The story stated that “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.”
One of these incidents resulted in a student having to write a letter of apology for trying to ‘swindle’ the bus driver, and was told that if he ever tried it again, the driver would not stop. If I were this student, I might have wondered if I was being subjected to racism.
Really nice way to treat people.
I couldn’t help but think about the words ‘public transportation’, after seeing this story. They are similar to the words ‘public library’ – a place where anyone can go and borrow books for free, so long as they bring them back. Libraries are a place where the honour code still exists. But there are really no other places that work this way. Almost everything these days is based on money and credit, neither of which has anything to do with honour, integrity or actual credit: All of which are lacking in our society.
My question is: Why is public transportation not free for everyone? It is almost always the case that those who ride the bus do so out of necessity, not because they want to, so why are those who are already sacrificing the luxury of a car or taxi being punished with either higher fairs or harassment?
I don’t think what I am suggesting is that people should be given a ‘free ride’; rather, that what’s public is public, not private.
When I look deeper, I see another symptom of class warfare. Why do I see this? Because even as I write this, I know that those who don’t take the bus probably don’t care about the situation. $2.25 is no different that $3.25 to some, but to others, especially students, over a monthly period, it can mean the difference between going to school or not. Between being ‘there’ or nowhere at all.
Public transportation should be free!
Vancouver, BC Bus via Wikimedia Commons