In the wake of a fare increase for transit in Greater Vancouver, the new Translink Board has decided to give themselves a big raise. They’ve increased the per-meeting fee from $200 to $1,200. Sources aren’t commenting on whether this is to compensate for the extra money it now takes to ride the bus and SkyTrain all the way out to North Surrey. However, it is meant to compensate the new group, made up of the target bus riding public of executives, accountants and engineers, for dedicating themselves solely “to making sure that they can provide the best transit advice possible,” according to Mike Harcourt, who chaired the advisory committee that approved the fees.

Well, Translink, you guys have got brass balls. In the last month, y’all have raised fares in every category (always telling us it for better service), announced billions of dollars of giant capital improvements, most of which have a) already been announced (Evergreen line) or b) won’t kick in anytime in the next ten years (Rapid buses) and c) already exist (twinning the Expo line? WTF?), and made me late and/or pissed off countless times.

It it were up to me, I’d give the whole whack of them $5 extra per meeting to ride transit to and from their meetings (and what would you like to bet it would the only time these people wade onto the proletariat chariot), and then perhaps we’d see some transit improvements, like buses that come on time, sensibly designed and plentiful bus shelters, handholds on SkyTrain, and security presence at ALL stations and bus exchanges, especially after dark.

Of course, I have no illusions that this band of nine also will be able to effect these kinds of changes no matter how deep their hands are in my pocket. So, I encourage you to visit We Ride and sign the call to action for better funding and political commitment from all levels of government to make better transit (and lower fares!) a reality in our smog-choked paradise by the sea.

I may be an idealist, but I think that riding the bus can actually be, well, pleasant. Sometimes the stars align to give you seamless transfers, non-annoying fellow passengers, good weather and happy bus drivers. And sometimes meteorites fall to the earth. You just have to get on the bus and take the chance.

I can’t wait until it’s bike riding weather again, actually.

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