Young woman experiences Vancouver bus fare nightmare

Haley Maccosham experienced a transit nightmare after being kicked off a Vancouver bus on Saturday night. Global News

When Haley Maccosham hopped on the bus in Vancouver on Saturday night she thought she was following the rules and paying the correct fare.

But Transit Security thought differently and kicked the 20-year-old Maccosham off the bus, just after 10 p.m. at Broadway and Granville, for fare evasion. She was then handed a $173 ticket and left alone with no money and no way to get home.

“I was a bit scared, I was in a dress and heels because I had just come from work,” Maccosham told Global News.

“My home was still far away so I started walking home, at 10 p.m., on Granville Street. I tried to call my parents and had to walk 20 minutes. I [don’t] know what I would have done [if my parents were unable to pick me up]. I had no money on me.”

Maccosham, who goes to school at McGill University in Montreal but is home for the summer, says she has been paying the $1.75 concession fare (a dollar less than a regular fare) for weeks.

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She was unaware out of province students don’t qualify for a fare discount and it was only for high school students.

When drivers asked Maccosham for her ID, she says she would show them her McGill student card, which was never a problem — until Saturday night.

On Saturday three transit security officers were doing fare checks and asked Maccosham for her ticket and then her student ID card. It was then the officers asked her to get off the bus.

“They said, ‘you are 20 and can’t be on with this discount’ because I don’t qualify,” Maccosham says.

She told them all she had was a toonie and couldn’t get home, but she says, the officers did not appear to care.

Maccosham understands she paid the wrong fee and was fined accordingly but she believes they should not kick people off the bus at night — especially young girls.

“I was trying to call people [to pick me up],” she says.

“I didn’t want to go back and ask the transit people for any help because they weren’t very helpful in the first place.”

In an emailed statement to Global News, TransLink noted Maccosham was born and raised in Vancouver and said:

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The fare officer’s notes indicate the woman produced a concession transfer and when asked her to produce a GoCard (which allows secondary students to pay a concession fare), she gave a McGill University Student Card.  She was given a fare infraction ticket.

Last year more than 25,000 tickets were handed out; which equates to $ 4.4 million.

In response to the young woman’s safety concerns, TransLink said, there is no indication that she was refused service, and normally people are not kicked off the bus at this time at night.

Maccosham says she will continue riding the bus to her summer job, and she’ll pay $2.75 instead of $1.75 but she’s hoping Transit Security guards will be more considerate of a woman’s safety.

~ with files from Catherine Urquhart