Ferry users taking aim at teen turmoil

by Jacqueline Massey

(The Bowen Island Undercurrent, 26 (14) January 15 1999, p2: with permission)
The Committee for User Friendly Travel met with representatives of B.C.Ferries on March 26, to discuss a disturbing trend toward the escalation of unruly and violent behavior by a few of the 219 Bowen teens that travel on the Queen of Capilano.

These problems are prevalent on the 7:30 a.m. scholar ship to Horseshoe Bay and the 3:30 p.m. scholar ship returning to Bowen. It should be emphasized that a small minority of the students are to blame. But, they make life unbearable for the majority of their peers and all other passengers and crews on these runs.

This unruly and violent behavior manifests itself in: slashing seats, gouges in the steel walls of the elevator, graffiti, condiments thrown around the ship, fire setting, safety equipment vandalizing, snack bar theft, backpack and book trashing, harassment, bullying, throwing water, fighting, rudeness, shouting obscenities, overloading the elevator, gymnastics, vandalizing video games and throwing objects at each other and overboard. This conduct has been going on for some time and is costing the Ferry Corporation and the taxpayer, thousands of dollars annually. Not to mention the annoyance and intimidation of the majority of passengers and crew on the ferry.

The Committee and B.C. Ferries have met previously and have formulated a Code of Conduct which is prominently posted on the Queen of Capilano and in the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal. Remedial action, for the abuse of this Code of Conduct, ranges from a verbal or written warning to the parent having to ac y the guilty child on the ferry, or the withdrawal of riding privileges and charges being laid under the appropriate act. Video cameras have been installed in the Horseshoe Bay terminal and aboard the Queen of Capilano. As of March 1, stu- are required to carry Go, cards with full identification, to be presented at the ticket booth before boarding. There are also parent and older student supervisors travelling aboard each scholar ship.

B.C. Ferries plans to send a notice to all Bowen Island residents outlining the Code of Conduct while travelling on the ferry. The Committee for User Friendly Travel has already met with the students and plans a follow-up meeting after this notice has been received. They also plan to schedule meetings with the appropriate schools on the mainland and Bowen.

At first glance, all these measures seem Draconian. After all "kids will be kids", they have a lot of energy to burn. But what alarms the Committee, is the estion of violent behavior by the minority towards the majority. Somewhere, somehow, sometime this behavior has to be reigned in. Why not address it now, in a thoughtful and caring way, before a tragedy happens?

"It's the show-off stage in a show-off age and the showdown could be tragedy".

Vandalism and bullying is by no means confined to the ferry. It is evident on the school buses and in the schools. The lower mainland and Vancouver Island have seen their share of violent confrontations and fatalities within the school system. Recent shootings in schools south of the border are timely reminders of the growing trend towards extreme violence among our youth.

The Committee feels that a greater involvement by parents would go a long way to alleviate these problems. Some of the suggestions at the meeting were, for parents to:

The next meeting of the Committee for User Friendly Travel is scheduled for Thurs- April 16 at 7 p.m. Watch the Undercurrent for the venue and updates on this issue.

Page last updated 01-02-16