Carole Christopher: Why all the hate for TransLink?

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      By Carole Christopher

      The Lower Mainland is awash in a viral negative mood about TransLink. It’s hard to find someone not ready to hate TransLink. But why? Who’s manufacturing this notion that TransLink is incompetent and can’t be trusted to run a good public transit system? The riders? I don’t think so.

      I ride transit a lot and I had the good fortune to take a totally public transit tour of 12 European cities this past fall. I had absolutely no sense of returning to an inferior system when I boarded the Canada Line to the B-Line to return home. True, that’s just one anecdote, but, comparative studies verify that TransLink is near the top in performance. So, why all the rancour?

      Is it the malfunctioning fare card system? Who is inconvenienced? Nobody. TransLink didn’t want to spend the money on a fare card system because it’s typically more expensive to install than what is recovered from fare evaders. But the public was scandalized by cheaters and—well, we see what happens when the public is scandalized. Is it the highly paid executives? Talk to the province about the mixed private-public governance structure they created. But don’t flail around trying to punish TransLink without some idea of the consequences.

      And what are the consequences of a “no” vote? Currently Metro region is ahead of the curve in public transportation. A “no” vote will put us behind the curve for perhaps a decade. In the meantime, the road improvements announced recently, added to the Gateway Project of last decade, means the province will spend over $10 billion on road improvements. Neither of these went to referendum but ask yourself where that money is coming from? We need to lower our carbon footprint and the right direction is “better transit, not freeways”.

      We need to shake ourselves out of this negative trance and realize that a “no” vote will make it exponentially more difficult to regroup, revamp, and give it another try. Plebiscites are expensive. Paying mayors to huddle to figure out another workable plan for how to finance public services is expensive. Putting off needed improvements will grow increasingly expensive and seriously inconvenience transit users.

      In North America, where we settle some of these questions with referenda, 71 percent of the time voters approve needed transit funds. We should too. Or are we so intent to punish TransLink that we’ll hurt ourselves worse?

      SPEC has long stood for public transit and we’re advocating for the “yes” side in this plebiscite.




      Mar 26, 2015 at 3:36pm

      No one is against transit & improving infrastructure. We're against more tax hikes! TransLink already gets $946.5 million a year in tax revenues, which averages out to $1,061 per household. They already get 17% per litre of gas you buy plus 5% a litre from the Feds. They also get 21% of paid parking in metro Van. Get it? We're sick of being taxed to death to live here. Is anyone bailing you or me out if we can't manage our household budgets? They're already better funded than most so let them clean house first and better manage their resources. Because I'm not giving them another cent. Vote No!

      @Carole Christopher

      Mar 26, 2015 at 4:30pm

      What don't you get here!? Anonymous's answer above is spot on, and that doesn't even begin to mention all the other shit people are tired of with Translink.

      Bill Jones

      Mar 26, 2015 at 5:14pm

      Yup let's keep them taxes low so the average halfwit can use the cash to bid up the price of houses to astronomical levels, empty the shelves of Big Screen TeeVee's at the Walmart so he can sit slack jawed 8 hours a day watching Sports and Survivor reruns fetching brewski's off his new granite countertops and stainless fridge, buyin' hisself a new Pickup truck and toy hauler, boats, quads and skidoos every coupla years that will likely never haul more than groceries and the bags when he goes on his Mexican vacation, or trip to the cottage.

      Every year or so, he gets out and votes for the Fascist du Jour, so he can keep livin' the good life off the toils of his forefathers, who gave their lives so spoiled yuppies could destroy the government and infrastructure of the nation the elders built.


      Mar 26, 2015 at 5:27pm

      I'm with Anonymous. I am sick and tired of being taxed to provide for an organization that so very clearly does not know how to run a transit system. Years of no turnstiles and entering a bus from the back and then when they try to finally implement a plan to fix it they choose a system that failed or needed major adjustments in other municipalities. Must be the one that did the best lobbying.

      What's more? I am done with the Mayor and his hold-the-green-and-left-of-centr- banner-high-with-the-left-hand and lining the pockets of Vision's developers backers, and quite possibly his own now or in the future, with the right.

      We, as taxpayers in this city are done. No more taxes and no more making things easy for developers. In a word. NO!


      Mar 26, 2015 at 5:29pm

      We're also sick of being lied to by slick, smug, arrogant, entitled politicians who want us to do as they say, but not as they do.

      Oh Bill

      Mar 26, 2015 at 5:34pm

      Its not about more taxes. Heck, I am the one who says if you are truly serious about getting people out of cars give buses the ability to change every traffic light they are approaching and to tax the ever loving hell out of gasoline. However, I am not for that plan Or any other plan if the organization receiving the monies that are generated can't use them effectively for the projects that make sense. It's about using the taxes that they already get (and it is a hefty amount) to actually do the right things and not the stupid things. The only "halfwits" around here are the ones who won't say enough is enough. Vote NO!

      Three Words

      Mar 26, 2015 at 5:41pm

      Public Sector Compensation.

      Guilin Fish

      Mar 26, 2015 at 6:58pm

      I ride transit a lot and I do not think that the people in charge are incompetent. The system is very good! It is very strange... That perception of incompetence ...


      Mar 26, 2015 at 7:06pm

      You say TransLink only decided to look at implementing a gate system because public opinion was so against fare evasion? Where is your evidence?
      In that same vein, how many subways in those 12 European cities didn't have turnstiles?
      Maybe you've been living under a rock because the TransLink model has been disappointing Vancouverites for a long time.

      Richard Campbell

      Mar 26, 2015 at 7:58pm


      Sadly, the slickest politian is former Langley councilor Jordan Bateman who has lead a biased misinformation campaign. TransLink's main problem is they haven't stuck up for themselves in the face of this nonsense until now.

      Here is some info on the improvements they have made over the last few years.