Richmond Review

Man told four years later about unpaid SkyTrain ticket

Imagine Dave Gibney’s surprise when a collection agency tracked him down to his Richmond home last June about an old $173 SkyTrain ticket.

Motion sickness has handcuffed the Richmond man from using public transit, and what’s more, the ticket was from September of 2008, nearly four years ago.

To top it off, the ticket was made out to a namesake claiming a New Westminster address, and Gibney has lived in Richmond for nearly four decades.

Despite his protests, and failed attempts to clear his name through his own sleuthing, Gibney’s efforts were ultimately fruitless.

Wherever he turned, whether it was ICBC, which assisted in the collection of the unpaid ticket, or TransLink and Transit Police, he was met with a dead end.

Finally, worried that ICBC wouldn’t permit him to renew his car insurance, he paid the fine.

But he certainly wasn’t happy about it.

“My vehicle insurance is coming up for renewal soon and as I can only use my vehicle to get around in as I get sick on public transit, I do not need to find out on the day of my renewal that this fraudulent ticket...bars me from getting my insurance renewed, as I have been advised in many, many articles in many papers in the past six months or so,” Gibney told The Richmond Review.

Gibney thought it would be a fairly simple matter to prove himself innocent.

After obtaining a copy of the TransLink ticket, he noted that it wasn’t his signature at the bottom of it.

With ICBC having a record of his signature dating back to 1974, he thought a simple comparison would have cleared him. If that wasn’t enough, perhaps somebody would have noted that he doesn’t live in New Westminster.

And the person who posed as him—Gibney suspects he knows the person’s true identity, a former roommate with substance abuse problems who likely stole his expired B.C. driver’s licence—wasn’t able to produce his driver’s licence to the ticketing officer, though he was able to furnish the number.

“Why is everyone who is part of this SkyTrain ticket process at ICBC so stupid that they can’t look at a signature and an address on a fine and say ‘Huh, this is not right,’ and then dig to the truth, instead of increasing our already high blood pressure?” Gibney said.

ICBC spokesperson Adam Grossman said Gibney should have been informed when he first contacted the insurer of the availability of a personation package, where claims of impersonation are investigated.

He said ICBC will be following up on the case.

As of Sept. 1, ICBC is no longer involved in the collection of TransLink fines.

That’s now up to TransLink itself, which according to spokesperson Drew Snider, is now able to refer unpaid tickets for collections after 90 days. Under the old system, that process took two years before a collection agency became involved.

Meanwhile, Gibney is no closer to clearing his name.

To add insult to injury, TransLink tickets must be disputed within two years of being issued.

But not all is lost for Gibney.

He’s been urged to fill out a personation package, and to contact police to track down the person Gibney suspects of impersonating him.

Whether that will get him his $173 back remains to be seen.

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