Category Archives: Transit

Why People Hate the Translink Police

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Replace “driver” with Translink cop.

I had a hard time reading all the way through this article, the one about Translink cops terrorizing bus passengers on Friday night.

I also had a hard time reading about the two Translink cops found guilty of assault on Friday.

I’m sure it was just a coincidence that they both happened on Friday.

And I find it astonishing that Neil Dubord, the head of the Translink police [or his social media lackeys] would choose to follow my largely apolitical personal Twitter account [unless he also likes Pink Floyd and the Baltimore Orioles].

Also on Friday. More coincidence. Maybe he expected me to weigh in on why people hate his Translink cops. So here goes. Spoiler: it’s because some of them like to assault, bully and terrorize people, over $2.75.

So more broadly, why do people hate the Translink police?

When they cease to be public servants and peace keepers and begin to be terrorists.

In the post-9/11 world when a “democratic” [sic] government in Canada can pass, let alone introduce the fascist Bill C-51, which erodes our constitution, we are all, clearly, far more tolerant of totalitarianism among our authorities.

And let’s not pretend that this is just a problem with America, highlighted with the #BlackLivesMatter instances.

Why do cops assault and beat people?

  1. Those that do may get off on it, the power trip.
  2. They are racists, bigots or violently unhappy people with a desire to destroy others lives.
  3. They are bullies and seek a job that lets them be bullies.
  4. They have a sense of entitlement.
  5. They feel they are immune from the laws that apply to the rest of us in a civilization.
  6. They are rageful, violent people needing to beat up the weak and vulnerable.
  7. They are sociopaths or psychopaths.
  8. They are addicts and not in control of their faculties.
  9. Body armour and guns [and maybe some day dogs too!] make them feel special/powerful.
  10. More ideas?

Do you remember several years ago when someone thought it was a good idea to give guns to Skytrain cops? Largely to enforce $2.75 fares and $173 fare evasion tickets? But really, it’s to shoot the bad guys.

Do you remember someone decided that Translink cops in their cars could enforce a variety of laws far away from transit services? The police and RCMP are contracted to municipalities where there is civilian oversight. The Translink cops are accountable to Translink, which is a puppet of the BC government, which has been staunchly anti-accountable for virtually all of this century.

And remember when someone thought it was a good idea as well to give Skytrain cops attack dogs to hunt down the fare evaders, or sorry, bad guys? Thank all the people who lit their hair on fire about this egregious piece of lunacy; it never happened. But maybe now it will because now, if you are poor and you ask a bus driver for a free ride, and the Translink cops with their guns get on your bus for a fare check, they may beat you up, because of the $2.75 you didn’t have to pay, and because of the $173 fine they believe they are entitled to charge you, and because of the 9+ reasons above.

Then you might see Translink trotting out this terrorism justification bullshit again [emphasis is mine]:

You just have look around the world to see what is taking place and what has been targeted to see what could happen. We already see the dogs in use right here at the airport. I have not heard any protest to that. We move close to 72 million people a year, we owe it to them to do the utmost to protect them.

But when people don’t trust the violent, rageful Translink cops, why would we want them unleashing dogs on us, or the poor, or dude who literally lost his faresaver? What kind of society do we want to live in, anyway?

So, read this careful:

When the driver allows someone to have a free ride, they are not a fare evader. They do not deserve to be taken down on the concrete.

Honk if you agree.

People ask for free rides because they are poor. Many who are poor don’t ask; many who aren’t poor, do. Drivers, I expect, have been given permission to allow free rides to avoid confrontations and escalations, particularly with people who may be dangerous, which is not synonymous with the poor. Seriously, which bus driver wants to escalate and possibly get attacked over $2.75?

So if a transit employee allows someone to get a free ride, why should another transit employee get to beat them up for that.

That’s called a mindfuck. It’s not OK. But why does it happen? See the 9+ reasons above.

And if you’re wondering about one particular reason why a lot of people didn’t vote or voted no in the Translink funding blackmail referendum, it’s because a lot of people think the Translink cops are violent thugs, looking for excuses to bully and attack people.

It’s just that lots of people don’t feel comfortable coming right out and saying that’s why they don’t want to give Translink more money. Even if it’s supposed to go to “good” things, people fear the back door police state will expand with more money. After all, how much do Translink cops make, anyway…all to enforce $2.75 fares? Dozens of them make over $100,000/year.

And before you go all “not all Translink cops are fascist bullies” on me, read about #NotAllMen and save your stupid comments to yourself. I won’t post them here. Life is too short for that; get a grip.

Where is the sense of compassion, dignity and public service these days?

Where are all the Translink cops who believe in protecting, not demeaning the public? And why do they tolerate their peers ruining their reputation?

Who told the Translink cops that a $2.75 fare and a $173 ticket were entitlements to treat other human beings like less than people?

Transit should be free, for these reasons. But it’s not. Yet. And it’s the lifeline for lots of economically struggling and marginalized people. Must it also be a place of dehumanization by our civil authorities themselves?

If the Translink organization is wondering why people hate them, it isn’t just because of Skytrain or escalator breakdowns, or buses that pass us by because they’re full. In the rain. In winter.

In part, it’s because Translink employs cops who like to beat people up. And sensible people think that’s bad, a crime and corrupt.

No one wants to be terrorized on transit. Especially by the police themselves.

Translink is known for crappy note taking and accusations of falsifying evidence, and sometimes has less than reliable recording cameras on vehicles, which makes them all look like a corrupt, dodgy, amateur police force.

So we should take a page out of the #BlackLivesMatter handbook: video record every time you see a Translink cop encounter a person. Every time! Even if nothing illegal or disrespectful happens, make them know that we are all recording them.

All. The. Time. I’m not kidding.

Since they don’t all believe they are servants of the public and keepers of the police, let’s record them all with our smart phones because apparently, they need to learn that they are not above the law.

The So-Called Transit Referendum: Don’t Be Duped!

Mulgrew: Costly Transit police force takes taxpayers for a rideBy
Emily Griffiths

The Transit referendum “Yes” campaign has been asserting itself all over Facebook, Twitter, neighbourhood news boxes, and I can’t help but ask myself, Since when is increasing a flat tax a leftist thing to do?

Oh! The word “transit” has been attached to the newest proposed consumer flat tax increase, therefore rendering it “left” and “sustainable”. Have we forgotten that the poorest members of our community are already shelling out $91-$170/ month just to be able to ride a crowded bus to work and back without risk of being detained by over zealous transit police (the only armed transit police in Canada)?

These transit thugs in bullet proof vests just love detaining non-white Lower Mainlanders, corroborating with Border Patrol, and imprisoning suspected immigrants. Heaven forbid one try to save some grocery money by risking the month without a bus pass. A lost profit of $2.75 for Translink can result in a $173 fine for the already struggling rider. Heaven forbid you speak English with an accent, for your fate could be much worse. (Read about Lucia Vega Jimenez).

In all this talk of “transit” improvements, where is the case for free transit? Instead, fellow “leftists” on our Twitter feeds are regurgitating Mayor’s Council propaganda to achieve an ongoing increase of our provincial sales tax. I’m not sure about every “leftist”, but I myself am not one to support Gregor Robertson and developer funded city council. Why would I trust the gash-grab excuses of the same folks who are destroying the DTES, China Town, and Grandview-Woodlands for unaffordable condo development?

Why would I trust that the Provincial Government, run by Christy Clark and made up of conservative “Liberals”, will funnel their new citizen-approved revenue stream into the promised area? I have heard more than my fair share of broken election promises. What makes the transit tax different? After all, there are no legal stipulations that this additional government income must indeed be invested in transit.

The “Yes” campaign rhetoric assures me that this cash will improve Skytrain infrastructure and increase bus service. Are we honestly expected to believe that the money Translink rakes in equals a benefit to transit riders? What about the $200+ million wasted on fare gates and Compass cards, an infrastructure that was already proven a failure in Chicago?

What about the salaries of transit cops? The minimum annual salary for a Transit Police officer is $75,000, with more than one third making over $100,000. What about the mere existence of transit cops? What about the salaries of Translink Officials? Translink CEO Ian Jarvis raked in $468,015 in 2013. Sure, this salary may be on par with other multimillion dollar corporation CEO’s, but should PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION really be rendered into a for-profit company?

I am confused as to why we are being asked to pay more money for transit. We already pay 12% provincial and general sales tax. What is this covering, if not basic infrastructure like transit, roads, and bikeways? I know some of it must go to other essentials like health care and education, but then why is our health system resorting to corporate sponsorship (#BellLetsTalk) or emotionally manipulative attempts at securing private donations (those tear jerker bus ads for Children’s Hospital), and why are schools being consistently underfunded, with ever increasing class sizes, less support for children with special needs, and teachers being bled dry when they try to stand up for their collective rights? If our tax money isn’t going to healthcare, education and infrastructure, where is it going? Perhaps it’s not more money our governments need, but better priorities.

And if it really is more money that our local and provincial governments need, why not lay off on all those corporate tax cuts (HootSuite, property developers) and we can get a little more money out of the multimillion dollar companies benefiting from the same infrastructural improvements that we residents will be. Doesn’t Telus need their employees to get to work? Doesn’t HootSuite want better bike lanes, to move employees and to enhance their green hipster branding? Won’t property developers be thrilled when new Skytrain stations pop up in Surrey, Guildford, Newton and Langley, providing perfect sites for new clusters of expensive glass high rises?

Our big corporate neighbours are all too keen on showing their sense of “community” and scoring the big tax breaks on their public philanthropy. What better way to show your dedication to the community than pay more taxes? Sadly, corporations don’t want to put their cash towards anything they can’t put their name on. Would Vancouver World of Science sound anywhere as good as Telus World of Science?

And what about income tax? There are residents of the lower mainland bringing in huge skrilla each year. Why can’t these folks contribute a little more towards the infrastructure that helps them get rich? A 0.5% increase of flat taxes hurts those earning $8,000/year a lot more than those earning upwards of $500,000. This is an old argument. It strikes me as incredibly odd that this criticism isn’t popping up more. Is Tax the Rich such an absurd slogan that no self-respecting politician will even mention it? What about any self-respecting “leftist”?

Emily Griffiths is a writer, performer, and child care worker, living on unceded Coast Salish Territories. Stay tuned for her upcoming book, Disney Dream Machine.

International Day of Action for Burnaby Mountain and ALL Land Defenders

Burnaby Mountain!

This is an international day of action, so check the event page to see what’s up in your town, for TOMORROW!

And if there’s nothing at your home, be the change!

Let’s consolidate our recent victories and continue moving public opinion to transitioning to the post-carbon energy infrastructure: wind, solar, tidal, geothermal, rail, transit, energy retrofits, solar roadways, ET3 hyperloop system.

 

via International Day of Action for Burnaby Mountain and ALL Land Defenders.