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Opinion: I’m back to driving because Burnaby transit isn't safe. Good riddance, TransLink

Is TransLink doing enough to protect its customers?
transit assault
Metro Vancouver Transit Police are asking riders to report sexual assault and harassment on transit in next phase of anti-sex offence ad campaign.

I’m ashamed to say that I am now back in my car full-time for the foreseeable future after going to a 50-50 arrangement with transit options.

I say ashamed because I know that taking transit is better for the environment, but TransLink has made some decisions that I feel have compromised my safety.

I need my vehicle a lot for my work as journalist, but I had been testing out going to interviews by taking the bus. It took a lot longer riding a bus and SkyTrain, especially for some parts of the city, but I felt it was worth a try.

On weekends, my partner and I had also been taking the bus from on top of Burnaby Mountain down to SkyTrain and then taking the train into Vancouver for shopping.

But I just don’t feel safe. Neither does my partner.

For me, it’s the fact that TransLink decided to be a bunch of cowards and ditch the mandatory wearing of masks on all forms of transit, despite the urging of our provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. Yes, Henry lifted the mandates (she’s a coward too), but she also urged people to wear them.

TransLink could have kept the mandate. UBC has done so, but so many others have decided to take the easy route and this has cost them at least one customer.

It’s deeply uncomfortable to sit on SkyTrain and have nearly everyone around you not wearing a mask. Sorry, but I need to protect myself from COVID-19, even if the transit authority won’t help me.

As for my partner, well she also doesn’t feel safe without the mask mandate, but she has also experienced some safety issues with aggressive men harassing her. She doesn’t feel safe because there seem to be few transit staff around to protect riders. Having a number to text is not enough.

We sat down and talked about it and we’re done with TransLink for now. Good riddance.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.

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