City wants to end free rides for the WCE-bound

With no reciprocal discounts from Translink, council thinks bus freebie is unfair

The West Coast Express commuter train.

The West Coast Express commuter train.

By Laura Rodgers, Abbotsford News

The City of Abbotsford’s council wants to end a long-standing program offering free transit to West Coast Express-bound riders because they don’t think TransLink is holding up its side of the bargain.

In the past, riders of the West Coast Express commuter train from Mission to Vancouver would receive a discount on their ticket if they held a valid Central Fraser Valley transit pass. Similarly, riders with a monthly West Coast Express pass could take Central Fraser Valley buses to the train’s station for free.

But TransLink has switched all of its vehicles, including the West Coast Express, to using the Compass electronic fare card. The Metro Vancouver transit authority longer offers discounted West Coast Express tickets to Central Fraser Valley bus pass holders. And since the train no longer takes stand-alone tickets, Central Fraser Valley bus drivers must take Compass Card holders at their word that they’re travelling to the West Coast Express a process some Abbotsford councillors say is ripe for abuse.

At a meeting on Sept. 14, Abbotsford’s council voted to support axing the free fares for West Coast Express-bound riders. Central Fraser Valley Transit, which provides bus service to Abbotsford, Mission, Hatzic and Aldergrove, is run as a partnership between local municipal governments and BC Transit, a Crown corporation.