Tag Archives: TransLink

Back in the Loop & Back to the Loop–The Nanaimo Bus Loop, That Is


I’ve got a couple of free hours this morning, and am using the free time to tie up loose ends from my last blog post, posted over two months ago–and to account for my long absence. I haven’t not posted something in this blog this long before, not even when my mother was in hospital for a few months last winter, initially gravely ill, and family matters took precedence over everything else. This time, it was working on the federal election, mainly, that prevented me from writing: I worked as a paid political surveyor for the three months leading up to the election. Contractual constraints prevented me from publicly discussing the work I was then doing–although I did sneak in one related, non-partisan, Tweet:

This really happened. I was tired (this tweet was sent at the improbable time of 6:11 AM because my workday began at the improbable time of 7 AM, and the hours were long) and heading home directly from work when the incident occurred, and the odd perception lasted for only a moment; but it made me think that, with sufficient repetition, it would be quite easy to alter the conceptual categories we usually use for sorting people–for better or for worse.

Besides my employment contract preventing me from writing about the work I was then doing, the long hours prevented me from writing virtually anything at all. Then, too, family matters following from my mother’s medical scare continued to take up considerable time. It’s probably a good thing that all this family friction has come out into the open when my mother is still very much alive –although here, too, although for very different reasons, I’m not at liberty to publicly discuss the details.

Now, back to the incident at the Nanaimo Bus Loop …. As I recounted back in August, I was levelled as I was exiting a small, portable, convenience store located at the Loop by an athletic young woman who was running to catch her bus, whose view of me was entirely blocked by her angle of approach in relation to the design and placement of the store. Although I initially thought I could have a broken or cracked pelvic bone, x-rays proved otherwise, and, although for a couple of weeks, my mobility was limited by severe pain from the soft tissue injuries I had incurred, I made a full recovery within a month.

Although my injury proved not to be very serious, I contacted TransLink, initially via email, at this stage with no thought of financial compensation, to help TransLink avert further incidents of this nature–or worse, related, incidents. For example, if I’d been elderly and physically frail, and was hit as hard as I was hit, I would surely have had at least a broken bone or two. A very young child could easily have been killed. Perhaps because they feared I had a hidden pecuniary agenda (I can’t think of any other reason for their behaviour), TransLink then refused to accept any culpability–even though it is stated in the guidelines for private vendors at TransLink locations, on the TransLink website, that TransLink is responsible for approving the design of, and supervising the installation of, stores and kiosks at TransLink locations.

I did take this to the next level, speaking in person for over an hour with a claims adjustor working on behalf of TransLink. (TransLink uses an external company for this kind of thing.) At this stage, I did ask for some financial compensation (just a couple of thousand dollars) mainly because I thought TransLink deserved some sort of punishment for the way I had been treated when I earlier tried to make my case via email–and because I had indeed lost a few days of work, and pay, because of the incident. Again, this time via a formal letter that I received a couple of weeks after meeting with the claims adjustor, my case was dismissed. Moreover, when I was last at the Nanaimo Bus Loop, just last week, I observed that no changes had been made in the design and/or placement of the portable convenience store at that location. The design and placement of the store in combination with pedestrian traffic patterns at the Nanaimo Bus Loop continue to present a serious hazard to transit users.

If money were my major concern, I’ve been told I could take this case to small claims court, and very likely receive some compensation. Although the money couldn’t hurt, I’m more concerned about TransLink taking responsibility where it is due, and about TransLink being diligent in trying to ensure that transit users can navigate its system without incurring bodily harm. I’m skipping small claims court; however, there are no contractual constraints in my relationship with TransLink, or any other good reasons, that prevent me from further commenting on social media about this incident.

Blindsided by TransLink at the Nanaimo Bus Loop

About two weeks ago, when I was exiting the mobile store at the Nanaimo bus loop, here in Vancouver, I was bowled over by a young woman running to catch a bus that was parked behind the store–where the bus in the above photo is situated. Initially, I assumed it was just this young woman who was responsible for the accident, running too fast in such an environment and not paying adequate attention to her surroundings. I took it for granted that the design and placement of the store in relation to pedestrian traffic were basically safe. Normally, we can take such things for granted. But when I returned to this location a few days later (on crutches), and really looked at the design and placement of the store in relation to pedestrian traffic, I could see the potential perils.

If the young woman had approached the store from the angle from which I took the above photo, and was unfamiliar with this odd little store, she would have been unable to discern that store customers exit (and enter) from behind the hinged door that directly faced her and not from the side of the store where, from this angle, there seems to be a passageway, suggested by the protruding curve. She may even have been unable to discern that this was a store, with any exiting (or entering) involved. The woman insisted when she stopped to help me get up that she had been unable to see me until the moment when she crashed into me, and now I’m inclined to believe this was the case–and that she wasn’t simply being a jerk.

From a somewhat different angle, such as the angle from which I took the next photo, there is less ambiguity–but still, the design and placement of the store in relation to pedestrian traffic leave much to be desired.

Although I initially thought I would be left with only a bad bruise on my hip from my fall, it turns out I was actually hurt quite badly. It wasn’t until I had hobbled to my bus and had sat down that I experienced those telltale signs that something was seriously amiss–nausea and light-headedness. (Usually it does take a minute or two to register these things.) I actually passed out for a few seconds, during which time the bus started to leave the station. (Even if I had thought at the time of getting names and phone numbers of the woman who had hit me and other witnesses, there really was no opportunity, short of jumping off the bus at the next stop and getting back on a bad leg.) The pain in my pelvic area was excruciating for the next couple of days, and I seriously thought I had broken a bone, although nothing showed up on the X-rays I had taken last week. The doctor who examined me then thought it was probably all soft tissue damage, although she did suggest I come back for more X-rays if the pain persisted–which I’m now thinking of doing.

It could have been much, much, worse. I could have fallen on my head, as opposed to my hip. Or, if a very elderly person had been exiting the store at the moment I was exiting it, and had fallen hard like I did, they almost certainly would have experienced serious fractures. Or, if a parent carrying a baby, or pushing a stroller, had been hit as I was hit, the consequences could have been truly tragic.

What really makes me mad about this is that TransLink, our public transportation authority, has refused to take any responsibility for what transpired. When I called TransLink to complain, I was told that TransLink has no responsibility for the design and placement of mobile businesses, like this little mobile store, to which they lease space. But since TransLink should be cognizant of pedestrian traffic patterns in facilities like the Nanaimo bus loop, and since they should be aware of the tendencies of able-bodied transit users to sometimes dash to make their buses and trains (in my better days, I’ve done some dashing myself)–to a greater extent than any vendor with limited transit knowledge to which they lease space–it seems that, for the safety of TransLink users, TransLink should be required to inspect the design and placement of these mobile structures and to exert veto power when necessary. Also, they should be required to take responsibility when something for which they are ultimately responsible goes awry.

I’m tempted to sue, but without names and numbers for the woman who knocked me over and other witnesses, I’m unlikely to have any luck. (When I went back to speak to speak with her, the woman who was then working in the store did clearly remember the incident, and me.)

Has anyone else had a similar experience on any TransLink property–or maybe on a transit property in another jurisdiction?