took control of issuing transit fines and collecting and receiving those payments,” Adam Grossman with ICBC tells News1130.

“Just to clarify, the debt only comes to ICBC for a refuse to issue notice after 90 days and after the person has completed any dispute process.”

The province brought in the new rules after it was revealed last year that TransLink couldn’t force people to pay fines. It was up to ICBC to play the role of debt collector and it relied on collection agencies to track down fare cheaters.

As a result, roughly $7.5 million in tickets went unpaid between January, 2011 and March, 2012.

“In the past, when a ticket was issued, officers pointed out the ticket was required to be paid but the person being ticketed always had it in the back of their mind that there were no long-term consequences if they didn’t pay,” explains Anne Drennan with Transit Police.

“Now that these [rules] are in place, it’s easier for our officers to point out that if you don’t pay, you will have to face consequences,” she adds.

Derek Zabel with TransLink agrees that people will be less likely to try to sneak onto a SkyTrain, now that the new legislation has kicked in.

“It’s a pretty big deterrent,” he says. “A lot of people are out there paying into the system, and when people come on for free it’s not fair. This legislation makes it fair.”

Riding transit without a ticket results in a $173 fine that goes up to $233 if it hasn’t been paid within a year.

TransLink is also in the process of installing fare gates at SkyTrain and Canada Line stations. They will be up and running in the fall.