Odd Thoughts: Public pressure in transit

We’re on the hunt for a new transit baron for the Lower Mainland.

Well… perhaps “we” is not the right pronoun in this case.

However, it has been purported that TransLink officials have finally accepted some input from the public they “serve.”

The local transit authority is admitting that it is “bowing to public pressure” in outlining the offer that it is presenting to prospective applicants for the bus big wig job.

Well… perhaps “bowing” is not the right word.

It’s more like a tiny, barely perceptible tilt of the head attended by perhaps a slight raise of one eyebrow in our general direction — not quite specific enough to be sure that it’s really aimed at us… but sort of maybe possibly might be.

Kind of like when you were at a high school sock hop and a girl across the room looked like she might have been smiling at you, but you weren’t sure because maybe her boyfriend was standing behind you.

That’s the kind of “bowing” I think they meant when they said they were “bowing to public pressure.”

We’re back at the sock hop and the bow/smile may be making us feel all warm and fuzzy over a simple case of mistaken identity — the transit honcho hunters may look like they’re looking at us with their come-hither smile, but really, deep down inside, we all know they’re still hanging out with Vancouver and have no intention of leaving him for a dufus at the wrong end of the SkyTrain tracks.

This is what “public pressure” has wrought in the effort to sniff out some top brass: the new boss of the buses will receive a pay packet dramatically reduced from that of his or her predecessor, at a paltry $406,000 for each year of hard, sweaty toil at the turnstiles… er, um… or maybe the voluntary ticket-dispensing machines.

To hear them announce it, you’d think they were condemning a top-flight business manager to a life of abject poverty.

There was one thing, though, that has the potential to raise a wry chuckle among the unmoving masses among us. The new transit poobah won’t receive a vehicle allowance.

Finally!

It seems someone somewhere has been listening to us after all.

One can only hope that that means the new administrator of trains and buses will have to actually use the duly administered trains and buses to get to and from work.

If they truly are, as they claim, bowing to public pressure in the hunt for our new top SkyTrain dog, then somewhere in the honcho contract there should be a condition of employment that the successful big wheel will have to set up residence in Aldergrove or east Maple Ridge.

That certainly has the potential to translate into positive changes to some of the most poorly served parts of the Lower Mainland’s transit area… if he ever makes it to his desk early enough to institute any changes before he has to get started on his way home again, that is.

It would be harder also, then, for us hinterland-dwelling peons to complain about that $406,000 annual salary being transferred from our pockets to the pockets of power behind the train.

It could help the new transportation whip-cracker to contribute a fair share of all the transit taxes, levies, fees, and leech food that we shell out for an occasional glimpse of the tail lights of a bus whose driver got lost at the edges of civilization.

 

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