TransLink commissioner rejects 12.5 percent fare hike for 2013
TransLink’s independent regulator has rejected a proposal from the transit authority for a supplementary fare increase of 12.5 percent for 2013.
TransLink commissioner Martin Crilly announced the decision during a news conference today (April 11) in Vancouver.
With the decision, the price of prepaid ticket books will stay the same but cash fares can still increase by up to 10 percent.
For example, adult one-zone cash fares can rise by 25 cents to $2.75 and adult two-zone cash fares can go up by 35 cents to $4.10.
Under provincial law, TransLink is allowed to hike fares in line with a basic increase of two percent per year.
The cost of prepaid ticket books and monthly passes was last increased in April 2010 but TransLink has not hiked cash fares since January 2008.
The TransLink commission does not regulate the cost of monthly FareCards.
The decision to reject the fare hike comes after the commission conducted a review of the efficiency of TransLink operations.
It found management and service is good but there are financial pressures from an abundance of equipment and staff.
The commission has challenged TransLink to find $40 to $60 million in savings over the next three years.
It recommends measures like cutting administration costs, budgeting less conservatively, and reviewing the community shuttle service.
“While we could have approved the application and simply exhorted TransLink to follow up the findings of the efficiency review, we thought that that would be the wrong decision and the wrong message,” commissioner Crilly told reporters.
“We found it vital to reinforce the importance of cost saving in our decision and we deliberately are increasing the financial pressure on TransLink and thereby encouraging them to minimize its costs,” he said.
TransLink’s board says it will review the commissioner’s recommendations and take on the challenge to find further cost savings.
“The commissioner confirmed we are well run and manage costs and that a fare increase is not unreasonable, but reduces our proposed increase at this time. We need time to review this information,” TransLink CEO Ian Jarvis said in a statement.
The TransLink board has also requested that the provincial government conduct an audit of the transit authority. The move follows a call from Premier Christy Clark for an audit.