Transit shutdown could shut out students

Alternatives to public transportation costly in the short term


By Kristen Holliday

Many students who commute to Langara on the bus say they have no alternative but to skip classes if strike action escalates to a full bus shutdown on Wednesday.

In a poll conducted by The Voice, a quarter of commuting students say they will be stranded at home if strike action escalates. Another 22 per cent of students say they aren’t sure how they will get to class, and don’t have a plan in place if the busses shut down.

In a statement posted on Langara’s website, the college said they “recognize this escalation in job action will cause disruption.” Students are encouraged to contact their instructors if they are concerned about missing classes or arriving late.


Students forced to skip class

Sukhnit Sandhu, a first-year computer science student at Langara, said he commutes to the college from Surrey on two busses and the SkyTrain.

“One of my teachers understood there is no way we can get here,” Sandhu said. “If [the strike] happened on exam day, that would be bad, but these are classes I can skip.”

Sonali Dhingra and Shradha Oberoi, both second-year marketing management students at Langara, were commuting together, and said they will also skip class.

“We won’t be coming,” Dhingra said. “We will have to skip. It’s really expensive taking a cab here, so we’re not going to do that.”

Dhingra said she will have no choice but to take a cab to work, which will cost her $24 each day.

Temporary transportation terribly expensive

Taking a cab or using car-sharing service may be a solution for some students, but it can be costly. Yellow Cab’s online fare calculator sets the price for their cabs at $1.88 per kilometer, with a $3.25 flag fee. A 5.3 kilometer trip to Langara from Vancouver’s Killarney neighbourhood would cost around $13 one-way. The same trip using an Evo would cost $4, but new members would need to pay a total registration fee of $37, according to their website.

In a press conference held on Monday at noon, Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor’s Western Regional Director, said the union will continue to negotiate.

“We’re going back to the bargaining table tomorrow afternoon,” McGarrigle said. “We will reach a fair deal, or else we will take strike action on Wednesday.”

A map detailing the locations of Mobi bike stations around Vancouver.

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