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Teen says bus driver questioned her student fare due to teacher strike

VANCOUVER – A 16-year-old student from Cloverdale says she is angry at Translink after a bus driver tried to tell her she couldn’t get the student price due to the current education dispute between the BCTF and the provincial government.

Sydney Walsh boarded the #341 bus in Cloverdale on Monday on her way to her part-time job in Langley. She paid her $1.75, which is the concession fare, and then she said the bus driver asked to see her Go card.

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She tweeted to Translink after the incident saying the bus driver was not going to let her on for the student fare because of the strike.

A Go card is a pass that is issued to every high school student in Metro Vancouver, free of charge, and it allows them to ride the SkyTrain, buses, Sea Bus or West Coast Express for a reduced price. However, students must have their cards on them at all times.

Students are eligible if they are aged 14 to 19 years old (inclusive), in Grade 8 to 12 (inclusive) or enrolled in Grade 8 at the start of the school year. However, due to the strike this year, students entering Grade 8 will not get their Go card until school resumes.

Sydney did have her card on her and did not pay any more to ride the bus.

“Monday was just kind of the final thing,” she said. “We just had so much stuff happening lately with the buses sucking.” She added that last week her friend had a similar experience with a bus driver, who told her she couldn’t get a student fare during the strike.

Sydney said the bus driver was not rude to her but wanted to check if her Go card was still valid during the strike, although this year’s cards do not expire until Oct. 31.

“He said ‘I’m going to need more money,’” Sydney told Global News. “I said ‘I have my student card’ and he said ‘we’ll talk about it after.’” She added that is when he told her the Go cards may no longer be valid for all students.

Sydney did not issue a formal complaint to Translink about the matter but she did tweet to them, complaining about her experience.

Translink issued a statement saying:

Although the passenger has not yet lodged any formal complaint, we can confirm that all Go Cards are valid in summer months up to their expiry at the end of Oct.  This is business as usual. Any student presenting a valid Go Card should be permitted on the bus at a concession fare.  Without all the supporting details such as date, time, route direction etc. this is difficult for us to launch any type of investigation. We encourage all customers to report complaints or commendations to our Customer Relations team p. 604-953-3333.

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