Martin Crilly tells the truth about TransLink

As I  was reading  regional transportation commissioner Martin Crilly's report on TransLink's 2010 10-year plan, I thought to myself: "Finally, someone is telling the truth."

Crilly's review, which was released yesterday, noted that proposed cuts to transit under a base plan would not have been as drastic if TransLink had not expanded service and invested in capital projects that it knew to be unaffordable.

"These investments were made with the hope and expectation that senior governments would agree to bear a large portion of the operating costs, which they have not done," he wrote.

Crilly added that this has reduced the productivity of the bus network and led to rising fares, undermining ridership.

He noted that the TransLink has forecast that the new Golden Ears Bridge and Canada Line will represent up to  12 percent of revenues by 2019. Crilly concluded that if the transportation authority misses the mark on inflation, interest rates, population growth, and other variables, there could be a shortfall of several hundred million dollars by 2019.

He added, however, that the underlying economic assumptions are not unreasonable.

After years of propaganda from the federal, provincial, and many municipal politicians about their so-called concern for transit riders, I  had begun  to believe that there was no hope for honest talk. Crilly has proven me wrong.

Sure, there have been exceptions over the years. Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan, Vancouver councillor David Cadman, and former Vancouver councillors Anne Roberts and Fred Bass tried without success to thwart some of the worst decisions.

Where else but in Metro Vancouver  would transit planners build rapid-transit projects in areas with some of the lowest population densities in the region?

Crilly noted that even TransLink has acknowledged that the slow process of urban densification will not lift ridership much by 2019.

Former premier Glen Clark build a rapid-transit line, the Millennium Line, where hardly anyone lives.

Premier Gordon Campbell and the federal Liberals forced TransLink to build a rapid-transit line down Cambie Street to the airport and Richmond, which also have relatively  low population densities.

Meanwhile, the Livable Region Strategic Plan called for the some of the greatest population increases to take place in the Tri-Cities area, which won't get an Evergreen Line for years because TransLink is running out of money.

These rotten rapid-transit decisions are going to cause economic decline because we're not moving people or goods around the region nearly as efficiently as we might have had politicians paid attention to basic principles of transportation planning.

They listened to the salesman for these projects and their enablers, like the Vancouver Airport Authority, rather than acting with common sense. The media, including the Globe and Mail and talk-show hosts,  also bear some responsibility for failing to pay sufficient attention to the problem before it reached this point.

Crilly has blown the whistle--albeit, in understated bureaucratic language. But make no mistake. People in this region have been sold a bill of goods for too many years. And those who are responsible ought to be ashamed of themselves when they read his report.



Eric Chris

Sep 4, 2009 at 1:38pm

You are absolutely right; TransLink has spent recklessly and has caved-in to political pressure to build rapid transit lines which aren’t needed. TransLink is trying to turn Vancouver into another Toronto instead of focusing on bringing fares down and improving transit service. If people really want to commute 60 km round trip on transit, Toronto is just a five hour flight, and I suggest that they move to Toronto where they can be happy. We don’t need TransLink ruining the Lower Mainland with urban transit sprawl.

Most people don’t appreciate what $2,000 million for the RAV Line means. TransLink could have replaced its entire 884 conventional diesel buses and 136 articulated diesel buses with hybrid buses or trolley buses to dramatically reduce toxic diesel exhaust emissions and transit noise to improve our quality of life to make the Lower Mainland truly livable and then added another 1,000 hybrid or trolley buses to meet the Lower Mainland’s transit demands well into the future while lowering transit fares in the process.

TransLink operates noxious diesel buses on the 99 B-Line route fitted with trolley lines and can’t find $30 million to operate trolley buses on the 99 B-Line route, but it can afford $2,000 million for the RAV Line. That’s sad and disgusting.


Sep 4, 2009 at 1:49pm

Maybe they could try for the low cost solution.

Transclunk could eliminate the need for Transit and road builds and cut BC's greenhouse emissions in half almost overnight by promoting the idea of business, provincial and municipal governments adopting mandatory 3 day work weeks and telecommuting.

Whoop's ain't happen'n because Gordo's corporate sponsors now all Transclunk directors don't want empty downtown office buildings and canceled highway and bridge projects.

Maybe if Translink blackmailed El Gordo by shutting down all road construction in favor of transit, they might get some attention. But same problem - developers as Translink directors.



Sep 4, 2009 at 2:50pm

Trans Link was on top of their game just a few years ago 2006 ie; Global Deal of the Year*,North American Deal of the Year PPP, Gold Award for Project Financing.
*all of these awards from around the world reflect that TransLink is not exclusive to GVRD. They are a Global player and are set up in various countries around the world. The main Corporation that gain from this shell group is Cubic Transportation a company that is a main controller of the BC Liberals.
Can the BC Liberals break free from them, the short answer is No why would they.
All this can be verify on Google do your own research global corporate control is real and growing at a quicker pace than before 2001.
What else has Cubic Transportation gain control of in BC, GPS Tracking in your cell phones, Enhanced Driver License* Bio metric capture and tracking, Bank Cards info capture and tracking.
*The control of this program was moved into ICBC hands to get around your rights and freedom clause in the Charter of Rights. The NDP had a chance to defeat this in the spring of 2009, it went something like this in Victoria "those opposed" chirp, chirp (cricket noises) .....MF's.

Evil Eye

Sep 4, 2009 at 5:19pm

After listening to the BS on radio station Brand-X, everyone seems that a simple tax increase will solve TransLink's woes. Nope, Nada, not a hope in hell. When you have idiots running the show don't be surprised at the results.

From the Valley rail blog...............

" golden rule; that if you build metro on routes that do not have the ridership to sustain them, costly subsidies must be paid. When costly subsidies are paid, there is less money available to be invested in the transit system.

Frau Bula huffs and puffs about making car drivers pay more taxes to sustain a broken TransLink. Yay, yay, lets build a SkyTrain subway to UBC.............Yippee!

Crilly makes sense, but is anyone listening

Cities Get Short Changed

Sep 5, 2009 at 1:36pm

Which means more change as fares go up while services are eliminated in areas where translink feels there is not enough money to be made.
Canadian Line CEO is happy as billions of tax dollars of British Columbians tax dollars are used to help buy him a little train that gives you a six dollar ride to the airport.
And this comes after drivers are told the need to clean up their acts and come clean for the environment. Only now the drivers sit on the sidelines as trips to the airport are few and far between making the Taxi Industry very unlucreative resulting in jobs loses and cars off the road. What about drivers for the Olympics? I guess vistors can always jump on the Canadian Line to know what it is like to be really taken for a ride. Just ask the tri cities.