A Vancouver man is warning other cyclists about security at TransLink’s bike parkades after his new bicycle was stolen this week.
Victor Yin told Global News he bought the bike, a $400 black Devinci Tree on Monday — ironically to replace another bike that had recently been stolen.
That same day, he locked it to a bike rack inside TransLink’s bike parkade at the Main Street-Science World station.
When he returned on Wednesday, the lock was cut and the bike was gone. No one was willing to take responsibility for the theft, he told Global News.
“I immediately went over to Compass Card customer service in Chinatown, talked to a representative there who ultimately … said they couldn’t do anything and that I had to contact transit police because they weren’t responsible for the CCTV footage, and they also couldn’t review who had tapped in or accessed the bike parkade either,” he said.
“I contacted the transit police and their response was also quite dismissive, and they told me to contact whoever was in charge of the parkade security, a.k.a. TransLink, and I was like, ‘Well, they just told me to contact you guys.'”
TransLink operates 11 bike parkades across the transit system, which it describes as “day storage” facilities.
Users must sign up for the program to access them, and pay a dollar per day to a maximum of $8 per month for their use. The parkades are monitored by CCTV cameras, and users must be registered with the program to tap in with their Compass Cards and access the areas.
Yin said he was particularly frustrated because TransLink advertises surveillance cameras and the tap-in process as security features of the parkades.
“Why are we paying for this supposedly-secure bike parkade when nobody is able to access the CCTV or monitor who’s actually entering the parkade?” he asked.
“If you are truly committed to providing or encouraging bike use in the region, it would be best not to advertise these as safe and secure bike parking if there is no proper response or follow through.”
TransLink’s bike parkade website does include a disclaimer saying TransLink is not responsible for lost, stolen or damaged items.
Global News requested an interview with TransLink, but received a written statement instead.
Spokesperson Dan Mountain said the company was “sorry to hear about this person’s experience,” but acknowledged there is a problem with bike theft in the city.
“As for the bike parkades, they are for single-day use and using one is safer than locking your bike outside because they are locked, well-lit facilities that require Compass Cards to access,” he said.
TransLink referred questions about theft investigations to Metro Vancouver Transit Police.
After Global News reached out to police on Thursday, however, Yin said investigators contacted him and said they would contact the Coast Mountain Bus Company, which they told him were responsible for the security cameras.
In a statement late Friday, transit police confirmed they were investigating the theft.
“However, the significant amount of time from when Mr. Yin placed his bike in the parkade and when it was discovered to be stolen, will present an investigative challenge,” Const. Amanda Steed said in an email.
“Typically, when we request CCTV, we have a very specific window of time when we know that offence has occurred. Unfortunately, with very long time frames, it is often not feasible to obtain such a great quantity of data.”
Steed said police had seen an uptick in bike thefts in recent weeks and stepped up patrols. She also recommended people use a strong lock, record the serial number of their bike, and register it with Project 529.
Yin said the entire situation has left him disappointed and he’s since learned he’s not alone in his concerns.
“I posted about my bike in the Stolen Bikes Vancouver Facebook group, and I was actually quite troubled at how many other people had similar experiences of having their very expensive bikes locks sawed right through,” he said.
“You’re essentially just putting all these bikes in the open for people to take with no recourse whatsoever.”