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.
Jul 30, 2013 at 5:57pm
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.
Jul 30, 2013 at 6:05pm
"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
Jul 30, 2013 at 6:40pm
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.
Jul 30, 2013 at 7:08pm
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!
Jul 30, 2013 at 8:32pm
Stephen, you have that quote completely wrong. The correct quote totally jives with your point.
Jul 30, 2013 at 8:57pm
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).
Jul 30, 2013 at 9:35pm
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!
Jul 30, 2013 at 9:35pm
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
Jul 30, 2013 at 10:15pm
@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.
Jul 30, 2013 at 10:38pm
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.