TransLink announces "equitable" service reductions, but no word on any pay cuts for executives or police

TransLink has announced a series of money-saving moves, including the elimination of free travel on Sunday and holidays for family members of monthly pass holders.

Last year, TransLink spokesperson Ken Hardie told the Straight that when fare gates would be introduced at SkyTrain and Canada Line stations this year, those with adult monthly fare cards would still be able to bring along a spouse and up to four children under 13.

“All we can tell you right now is that the offering will still be there,” Hardie promised at the time. “How it will work—at this point, we don’t have that detail for you.”

Today, however, TransLink's executive vice president, Bob Paddon, announced in a news release that the board of directors has decided to eliminate this benefit on January 1.

This and other changes are designed to make the system "more equitable", TransLink stated.

In addition, TransLink is scrapping the employer pass program on January 1. It offers a 15 percent discount to workers who make a 12-month commitment to buy monthly transit passes.

FareSaver tickets are also going to be phased out next year, with discounts becoming available through a "stored value option" on the new Compass Cards.

The West Coast Express's seven-day pass and 28-day pass are also on the chopping block, effective January 1. 

Passengers who want to take a bicycle on the West Coast Express will no longer have to pay a $1 fee.

"We took a good hard look at our programs to determine which ones still make sense," Paddon said in the news release. "We found some programs benefited a select few people and companies."

The news release made no mention of any salary rollbacks at TransLink.

TransLink's most recent statement of financial information reveals that 59 of the 169 constables on the transportation authority's police force earned more than $100,000 in 2011.

Meanwhile, TransLink CEO Ian Jarvis was paid $382,954 in 2011. Six other executives, including Paddon, collected more than $240,000 in annual compensation.

Last year, TransLink generated $1.42 billion in revenue and reported $1.43 billion in expenditures.

Comments (17) Add New Comment
Eric Doherty
What I had to say about transit fare hikes last year still stands. We need to lower transit fares, not raise them to reduce carbon pollution.
Rating: +17
Stephen Rees
"Passengers who want to take a bicycle on the West Coast Express will have to pay a new $1 fee"

WRONG - bikes currently cost $1 but that fee is being aboloished immediately
Rating: -19
How about the Executives get chopped and the fares get saved? These moves by Translink make me want to get the dirtiest car on the market and go spew soot wherever I go.
Rating: +16
No Accountability
Translink has virtually Zero Real Accountability.

1. The Fare Gates & Compass Cards costs $171 Million + a waste given the 10+ Year Return on Investment,

2. The On-going Contracts to Operate the $171 Million Fare Gates, The Computer Systems, Database and Cards is in the Millions if not Tens of Millions a year I believe,

3. Translink does not need it's own $50 Million+ a year "Police' Force when current City Police across the mainland can respond in about the same time frame at little additional cost,

4. The Gross waste like overpaying or Equipment like $500,000 to $1 Million for a friggin Bus is ridiculous,

5. Overpaid Management, save the many Millions in Pay & Retirement benefits, get rid of these Fat Cats,

Until there is accountability and cutbacks at TransLink no more extra money like upcoming Road Taxes / Fees.

Which will simply make it more expensive to get to work and increase the price of our Groceries most of which are delivered by Road.

We need reform and accountability yesterday!
Rating: -3
Stephen, you have that quote completely wrong. The correct quote totally jives with your point.
Rating: -6
Didn't Translink Police just get a bump in their funding? If the Compass Passes are supposed to reduce those taking advantage of the system, why are more police necessary? What is their incident response rate? They also seem to patrol only from 8-6... I've been on a couple of late night buses where it's been the VPD responding to bus incidents (guy kicking/busting a door, mentally ill man arguing with drunks).
Rating: -6
d mack
The option for travelling a family on Sunday for no extra charge for monthly pass holders is an excellent way to encourage more ridership on a traditionally low useage day, and at the same time, help low income families get around to a park outing or other family activities without additional charge. Fares as they stand are too expensive. I encourage passengers of translink to write and have them return the option. Thank you Charlie for reporting on the hypocrisy of this board, and the overpaid police force. Lower the fares and keep the sunday option for monthly passholders!
Rating: +17
D. Avey
The Employer pass may have been at a reduced rate but abolishing that now means it is cheaper for me to drive to work. Which I now will seriously consider doing. Why cut that and not the ridiculous student passes that are practically given away at a
Much more highly discounted rate. Translink just doesn't get it but when you consider they cannot actually handle the amount of ridership they have now, i am not surprised they are trying to make it more difficult
Rating: -1
Ian King
@Eric -- Sorry, but I have to disagree about lower fares. Given the choice between cutting fares and increasing service, I'd opt for better service for the foreseeable future. There are already overcrowded routes all over the inner Lower Mainland, and there's no point in increasing demand while sacrificing revenue when there's nowhere to accommodate those extra riders. Bus passes are still a hell of a lot cheaper than car insurance, let alone payments, fuel and maintenance.

@No Accountability -- please find a new bus, street legal in BC, that costs less than $500,000 with all the features that are expected of a modern urban transit bus.

Charlie -- are you going to start taking shots at the wages that drivers and maintenance personnel make next? I would hope not, despite those wages representing a much larger figure than Ian Jarvis and Bob Paddon's pay packets.
Rating: -10
Jason King
It was stated that the programs like the employee pass were introduced to bring more people onto transit and to use the buses/trains. I guess Translink no longer cares about attracting people. At this rate it will become cheaper for me to drive to work than take the train like I have been doing with my pass for the past 3 years.
Rating: 0
Used to ride the bus until I realized Car2go is much much better deal. Screw it. Am tired of the bus costing more than riding by myself on the occasion that I need a ride.
Rating: -22
scooby doo
@ Ian King

Why do you think that extra money increases service?

Why are you so concerned about those at the top of the pyramid?

How much do you get paid to shill for TL Jarvis and Paddon?
Rating: +4
No Accountability
@ Ian King aka Self Interest...

The Private Sector Buses/Coaches cost between $100K-
Rating: 0
I really rely on the EPP to get me to and from work. Last year, my employer got rid of the EPP because it was decided that the majority of employees taking transit wasn't beneficial to the employer so I used the EPP from my Modo membership. Now that it's going away, I don't know how I can afford to go to work because I don't own a car because transit was a viable option. It is becoming less of an option now. It doesn't make sense in a city like ours that transit is such a big problem.

I hope some big shot isn't going to get a huge bonus for cutting services to people. Do the execs at Translink even take transit for work and play? I do and I want it better than this.
Rating: +4
Translink is a ripoff joke and riders and taxpayers can't afford the private board cost or the rising fares and budgets. All the while the service isn't much better than it was 50 years ago so we're not getting any value for the exponentially growing cash grab.
7am service on a Sunday?
Last train or bus is 1am?
Is Vancouver a little village- still?
The service level is equal to that of a small town-nit a city. Shame.
Rating: -5
I live in South Delta, we had essentially a service cutback when the 601 bus direct to downtown was changed and routed to the Canada Line before the Olympics.
This change made it much longer to get anywhere in Vancouver for most folks.
My commute is now over 45 min longer each way.
Some people went back to using their cars and continue to this day.

Myself and many here miss a lot due to poor transit service i.e. only a bus every 80 min later on at night.

For example, I no longer go in to go for dinner, the film fest. and many other events because of the poor service and ridiculous 3 zone charge during the day-$5.50 each way.
Anymore cutbacks in service will just result in less ridership.

Lower fares and more service is the way to build ridership and a good transit system not the opposite.
Rating: +11
Fitz in Van
I find it hard to comprehend how a budget shortfall of $10 million on a budget of $1.42 Billion (that's 7 tenths of a percentage point) can justify de facto fare hikes that disproportionately effect working families. What is the budget for executive salaries?
Rating: +5
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