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January 14, 2008

How many TransLink staff does it take to change a lightbulb?

Hot on the tails of a huge announcement from the Province on new transit plans, the Monday lunch blog has a slightly smaller bone to pick.

One month ago I wrote TransLink an email requesting a burnt out lightbulb be replaced:

For months now there has been at least one pot light burnt out in the north lower stairwell at Surrey Central Station. This makes walking/running down the stairs difficult at night because there is less light and more shadows, particularly when it’s crowded. Given the area, I feel it is also somewhat more susceptible to crime. I noticed some lights were burnt out above the platform as well.

I also requested bus shelters at a number of stops. They got back to me two days later:

On 12-Dec-07, at 9:48 AM, TransLink Customer Relations wrote:

Than your email. We can take care of the first two points, however, we are not responsible for shelters at bus stops. As bus stops are on City right of way, the City of Surrey would provide shelters thru a contract with a private firm. You can call City Engineering with your request or contact CBS Outdoor at 604 630 1090.

Right. Well, I monitored said lightbulb, went on Christmas holiday, and when I came back, it was STILL burnt out. So I wrote them another email, only this time, less forgiving.

Hi again,

It’s been a month since my first email (see below) and still the light in the Surrey Central north lower stairwell has not been replaced. I’ve noticed lately other customers having to use the stairs with caution because it’s so dark in the evening.

I would like to remind TransLink of its first values statement on its website:

“Safety: We will plan and deliver a transportation system that promotes the health, safety and security of employees and the public.”

Well, I am sure I’m not the only one who feels neither safe nor secure taking that stair, and that’s just the beginning of it. The whole area could benefit from better lighting and while I don’t enjoy excessive lighting, the fact that people, especially women, feel unsafe at Surrey Central at night is a well known fact. It does not cost much to make a significant improvement, and I’m sure somebody has the time to simply replace a lightbulb. (There is also a lamp burnt out on the post across the street from Bay 11.)

Please make an effort to address burnt out lighting in a more timely manner next time. The new strip lighting at Columbia Station is very effective and yet, months having gone by, a single bulb has not been replaced in Surrey? Are you waiting for another one to go out and leave it pitch black? What gives?

Finally, I was very disappointed AGAIN to have the 395 not show up this morning. (7:20 am at 168th St & 64th Ave.) This is not acceptable. Numerous times morning commuters have been left stranded in Cloverdale, with the next bus 25 to 30 minutes away. I don’t care how few of us there are, because we’re still commuters and have jobs to get to. THIRTEEN teenagers piled onto a 320 coming the opposite direction (EB), whilst I hear plans are to pull it off 168th Street, the most popular stop on the route. This community is growing. A simple, frequent Community Shuttle addition to get us to and from Fraser Hwy would really help and should be strongly considered. Myself and other transit riders of Cloverdale are tired of being left out of transit “improvements.”

Sincerely and with utmost optimism,

Erika Rathje

‘Nuff said.

Update: their reply in my next post.