A Ticket to Ride

Authority TransLink (South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority)

Mark could not show his transit pass when the fare inspector arrived and received a $173 fine.

Mark had autism and other disabilities: he was chronically forgetful. Mark had a monthly transit pass – he just did not remember it that day.

After disputing the fine unsuccessfully with TransLink, Mark’s father contacted us. About the same time, we received a similar complaint, involving Will, a young man who suffered from a childhood brain injury. Will’s mother had also appealed the decision. Like Mark’s father, she submitted evidence showing that her son’s forgetfulness was linked to his disability. She also submitted proof that Will had a valid transit pass.

In both cases the adjudicators hearing the appeals accepted the evidence put forward, but maintained they did not have discretion to cancel the ticket.

We investigated both complaints concurrently.

After confirming the facts of the cases and reviewing TransLink’s enabling legislation, we asked TransLink about the need to apply discretion in cases like these. TransLink was concerned about the challenges a fare inspector would face trying to assess whether a person had a disability that would limit his or her ability to remember to carry a valid pass.

Consequently, we discussed allowing discretion at the appeals stage, where medical and other contributing information could be duly considered. We also proposed Will’s and Mark’s cases be reconsidered. TransLink agreed, reconsidered Mark’s and Will’s cases, and forgave their fines. Additionally, TransLink decided to review
and amend its procedures based on these two cases.

The two families were pleased with the outcome of their complaints – Mark and Will could each look forward to their next trip on the Skytrain.

Category Driving and Transportation
Type Case Summary
Fiscal Year 2015
Location City of Vancouver