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TransLink hires bill collectors for unpaid fines

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – If you haven’t paid your fine for riding transit without a ticket, you might want to check on your credit rating.

TransLink has hired collections agencies to go after people who owe them money.

Information on about 5,600 fare evaders who haven’t paid their fines has been sent to bill collectors. Derek Zabel with TransLink says they were caught between early September, when new legislation was introduced that allows TransLink to go after people with outstanding fines, and mid-December.

“Bill 51 wasn’t designed as a revenue stream for TransLink,” Zabel tells News1130.

“We don’t want to have millions of people getting tickets so that we can collect millions of dollars. It was designed to get people to pay their fare. [From] September, 2011 to the end of December, 2011 compared to September, 2012 to the end of December, 2012… we’ve [had] 200,000 more checks and we wrote 2,000 fewer tickets.”

The legislation also allows TransLink to ask ICBC not to renew driver’s licences and insurance for people who haven’t paid their fines.

More than 580 drivers were flagged in about a month after the new rules kicked in.

“There are some pretty stiff consequences that are out there,” says Zabel. “Of course, fare gates will be coming into effect in the fall.”

The legislation was introduced after it was revealed about $7.5 million in fines went unpaid over a 14-month period that ended last March.