November 17, 2019 · Issue 1: In Transit

Why Do the Fare Inspectors Look Armed?

Every LRT car I hop into will visit Conestoga Station and Fairview Station, even if I don’t witness them. Even if I’ll never truly know for sure. I keep the volume in my headphones low enough that fare inspectors don’t have to tap me on the shoulder to tap my student card. I don’t know if they always check everyone’s pass, but I know that they always check mine. Last week, at least two different fare inspectors at two different stations held my pass up to the light to make sure that I wasn’t stealing another Black student’s bus card.

Sometimes I wonder if the white lady talking to herself synchronized her n-word screaming with the pass-checking, would the LRT cops do anything to stop her? Would they force her to stop? Would they shove her off at Grand River Hospital Station with a fine? Would they politely ask her to lower her voice? Would they ask me how I felt about it? Would they even think to ask all Black people silently moving to the opposite end of the train?

I don’t know for sure because I’ve never witnessed them both at the same time, but I do think I know what would happen if they had to choose between verifying that I wasn’t stealing, and stopping a white lady from hurling racial slurs at up to 70km/h.