TripEd: a common sense fare solution

Three happy riders on the TripEd campaign bus.

Three happy riders on the TripEd campaign bus.

When city librarian Shula Leonard noticed that elementary school classes were no longer dropping in because transit fares were too high, she turned anger into action. The result is TripEd, a grassroots campaign demanding that Translink create a $10 transit pass for use by schools and others in off-peak hours.

It sounds like a no-brainer: it creates new revenue for Translink, supports public education, requires little or no extra service. So far, though, Translink won’t bite.

At the May 15 official launch of TripEd at the Vancouver Children’s Festival, Leonard had the support of Vancouver School Board Chair Patti Bacchus and Mayor Gregor Robertson — I was on hand to bring greetings from council — as well as legendary children’s entertainer Fred Penner and more than 40 parents and their kids.

With Translink’s current fare structure, a simple outing can cost $100 for transit alone. Private bus rental is an unrealistic alternative. Often equally-expensive, private buses can also be very unreliable. The day of the TripEd launch, four classes found themselves stranded at the Children’s Festival for hours when their rental buses returned hours later than scheduled.

Look for TripEd to join U-Pass as a new feature of Translink’s fare structure.