Love and exact change: Building compassion for homeless into Vancouver's transit system

You can tell a lot about a city by whom it lets on the bus.

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Even Victoria is not as accommodating as Vancouver. Greenwell writes, "I was riding the bus around Victoria I made a point of asking every bus driver I came across about homeless access – and there – the expectation (this is anecdotal with the drivers I spoke with) with company policy was that everyone who rode paid."

So other cities walk the News 1130 commenters' talk, whereas Vancouver's transit operators chose a different path. As our transit system evolves, we need to make sure that our method of helping our homeless population evolves as well.

#16 Bus, Hastings at Gore: Two men with matching foot-long beards board the bus. One is pushing a wheeled walkler, the other carries a beat-up guitar case. "I'm just helping him," Beard #2 tells the driver. The driver nods. The men move into the seating area. Next stop, a silver-haired man on crutches boards, scoots past the driver, moving incredibly fast. He refuses offers of a seat, hustling toward the back of the bus.

#16 Bus, Hastings at Main: Three men and two women board the bus. All five have either a ticket or a pass.

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