The Vancouver Observer has an excellent piece today on transit and the homeless. It seems that Vancouver’s transit operators are remarkably compassionate compared to those in other cities. I travel on the bus almost every day and I see them let indigent folks travel without paying all the time. Good thing.
In an urban culture like ours, public transportation is an essential service. I’m pretty sure I’ve written here before that I believe strongly in a no-fare transit system for that very reason; if I haven’t I should have. It’s a regional service and the current fare revenue could be easily paid for with a miniscule regional sales tax. I bet that a quarter of 1% would be more than enough.
Of course, with the new Compass card we are going in the opposite direction, making public transportation ever more difficult for those who need it the most. As the Observer article says about faregates on SkyTrain, someone with no money “cannot negotiate or argue with a robot.”
This is just wrong and we need to figure it out fast.