TransLink bus drivers deny students free ride
TransLink promised students a free ride during International Walk to School Week
Some Metro Vancouver bus drivers are refusing to honour TransLink's promise of free rides for students as part of the annual International Walk to School Week, some parents say.
According to the TransLink website any student between grades one and 12 with a valid Go Card should be able to get on buses, trains and SeaBuses for free from Oct. 8 -12.
But North Vancouver mother Anna Coffin say it's been more like Talk to School Week for her son, as he has tried to convince drivers that he should be riding for free.
Coffin says her son and his friends have been made to pay four or five times because the drivers apparently haven't been told about the promotion.
"It's really disappointing," said Coffin. "Many of the other kids are getting on and asking to not pay, and the bus drivers have insisted that they pay."
Some of the bus drivers have even accused the teens of lying, she said.
"Some of them didn't even really know about the free bus rides this week. Some of them thought the kids were lying," said Coffin.
Coffin says her husband spoke to transit officials on Thursday night and was told there have been similar complaints from around the city.
One grade 8 student even wrote a letter to a local newspaper saying he was made to apologize in front of all the other passengers. Winfield Chen says the driver told him that she would drive right by him if he ever pulled a fast one again.
TransLink spokesman Derek Zabel admitted they had been unable to inform all of their bus drivers about the free fares.
"There's obviously some major challenges in communicating this to over 3,000 bus drivers," he said.
"These are unfortunate incidents and they shouldn't have happened. It does appear these occurences are a minority amongst the thousands of students that we've already transported this week as part of the committment that TransLink made in 2007 to support iwalk," he said.