TransLink wins Teddy Waste Award for South Surrey park and ride lot that (almost) no one uses

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      Every year, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation celebrates the "best of the worst in government waste" with its Teddy Waste Awards.

      Well, the tax-hating organization has announced the results of its 16th annual Teddy awards, and TransLink is one of the big "winners".

      Metro Vancouver's regional transportation authority took home the prize in the local government category for its new South Surrey park and ride lot.

      Here's what the CTF says:

      Vancouver’s accident and waste-prone regional transit authority (TransLink) stepped in it once again this past year, shelling out $4.5 million for a parking lot with a $2 toll that nobody ever uses. The CBC was able to identify a single user who chose the pricey lot because he knows his vehicle “will never get scratched.”

      The new South Surrey park and ride lot opened in November, adding 367 new parking stalls to the facility.

      (Update [10:46 a.m.]: As the first comment on this post notes, TransLink didn't pay for the lot. Actually, the B.C. government did. So, perhaps TransLink should share the Teddy with the province.)

      Federally, this year's Teddy went to Employment and Social Development Canada for the proposed Canada Jobs Grant

      The Senate of Canada received a lifetime achievement award for obvious reasons.



      Robert Willis - TransLink

      Feb 26, 2014 at 10:25am

      Hello there. I'd like to make a correction regarding what's been posted above and attributed to the CTF. TransLink did not pay for the capital cost of the expanded South Surrey parking lot. TransLink is simply the operators and owners of this facility. - Robert Willis - TransLink

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      Stephen Hui

      Feb 26, 2014 at 10:53am

      @Robert Willis - TransLink:

      Thanks for the clarification.

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      Car Pooler

      Feb 26, 2014 at 4:01pm

      I don’t think that’s quite right. I was told, according to signs, that it’s free, for now, in the old lot, and $2/day in the new lot. So when the old lot is full, they park on the “side streets”. Not sure where that would be, as there’s nothing nearby but King George. I guess people would rather risk getting towed than pay $2/day? I don’t know. I don’t park there any more. I used to. The extra space for parking at that park and ride was much needed. My carpooler and I used to meet and park there, leaving one car and taking the other (hey, don’t complain. If we took the bus we’d have left two cars there). It was getting so full every morning we had to arrive earlier and earlier every day. People were parking everywhere, and blocking people in. I was blocked in so bad one day I tried to call a tow truck but they couldn’t tow there. But then signs came up that they would tow from the lot if you didn’t park in a designated stall (and not the drop off area either). It was becoming a nightmare, and on top of that we heard that fees were coming. We made other arrangements. If it’s not so full any more, maybe other people have too? Many people park on Croydon and walk to 152 to catch the bus before the park and ride. Buses are so full. Maybe more people are realizing carpooling is smarter.

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      Feb 26, 2014 at 6:06pm

      It was a dumb move to turn a free parking lot that connects only to buses into a pay lot. Now, virtually no one uses the new lot, and fewer people use the old lot.

      People are now parking on side streets along the entire bus route, ensuring the bus is full once it reaches the Park and Ride...another disincentive to park there.

      If the Park and Ride was next to a Skytrain Station, a parking fee would make sense. But to charge a fee on top of a three-zone fare, when your nearest Skytrain Station is 30-45 minutes away is silly. The fee is completely avoidable, so smart people are avoiding it.

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      I Quit Transit

      Feb 26, 2014 at 10:19pm

      I gave up on the South Surrey Park and Ride when the $2 fee came in.

      There seemed to be only one working machine in the lot, with a 12 person line up, and the person at the front paying in dimes.

      With the $11.00 round trip transit fee, $2.00 parking fee and as Car Pooler says, over full buses I've moved back into my car for my commute to downtown Vancouver.

      I don't understand why Translink/Gov't of BC are not more creative at raising revenue (other than raising fares - I also rarely ride the ferries anymore because of that "strategy"). Shouldn't there be a Starbucks on every Skytrain platform? It's so frustrating seeing the waste on transit (don't get me started on those faregates!).

      One of many angry taxpayers

      Feb 27, 2014 at 10:38am

      Note to Mr. Willis:
      Realize that TransLink got a huge benefit from the plus $4 Million expenditure and ended up (as you state) being "operators" and "owners" of the facility. Perhaps to be more accurate you should have also included mismanaging the facility in your commentary.
      MOST importantly - While your group continues to mismanage OUR money, and squabble about who paid for the facility (the BC Government or your group), please try to realize neither TransLink nor the BC Government paid for this. There is only one wallet from which the funds came - and that wallet belongs to the taxpayer. Technically it is the TAXPAYER that paid for and hence owns the facility, not TransLink.
      You are just the 'help' hired to mismanage it.
      I sincerely wish your group and the BC Government (along with other levels of government) would realize it is not your money you continue to waste; it is OURS.
      May I suggest you and your fellow bureaucrats at TransLink would be better suited for running a lemonade stand. Do us all a big favour and please seek employment elsewhere - preferably a position not funded by our tax dollars.


      Feb 27, 2014 at 2:15pm

      The person who thinks you only have to pay in the new lot if wrong - it is both lots. I think it fully deserves this award - why did Translink not try charging first and see what happened? Taxpayers could have been saved $4.5 million, since all that was needed to avoid the overflowing parking situation in the original lot was to start charging for parking!
      We have the worst bus service of any of the suburbs, and many people do not have an option to take the bus from a stop near home, so must drive or be driven. We moved here 22 years ago and were told that bus service would soon be expanded, yet it is still 2.4 kilometers to the closest stop, as it was then. (This despite the fact that thousands of new homes have been built in the area in the last two decades.) Both of my children went to UBC, so I have made the drive to the bus stop or loop more times than I can count! I used to often let my son take my car to the Park-and-Ride if I did not need it, but now I drive him rather than have him pay the $2 charge on top of the $11 fare. This results in more emissions, since I drive to the lot and back, and then repeat the process to pick him up. My main objection, though, is that the expanded lot sits empty, which should have been easily predicted. As a BC taxpayer, I am really angry every time I drive by this lot - have yet to see a car in it!

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      Feb 28, 2014 at 8:48am

      It's a great place to play ball cars

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