TransLink to cut back on some transit expansion projects as part of three-year plan

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TransLink is putting off some planned expansion projects over the next three years, including 306,000 hours of increased bus service, after falling short of projected revenues.

But through $98 million in annual efficiencies identified by TransLink over the next three years, the transit authority is planning to proceed with some expansions, such as the region’s contribution to the Evergreen Line project, and an increase of 109,000 in annual hours of transit service.

“There’s 306,000 hours of service that is not going to be introduced over the next three years. It’s needed service, we just can’t deliver it,” Robert Paddon, TransLink’s executive vice-president of strategic planning and public affairs, said at a news conference today (September 17) on the authority’s draft 2013 Base Plan.

Some of the planned projects that will not proceed include expanded SeaBus service on Sundays and holidays outside of the summer months. While B-line service on King George Boulevard will go ahead under the draft plan, the service won’t extend to White Rock Centre as originally anticipated.

In addition to the efficiencies, TransLink will also draw on its reserve fund to maintain existing services and allow some of its planned improvement projects to go ahead.

Some of the other projects that will proceed over the next three years include upgrades to Expo Line stations such as Commercial-Broadway, Metrotown, New Westminster and Joyce-Collingwood. Rapid bus service will be launched on Highway 1 over the Port Mann Bridge between Langley and New Westminster, however a 10-minute frequency along the route will only be offered during peak hours. Buses will run every 30 minutes during off-peak hours.

The 2013 draft plan is contingent on the mayors’ council on regional transportation voting in favour of a two-year $30-million property tax hike. The mayors have previously voted against the increase.

TransLink officials said the transit authority’s budget has been challenged by factors including lower than expected fuel-tax revenues, and lower than anticipated fare and toll revenues.

Paddon said the efficiencies do not mean that bus service is being cut.

“We hope we don’t have to go there, and we think we can do it with what we’ve put in place,” he noted.

However, the 2013 Base Plan indicates revenue-increasing efficiency measures will include shifting bus resources to routes where there are more riders, putting smaller vehicles on more routes, and reducing the frequency of SkyTrain service on the weekends.

“These efficiencies will impact customers,” the plan reads. “Buses may come less frequently on routes that aren’t very busy and smaller buses may be used; some less busy bus service may be cancelled; SkyTrain passengers will have to wait longer for a train on the weekends and the trains will be more crowded; the risk that buses won’t run on time will increase.”

Passengers using the busiest routes, on the other hand, “are less likely to get passed up by an overcrowded bus,” the document indicates.

The efficiencies will also cut into “recovery” time at the end of a bus route, which is intended to ensure bus schedules are reliable, and some spare buses will be eliminated.

TransLink will consult elected officials, stakeholders and the public on the draft plan before finalizing it by November 1.

Comments (8) Add New Comment
Sheeple
Lets see could have saved...

* $171+ Million + on-going costs on useless Fare gates when the return on investment was in the 15-20 year range = Ridiculous Business Decision!

* Save on paying $550K to $1 Million per Bus maybe get some competitive bids and hard negotiating? Too much to ask?

* Fire ALL Managers and CEO's have Translink report directly to the Minister in charge of Transportation = Save about $20 Million+++

* If you are an Employee of Transit at any level including CEO you must take Transit to and from work as part of your employment contract, you get to eat your own Dog food that way :)

* Fire the Translink Board save more $ buy more Buses (at Cheaper per unit costs)

Maybe run Transit like the money is precious and of value not piss it down the drain.

There's lots of Money in the Translink Budget it's the Gross Mismanagement that screws all of us.

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David H
I hate this fucking lousy company
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of_no_consequence
of course there's always enough money for raises and ipads and bonuses and personal assistants and free education and car allowances for upper management
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New West
Clueless company with inept leadership.
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SkytraintoUBC
Think about this when you squeeze yourself through the $171 million fare gates at Broadway Commercial Station to join the line up a block long for the B-Line to UBC.
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I miss BC Transit
Translink is a bloated and inefficient. Prime example of P3 gone wrong at the expense of taxpayers and anyone who relies on the bus to get around. I agree with the poster who suggests the Translink board should be made to use the transit system, rather than given company vehicles. The turnstyles are a terrible use of funds, given that we need more busses and frequent trains (especially on weekends and late at night when people tend to want to head out sans car and I would think more paying users would cover the costs of extra busses and trains). They pouted when the gov't told them they couldn't raise fares. This just reeks of petty retaliation. What we pay in fares, compared to other cities isn't great but it's not terrible. I use popular routes (8,22,9,99,20 etc) and some are better than others service wise. The ones which lack, have not gotten any better and if anything a bit worse (#20 southbound is always packed and late and 99 is a nightmare while school and university are in session).

The city is making it harder to use cars, and Translink is making it more difficult and more unpleasant to take transit. Something has got to give. My vote would be to make Translink 100% public again, seeing as we already subsidize and pay for it. This last year and a bit, I've been seriously considering getting a scooter, and have started cycling and walking more during good weather for shorter trips. But, for many trips, transit is my means of getting from point A to B. I never minded before, but I have progressively been minding the last few years. I'm glad Translink is getting an audit. We deserve to know how they've wasted our money.
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New West
They want more people to get out of their vehicles and onto public transit, yet they're now cutting bus and Skytrain service? What kind of logic is that?! If you want more people to take transit, you have to make it a more attractive alternative - not less so.
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NOT IMPRESSED
WOMAN KILLED BY BUS AT MAIN AND TERMINAL
BUS DRIVERS ARE SPEEDING AND CUTTING OFF PEOPLE ALL THE TIME. I NOTICE ALL NEW DRIVERS ARE MINORITIES LIKE CHINESE OR SCHOULD I SAY FOREIGNERS.STOP IMMIGRATION AND HIRE REAL CANADIANS. THESE NEW DRIVERS ARE IDIOTS.
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