A response to the provincal review of TransLink

Rail from the Valley


The province’s financial review was all too predictable, TransLink has problems. Well, for anyone who has tried to deal with TransLink’s bloated and arrogant bureaucracy, this is not news and the report is as I expected.

The problems with TransLink can be summed up as:

1) Building metro (SkyTrain & RAV) on routes that do not have the ridership to sustain them.

Result:  Large annual subsidies must be paid to operate the metro system.

2) Operating buses on routes that do not have the ridership to sustain them.

Result: Higher operating subsidies for West Coast Mountain Bus.

3) Offering deep discounted ticketing, in the form of U-Pass to university students.

Result: Large subsidies must be paid to offset the deep discounted student passes.

4) Political interference from the province.

Result: The province has forced and continues to force hugely expensive ‘metro’ rapid transit solutions on the region, but without any funding formula to sustain the the heavily subsidized mode.

5) lack of public input, lack of public representation at the board level.

Result: The public is stuck with expensive ‘government sponsored’ transit solutions that they do not want, or want to pay for, nor will not use. 80% of SkyTrain’s ridership first take a bus to the metro.

TransLink’s financial ills will continue and with the province’s penchant to build metro mega-projects, instead of much cheaper alternatives, means TransLink has become a financial sink-hole.

What is needed is a new approach – TransLink needs to change and maybe a Royal Commission on Urban Transportation is needed before any more taxpayers money is invested on questionable projects.

What TransLink badly needs is an independent, elected transit board made up of a transit commissioner from each municipality, elected at the same time as civic elections. An independent transit board would be directly concerned with transit issues and represent the wishes of the taxpayer. To date, the taxpayer has been seen by bureaucrats and politicians alike as a ‘milch-cow’ forever paying taxes to support projects that seem to built more for political prestige than for the public good.



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