Posted tagged ‘discrimination’

– Vancouver woman alleges TransLink discrimination

August 16, 2009


A Vancouver woman is demanding a public transit bus driver be suspended after she alleges he tried to deny her and her girlfriend a bus ride.

Ashlee Gowriluk, 25, said she was boarding a bus in Vancouver last Sunday morning with her monthly FareCard, which is good for up to two adult fares and four children on Sundays, according to the local transportation authority.

However, Gowriluk said the driver told her girlfriend she would have to pay to board the bus, claiming she would have to be a man for the Sunday rules to apply.

Gowriluk disagreed and called TransLink, which confirmed that she was right.

But she said that wasn’t good enough for the driver.

“He sat there for a good five minutes and announced to everyone on the bus they should tell us to get off,” she said.

Gowriluk said that didn’t happen, and when she and her girlfriend refused to disembark, the driver eventually drove away, stating he would never stop for them again.

Gowriluk said that kind of treatment is the last thing she expected in gay-friendly Vancouver.

“We had a friend from Winnipeg with us who was expecting a lot more of an open experience in Vancouver,” she said.

“She was just completely taken aback. She’s not even used to that in Winnipeg. It was embarrassing and it was painful. I don’t want to have to experience things like that in Vancouver. I’m used to being very comfortable.”

Gowriluk filed a complaint with the Coast Mountain Bus Company, the contract operator for public transit in Metro Vancouver.

She’s demanding the driver be suspended.

Company spokesman Derek Zabel said the company is still investigating the complaint, but says the rules are clear.

On Sundays, a monthly FareCard does pay for any two adults and four children, regardless of their relationship to each other.

“It’s an unfortunate thing, but we’ll make sure to get to the bottom of this and make sure our employees know what the policies are.”

Zabel said he’s not sure if it was a case of discrimination or if the operator simply didn’t know the rules.

He did offer an apology in advance, in case the complaint is found to be valid.