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Translink Buzzer Blog

Many fares to increase on January 1, 2013

The fare increases taking effect on January 1, 2013. Click for a larger version.

There’s really no easy way to say this: most of our fares will be going up as of January 1, 2013.

You’re going to start seeing ads around the region soon, but here’s a chart above also showing the new costs as of January 1. (Click it for a larger version!)

Here’s the key details on the actual increase:

  • Almost all fares will rise except for all adult FareSavers and some AddFares. Here’s the full list of fare changes, including West Coast Express fare increases.
  • The Most increases reflect the cost of inflation over the past five years, at a rate of 2% per year.
  • Cash, DayPass, and short-term West Coast Express fares haven’t increased since 2008.

Why are fares going up?

This is actually a scheduled increase to fares, and was originally outlined in our 2010 Funding Stabilization work plan, aimed at supporting our operations and keep the system in a state of good repair.

That plan was approved by the Mayors’ Council in 2009 and the fare changes were reaffirmed by TransLink’s Regional Transportation Commissioner in April 2012.

Put more simply, this increase helps sustain our expanded system, which includes services like the Canada Line, and service coming on line like the bus over the Port Mann Bridge, and new B-Line service on King George Boulevard.

For more info, you might be interested in the TransLink Commissioner’s report on these fare increases, which provides a lot of background.

A couple of things to bear in mind

Remember that your monthly FareCards are tax-deductible!

As well, here’s the press release we put out about the increases. It includes some facts about transit that are worth repeating here:

  • Fares make up 33% of TransLink’s revenue.
  • In 2011, TransLink served 233 million rides; 14 million of these rides were delivered at no extra cost by moving existing resources to where they were needed most and serve more customers.
  • TransLink has added or is adding 109,000 new service hours, including a new express bus service over the Port Mann Bridge and new B-Line service on King George Boulevard.
  • TransLink’s service area is almost 3,000 square kilometres, making it one of the largest and most unique in North America. TransLink is the only transportation authority to provide an integrated network of services that traverses urban areas, agricultural land, protected greenspace, mountains and water.
  • 80 per cent more rides have been served over the last decade with only 45 per cent more service.
  • In the last three years, transit ridership has outpaced population growth—a 17-per cent increase in ridership compared to a six-per cent increase in population.
  • As a result, transit’s share of all trips taken in Metro Vancouver has grown by 40 per cent over the last 10 years—from 10 per cent to 14 per cent.

98 Comments

  • By Donald, November 13, 2012 @ 2:33 pm

    I have a general comment, why are 3 zone fares only 90 minutes? A 3 zone trip and even some 2 zone trips can easily exceed that. UBC to Aldergrove for example can take up to three hours. If you’re paying more, you should at least get a bit of extra time to complete the trip. 120 minutes for 2 zone and 150 minutes for 3 zone.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, November 13, 2012 @ 2:35 pm

    Donald: I’ll see if I can find an answer to that. Generally though, with Compass card coming online next year, we will have more flexibility to change the way fares are administered. Not that I’m saying we will extend the times — just that it is more possible with a smart card!

  • By SS, November 13, 2012 @ 3:02 pm

    Why would anyone buy two 3-zone fares for the round-trip if a daypass is actually cheaper? I guess this is not the case now as there’s no fare increase for faresavers, but I guess that’s going to be discontinued after Compass card coming online late next year?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, November 13, 2012 @ 3:43 pm

    Donald: So from what I’m told, we’re bound by our fare tariff, which specifies 90 minutes. However, I am told that the tariff does say as long as you get on the bus when your transfer is valid, you are allowed to stay on for the remainder of your journey even if the transfer expires while you’re on board. So that does probably help with longer uninterrupted journeys around the region. And yes, I’m told that Compass will allow us more flexibility with these kinds of things next year.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, November 13, 2012 @ 3:44 pm

    SS: Are you asking whether DayPasses will be discontinued under Compass? They should still be in place when Compass starts up next year.

  • By TF, November 13, 2012 @ 4:03 pm

    How will increasing the fare prices help increase the number of people who choose to take public transit? I mean, as of how things are now, it is a lot cheaper for many people to drive. Perhaps it would be better if you increase the number of routes and decrease the prices of tickets.

  • By Graham, November 13, 2012 @ 4:08 pm

    At first my heart skipped a beat reading this, because I’m lucky if I can afford transit as it is, any big fare increases could pose a real problem. I don’t drive, nor can I afford to, so transit is really all I have. However I am quite glad that Faresavers are staying the same price, for now, so I’m not sweating too badly.

    That being said, I have two questions about this:

    1.) I have a few $9 DayPasses saved on hand just in case. If I don’t use them by January’s fare increase, will I still be able to use them?

    2.) I notice that chart doesn’t mention WCE fares. Will they be going up in January, too?

  • By SS, November 13, 2012 @ 4:09 pm

    I meant for the faresaver, since it is essentially being replaced with paying with pre-loaded Compass card.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, November 13, 2012 @ 4:17 pm

    Graham: For 1) You can still use old DayPasses and FareSavers even if the fare increase has already taken effect. This happened during our last fare increase in 2010—FareSaver prices were increasing on April 1, 2010, so lots of people stocked up on FareSavers at the cheaper price before that.

    For 2), WCE fares are going up in January as well. Check out the Fare Changes Page on the website, which includes all the fare increases including West Coast Express.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, November 13, 2012 @ 4:18 pm

    SS: FareSavers should still be in effect when Compass comes around, as we aren’t planning to change the fare structure at the same time that we implement Compass. That is, you’d buy a book of FareSavers but it would be theoretically preloaded onto your card, rather than a physical book of tickets.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, November 13, 2012 @ 4:27 pm

    TF: Unfortunately the fare increases are not a means of encouraging higher ridership. They do however help us keep the system we have running in good shape. Over the past five years, the cost of running the system has gone up owing to inflation and more, but the cost of transit fares has not. The increases bring them more into alignment.

    Cars can be cheaper and more convenient than transit for some people depending on location. BCAA does report the cost of owning and maintaining a car in 2012 can range from ~$6000-$8000, so in terms of cost it can also be quite a bit more than transit.

  • By Adam, November 13, 2012 @ 4:29 pm

    From Translink Facebook:

    “The new fares reflect inflation costs over the past five years, at a rate of 2% per year.”

    This would be all well and good if our last fare bump was 5 years ago…

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, November 13, 2012 @ 4:34 pm

    Adam: Well, the last time cash fares, DayPasses, and short-term West Coast Express fares increased was five years ago in 2008. Only FareSavers and monthly passes were increased in 2010.

  • By Scott, November 13, 2012 @ 6:32 pm

    So one-zone farecards are going up 12% from 2010. That was when they went up a bit under 11%. In the span of three years, they’ll have gone from $73 to $91, which certainly doesn’t reflect inflation.

    I support transit. I understand that fares have to go up, and I even accept that raising monthly pass prices is probably better for Translink as it taps into regular users. But I see you throwing money away on faregates that will never pay for themselves, then turning around and raising my fares by four times the rate of inflation, and I have to wonder what the heck you’re thinking.

  • By zack, November 13, 2012 @ 6:56 pm

    I’m just looking at these numbers at ease, thanks to my U-Pass!! LOL :D

  • By t, November 13, 2012 @ 7:27 pm

    Fares are going up, and how much are the execs getting paid? What kind of cars are they driving? OH, they don’t take transit? Do they?

    I also think that the “zones” are unfair, and should be abolished if that hasn’t been in the plan. And why don’t you make the downtown core free? Calgary’s is free, Portland’s is free. It’s not like it’s very big. You guys are the keystone cops of transit. Funny, but not so much.

  • By t, November 13, 2012 @ 7:29 pm

    I also haven’t had a raise in 5 years. So, how is it that you guys get to get one through us?

  • By Christopher, November 13, 2012 @ 8:03 pm

    Okay, fare increases and the splurge on turnstiles are a stick – where’s the carrot?

  • By Deano, November 13, 2012 @ 8:05 pm

    t: Portland began charging a fare on downtown buses a couple of years ago, and as of September 1 on the LRT as well. No free lunch there.

  • By Deano, November 13, 2012 @ 8:09 pm

    Donald: why are 3 zone fares only good for 90 minutes?
    Jhen: So from what I’m told, we’re bound by our fare tariff, which specifies 90 minutes.

    It’s TransLink’s tariff, why can’t TransLink change it ?

  • By Julio Aguilar, November 13, 2012 @ 8:13 pm

    Wow. 170! Big number. Gonna try to stay a student forever!

    Has anyone ever studied the idea of increasing the regular fares but keeping all the Prepaid fares the same(or lower)? Maybe it will encourage casual users to purchase the prepaid fares.

  • By Kevin, November 13, 2012 @ 8:49 pm

    If we are coming from Richmond and going to Vancouver with the new compass card, do we need to pay extra fees? Like, for the concession monthly pass, we don’t need to pay extra fees to transfer.

  • By Sam McMug, November 13, 2012 @ 9:00 pm

    I very much like the increase … I really hope this increase will reduce the number of people using Translink …. and I can then sit or sleep in the buses or skytrains more comfortably … :) I don’t mind to pay more if Translink can provide less-crowded and more frequent services …

  • By amy, November 13, 2012 @ 9:02 pm

    These increases are just ridiculous. If you make the fares the same for all of the zones, you would have less people harping about the hikes. I highly doubt that the service will get any better. It’s only going to get worst with the ever growing population.

  • By Jack, November 13, 2012 @ 9:28 pm

    I am disappointed in the message Translink puts out to justify its increases. It says that it is allowed to increase fares at two-per-cent per year to cover inflation. That may apply to cash fares which purportedly have not changed in five years. However, monthly passes were changed less than three years ago. A six-per-cent increase in fare for three years would amount to $4.86 on a one-zone pass, not the $10 it is going up (amounting to a 12.3-per-cent increase). Please explain the inconsistency for the rate increase for monthly passes.

  • By Brenda, November 13, 2012 @ 10:34 pm

    I fully understand and appreciate paying for the maintenance of public transportation. But these fare increases seem random at best and certainly don’t abide with the 2% increase per year rule. Someone needs to go back and do some math. As well, monthly pass rates should be priced at a rate that is an incentive to purchase the month’s worth as opposed to buying one book of tickets at a time. I’ll keep that in mind during February when it will be cheaper for me to buy 4 books of Faresavers to get to work rather than buy a 1 zone pass. I hope that this fare announcement receives a large backlash because Translink needs to step up and start explaining.

  • By Joey Connick, November 13, 2012 @ 11:59 pm

    It’s so lovely, after TransLink was completely denied by the TransLink Commissioner when they attempted to raise fares by something like 12.5% across the board, that they’ve now chosen to punish their core riders by foisting an on-average 12.4% increase on monthly passholders since monthly fares aren’t regulated by the Commission (a hugely glaring oversight, apparently). It’s especially insulting given that, unlike cash fares, monthly fares were last raised in 2010, not in 2008 which is the timeframe being touted. That works out to something like 4% a year for monthly passes, which is double the 2% inflation figure being bandied about.

    Classy.

  • By Scott, November 14, 2012 @ 12:02 am

    Can’t wait till a new government overhauls Translink and figures out how to run a transportation system properly.

    12% more for a pass, yet there isn’t anywhere near that much more service in Surrey.

    How about cutting back ridiculous slack time in routes at night and on Sundays? I’ve seen bus drivers on break for 20/30 minutes after some trips in Surrey at night.

  • By Eugene Wong, November 14, 2012 @ 12:53 am

    Do cyclists pay for their bike paths? Have they kept up with inflation?

    Do drivers pay for their freedom? Have they kept up with inflation?

    We need a new marketing department. They are struggling to fill empty buses.

  • By Eugene Wong, November 14, 2012 @ 12:57 am

    By the way, everybody, with the tax deduction of the month passes, it is ideal to buy that instead of the FareSavers, if you are taking around 20 round trips per month. The line is probably closer to 17 or so. I can’t be bothered to do the math.

    Also, bear in mind that there is a big convenience of taking short spontaneous trips, when you have a month pass, because you don’t have to think about whether that short transit trip is worth the cost of the FareSaver.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, November 14, 2012 @ 7:28 am

    Deano: Yes, you are indeed right, we could change the fare tariff as you described in your earlier comment. With Compass coming next year, however, we’re reluctant to make any big changes to the fare tariff, in order to ease the transition period. Also, once we have better travel pattern data from the Compass program, we’ll be better able to make effective changes to the tariff.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, November 14, 2012 @ 7:31 am

    Scott, Jack, Brenda, Joey: I’ll ask about the increases as related to the inflation rate and get back to you on that.

  • By charlie, November 14, 2012 @ 7:46 am

    So you tell us cash fares, daypasses and short term west coast express fare increased was 5 years ago. The monthly pass was increased in 2010. You’re raising the price in 2013, it hasn’t been 5 years. Transit keeps increasing the price, people’s salary aren’t going up the same percentage as everything, pretty soon, nobody can afford to ride transit, then what where will you get your money to pay your CEO’s huge salaries and big bonuses?

  • By rick, November 14, 2012 @ 8:01 am

    Monthly WCE passes increased by 11% in October,2010.Two years later its increasing another 12.5%. How is this the cost of inflation of 2% per year

  • By Donald, November 14, 2012 @ 8:05 am

    Back in 2007 I paid just $252 from Mission to Vancouver, then it went up to $269. $335 is just insane, approximately 5.5% per year, with no increase in service… no wait cancel that, a decrease in service, they cancelled weekend Trainbus service last year.

  • By Jerry, November 14, 2012 @ 2:09 pm

    Six words that would make Translink cringed … “External Auditors not appointed by Translink”

    The problem with Translink is that we don’t have access to their operational or financial records for us to review to see if any cost increases, spending, or efficiencies are justified or working.

    We need to have the public appoint an external auditor outside of the ones (ie. not the big 4 firms) that Translink or related parties they use to do a comprehensive audit of financials, operational efficiences, and management.

  • By Jerry, November 14, 2012 @ 2:12 pm

    Translink mathematics

    price increase = deliver less service for amount of increase

    No concreted baseline to justify price increase.

    Free advice to translink

    Install faregates (25 years too late)
    Wait 2 years to gather data (now you have a baseline)
    Analyze numbers

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, November 14, 2012 @ 2:36 pm

    Scott, Jack, Brenda, Joey, charlie, rick, Donald:

    I’ve asked about the fare increases as related to the inflation rate now and the response from our planning team is below. My apologies, but it seems I overgeneralized when I said all rates were increasing at a rate of 2% per year over the last 5 years (and I’ve corrected the post above). Only short-term fares are increasing to reflect inflation at a rate of 2% per year for the last five years, due to legislative restriction. The rest is explained below (along with some good history about the process):

    The legislation limiting our fare increases applies only to “short-term” fares, which are those products with a validity period of 3-days or less (i.e. cash fares, faresavers, daypasses, and one-way and return tickets on WCE). Other products can be increased at TransLink’s discretion.

    The 2010 Funding Stabilization Plan called for an across-the board 12.5% increase to all products in 2013. This required commissioner approval, since some cash and all FareSaver prices were proposed to go up by more than the 2%-per-year.

    The Commissioner denied our application to increase short-term fares. This meant that cash could only go up by 10.4% (2% per year compounded over 5 years) rather than 12.5%, and FareSavers had to stay as they are (with the exception of Concession FareSavers which were increased by 50 cents per 10-ticket booklet, to reach the maximum allowable increase). The increases to Monthly pass prices proposed in the 2010 plan for 2013 did not require Commissioner approval. In order to meet revenue needs, those prices will be increased as proposed (i.e. by 12.5%).

  • By User, November 14, 2012 @ 6:57 pm

    @ All

    This is a very touchy subject of course, apologies if I am blunt.

    For those of you complaining that you haven’t had a raise, there could be a few things for that. Your workplace bases their raises off of performance and you don’t meet raise standards. They base it on annual work (as mine gives an annual review and an according raise, unless you are at the cap for the position). Or they don’t do one. None of these are Translinks problem, so they are irrelevant. Take up your wage issue’s with your employer. Just because your employer isn’t giving you a raise to combat inflation, doesn’t mean Translink shouldn’t do it. Find a new job or fight for your wages/raises.

    For those complaining about the CEO’s and such:

    TransLink Statement on Executive Compensation
    “TransLink’s program offers an incentive pay component, in which executives can earn up to 15% of their annual pay. The incentive is non-pensionable and similar to the new salary holdback policy change. The incentive is neither automatic nor guaranteed, and is tied to achieving both corporate and individual performance goals and targets. If these conditions are met, the amount for which each individual qualifies is assessed. If these conditions are not met, no incentive is paid.”
    This means that part of their salary is actually held back, and they only get that part of their salary if they meet certain criteria. These are the ‘bonuses’ that people often think of. It’s actually just these people doing their job to the point of earning what’s held back of their salary. Also, if you don’t think CEO’s make a ton of money what planet are you on? All CEO’s, anywhere make a lot of money. Do people complain about fast food CEO’s when the food increases? Probably. It’s the way the average person vents and complains. It doesn’t change the fact that being a CEO or any board of directors is a stressful, difficult job. It is worthy of a high paying salary. A high paying salary also helps attract the best in field so to speak. This helps Translink have associates that are worth the money, vs people who half-ass things for mediocre pay considering their position.

    As for the fare increase itself: I am not happy. Who is ever happy when they find out they have to pay more? At the same time, I would rather pay a bit more than have a drastic reduction in service. Day fares are barely going up, .25 – .50 isn’t anything to fret about. What can you buy for that little of change? Compounded, sure it could add up over a month. But so does everything people do (Coffee etc monthly is a crazy cost). With very minor alterations, I’m sure you could come up with .25 – .50 a day. Finding out how much you would spend as to if monthly cards would save you money or not is something you have to do again. Big deal. As Eugene said, it is tax refundable which is great and offers piece of mine. You could even buy a 1 month then upgrade when needed, but at least you would have transportation in your main municipality at all times.

    I do like Eugene’s point-out on bike lanes. Perhaps charge bikers a fee to use bike lanes or something all though it would defeat the purpose of it being a free-method of travel. Maybe a one-time purchase of a bike-lane pass or something, or annually, anything would help bring in some kind of money. It could also be a time where hand-outs of bike information could be handed out to those who use the lane’s. Streamline some ‘guidelines’ on safe use or what proper safety gear looks like etc.

    Thank you to the editors who always do their best to get the answers to the questions.

    User.

    Sorry for the long post.. heh

  • By Scott, November 14, 2012 @ 9:57 pm

    @User

    Cyclists pay property tax and other taxes that go towards transportation infrastructure (as does everyone who pays local and provincial taxes, of course). The amount spent on infrastructure for cyclists is considerably lower than the percentage of trips taken on bicycles, so there’s no particular need to charge them more; they are in fact subsidizing people who travel by automobile, as the vast majority of public money for transportation is spent on roads and other infrastructure used primarily by cars – far more than the actual share of trips made by car. Same applies to pedestrians, and to a lesser extent to transit users – non-car users subsidize drivers, and have for many years. If we apportioned transportation expenditures in accordance with how people travel, Translink’s funding issues would disappear (and we’d build vastly more cycling and pedestrian infrastructure).

    @Jhenifer – thanks for clarifying that. Please ask the appropriate folks at Translink to revise their media releases to indicate that monthly pass holders are paying an increase far higher than the rate of inflation (just as they did when monthly farecards went up in 2010). Thanks.

  • By Allen, November 15, 2012 @ 12:38 pm

    Hey Jhenifer, how would the U-Pass work when the Compass card gets implemented in the fall? It would great if you could offer some insight into that. Will U-Pass holders still have a unlimited travel? Will we have to tap in and tap off?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, November 15, 2012 @ 1:24 pm

    Allen: as far as I know, everyone will have to tap in, tap off, U-Pass holders included! The U-Pass will just be loaded onto the card like a monthly pass, allowing unlimited travel around the system with the time period specified.

  • By Eugene Wong, November 15, 2012 @ 2:58 pm

    @ User

    I disagree about high salaries attracting talent. Those types of jobs only attract corrupt people who are out of touch with mainstream needs.

    Here is an example of a president who doesn’t have much money.
    http://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/canada-politics/world-poorest-president-canadian-politicians-could-learn-him-180711485.html
    He gives away most of his money to match the income of the average person.

    Studies have shown that the best price to pay somebody for non-repetitive tasks is enough so that money is not on their minds, while they work, and not so much that it distracts them. For the latter imagine a game show, where you could win a trillion dollars. You only have to do ____ in ten seconds!!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc

    Not mentioned in the video is the fact that basing decisions on high salaries tends to put a damper on hiring people with passion. Would you hire somebody who is passionate about transit, and pay him $100k to $300k? Chances are he won’t use transit.

    People who earn that much money tend to poo poo over simple ideas, because those simple ideas don’t make much money. See “The Innovator’s Dilemma”, and “The Innovator’s Solution”. There are two kinds of innovation, and I believe that the big executives often can’t adapt to the kinds that people like us need.

    The bottom line is that these guys don’t bring good value for the money.

    Another thing not mentioned is that many of these CEOs base their salaries on the salaries of other CEOs who have a completely irrelevant skill set.

    Another thing not mentioned is that many CEOs are on boards that approve the salaries of their fellow CEOs, and vice versa. These means that they just need to scratch each others backs.

    What determines a good goal? I’ll show up and have coffee. Achievement! Do I get my bonus now?

    Regarding fund raising for cyclists, I honestly don’t understand why the government doesn’t have some equivalent of a bake sale, where things are informal and what have you. Along as they pay for the expenses of their initiatives, then why not?

    Nobody pay fares for a fare zone in an elevator. The building owner is the first to pay, and then he passes on the expenses to the renters/leasers/whatever. Then they pass on their expenses or just absorb the cost.

    I think that the closest that we’ll get to that is having a system based entirely or most on property taxes.

    A problem with that is that it would not be tax deductible. An advantage is that we would only see it once per year, if I understand correctly, as opposed to once per month.

    Honestly, my biggest complaint is that Translink doesn’t try to bring in new customers on empty trips. It’s disgraceful.

  • By Sheba, November 15, 2012 @ 3:55 pm

    User: I get where you’re coming from and I actually agree with a lot of it. Whenever there’s a fare increase people are going to complain. Poor people especially as they don’t have any other options. How many people here will walk for over an hour instead of taking a bus – that’s what some people are forced to do. A small increase is going to mean taking transit or eating even less than they already do.

    As Scott mentioned, cyclists already pay taxes towards roads and then can barely ride on them unless they have a death wish. I could rant about how riding a bicycle makes you a second class citizen – ride on a street that has anything resembling traffic and you’re an invisible moving target, but if you ride on the sidewalk pedestrians tell you off (and then those pedestrians insist on walking all over bike paths). Cyclists can’t win.

    One thing I dread is the idea of Victoria taking over transit planning. I’m old enough to remember taking a bus before TransLink and it was horrible! Can you say “all roads lead to Rome”? Almost the entire system was about traveling into/out of Vancouver. I grew up in N Delta over by Scottsdale Mall and the only ways to get from there to Richmond by bus were:
    1) take an infrequent bus through the Massey tunnel so you could get to the very southern part of Richmond
    2) go to New West and take the infrequent #100 milk run across and then switch at Marpole or
    3) head downtown and get an express bus from Vancouver to Richmond

    No matter which one you took (and number 3 was the fastest option) it took 2-3 hours *each way*. Meanwhile you could drive it in 30-45 minutes.

    Rome might as well have been planning our bus routes for us. While I don’t have an issue with considering Victoria dealing with funding, I have a huge issue with them doing route planning.

    As has been mentioned on here before, having TransLink responsible for pretty much all ground based transportation and having them responsible for funding was a bad decision. Better would be to split drivers/road & bridge building from transit and cycling. Both groups would get X amount of money for a set period of time and wouldn’t be able to get any more. How long would it take for drivers to complain about there not being enough money…

  • By Eugene Wong, November 15, 2012 @ 3:56 pm

    @ User

    I thought of more.

    Are you saying that an executive who is paid $1,000,000 is that many more times brighter than an executive who is paid $100,000?

    If that’s the case, then I’d expect some CEOs to say, “How much are you offering? I ask, because I might not be bright enough to match your offer.”

    Also, we might only need $10,000 of “brightness”?

    Speaking of which, what is it that they do? I remember one guy riding around all day, asking uninformed people for ideas and thoughts. If I recall correctly, I am only 95% as bright as he is, and I’m willing to do his job for 90% of his salary. He isn’t held accountable for his decisions, so why would I be?

    Speaking of 90%, they aren’t unionized, so why aren’t they desperately out bidding each other for the best CEO jobs? The reason for that is because they don’t have to perform, and they are guaranteed a minimum amount of money. If somebody paid me $75,000 to not do my job, then I would complain and fuss just to make it look like I’m not laughing all the way to the bank.

    The bottom line is that they don’t care about the consequences of their decisions. If they fail, then they get fired. If they get fired, then they get a great compensation package, and a wonderful apology. Of course, the next desperate organization will hire the unfortunate executive to waste money.

  • By Sheba, November 15, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

    Eugene: I previously suggested trying a Kickstarter type campaign to do some of the much needed upgrades to Expo Line stations – when do I get my salary bonus? ;P

  • By Eugene Wong, November 15, 2012 @ 4:07 pm

    @ Sheba

    What you say about BC Transit might be true, but they did have planners in the GVRD, who focused on the GVRD. Those same planners transitioned into Translink. If I understand correctly, it was a planning issue, and at the time, people just didn’t travel by transit very much.

    My uncle sat me down, and tried to get me to buy a car, because he didn’t think girls would be interested in guys, who didn’t have one. These days, we’re starting see an emergence of people who don’t even have drivers licenses. So, we’re really dealing with a better crop of people. BC Transit also acknowledged the change in demographics, before the transition.

    If we were to go back to BC Transit, then I bet that we would see a more responsive organization. Don’t quote me on that, though. It’s just that we would have less layers of government.

    What might help is the opportunity to transition between different organizational configurations, according to the stage of growth that we are in. Sometimes, being subject to a mayors council is the right thing to do. Other times, they need to zip it. It’s the same with the province. They don’t always need to dictate. There are trade offs, and being able to adapt would help people to make better decisions.

  • By Eugene Wong, November 15, 2012 @ 4:10 pm

    @ Sheba

    Kickstarter is a very good idea! Letting the people donate according to their desire works out for the better. I noticed that there is a lot of art in the Mellenium Line. The money could have been used for something else. If Translink were to think of the stations as galleries, and then let the art community raise money via Kickstarter or Indiegogo, then we would have a much more responsive system.

    I check with the board of directors to see if you can get your bonus.
    .
    .
    .
    They said no. ;^P

  • By Sheba, November 15, 2012 @ 7:11 pm

    Eugene: Having lived through BC Transit before, I really doubt they’d be much better now. One reason less people took transit then is that it was really poor, esp if you wanted to go anywhere other than Vancouver. The idea of having better than 30 minute service anywhere in Surrey was a crazy impossible dream.

    What if (crazy impossible ideas coming up) TransLink actually looked at the many ideas people have sent them and actually considered them instead of just foldering them. Or what if once a season they actually held an open meeting with the public (easy to do with technology nowadays) where they had to answer why they are/aren’t doing what has been suggested to them.

    Awww, I want my bonuses (every time I mention them I get another one). ;P

  • By Sheba, November 15, 2012 @ 8:04 pm

    “Big city mayors pledge to match federal infrastructure cash”

    The federation says $1 billion of it should be dedicated to fighting gridlock that it says costs the Canadian economy $10 billion a year in lost productivity.

    … Mayors can point to the provincial and federal governments, who have bigger budgets from which to fund major projects like an LRT, and premiers and federal politicians can point back to the mayors, who are responsible for infrastructure.

    “And we can do it all day – inter-jurisdictional buck-passing. And the LRT doesn’t get built,” Nenshi said.
    http://news.ca.msn.com/top-stories/big-city-mayors-pledge-to-match-federal-infrastructure-cash-1

    Once again most transit projects aren’t considered…

  • By User, November 15, 2012 @ 10:07 pm

    @ Eugene

    Valid points. A lot of what you said about the CEO’s I’ve never heard of, especially the guy that gives it all away. Inspiring. I can see what you mean about the differences between paying them too little vs too much vs the middle ground. I would have to agree with your points over my original post regarding CEO’s. I was not implying that they are smarter or anything of the sort than others, just typically you see people that have more qualifications making more money etc. The CEO’s that bother me the most are one for charitable organizations.

    @All

    I was un-aware of what cyclists currently deal with, as I sadly don’t cycle. It’s a good eye opener to what those individuals go through all ready. It’s great to hear from people so passionate about transit. You guys put the other side of the fence in perspective and pitch things that I have not thought of.

    User

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, November 16, 2012 @ 9:28 am

    Hey Eugene: you know we have always appreciated your contributions here on the blog and are grateful that you take the time to share your thoughtful comments on our many issues. However, I just wanted to flag that your comment here is coming really close to violating our participation guidelines.

    I do understand your frustration with high compensation, but elements of your comment are alluding to the notion that our management is corrupt, which is not true and really a very serious thing to allege. For performance indicators, I can point you to theindependent provincial audit of TransLink, which illustrates we are doing reasonably well given our constraints. Minister of Transportation Mary Polak even calls us “well-run” in a Richmond Review article. As well, here’s the provincial Comptroller-General’s report from 2009. That report indicates that our executive compensation was reviewed and considered reasonable, though the number of executives was high — and since then, we have greatly reduced our executive numbers.

    High salaries are always a lightning rod for criticism. And like you, I don’t expect that every person paid a high amount is always providing that value back in any organization. But I don’t expect that everyone paid this amount is not providing any value at all. I’d instead like to raise some factors to also consider in these discussions.

    First, leadership sets a powerful tone and direction for an organization, and leadership ability is a skill that not everyone has in equal amounts. I’m not saying that we all have it here at TransLink at extremely high levels: but just that as a scarce quantity, it ends up being priced as such. Second, the downside to any job is something to consider—often positions are compensated highly when risk and pressure are high, like air traffic controllers etc.

    Sorry for all the admonishments—-again, I really do appreciate your contributions here, and you know I don’t do this sort of thing very often. I just want to make sure our conversation stays fair and focused on the blog so we continue to have a high level of debate and discussion!

  • By Harry the Hungry Hippo, November 16, 2012 @ 11:31 am

    Thanks Jhenifer for the explanation of the increase in monthly passes vs. the rate of inflation. I think it’s telling that there are zero ‘likes’ despite the good information.

    It’s interesting to read some poignant comments in the Translink Commission’s decision which appear to have been ignored:

    “The public’s comments are a sharp reminder that an above-inflation fare increase will be met with dismay and cause hardship, especially among those of limited means and dependent on transit.” (section 4.1) and

    “Large hikes can create price shocks and are undesirable; other things being equal, smaller, more frequent fare increases are preferable from a market perspective.” (section 4.2)

    I suspect that the day Translink announces a cash fare increase but monthly passes will remain unchanged is the day that porcine animals are observed in the air space above their headquarters.

  • By Joey Connick, November 16, 2012 @ 11:35 am

    Actully Harry, for the last few years, TransLink has alternated between raising cash fares and raising pre-paid fares, which is probably one of the reasons this fare hike in Jan 2013 is going to be go over like a lead balloon. When cash fares were raised in 2008, I don’t believe pre-paid fares (FareCards, FareSavers, and daypasses) were and, vice versa in 2010, when pre-paid fares were raised then, cash fares weren’t.

    So pigs have already flown, in your example.

  • By Sheba, November 16, 2012 @ 12:24 pm

    One of the common frustrations (which I mentioned in my crazy ideas) is about how it seems that TransLink doesn’t even consider public suggestions about routes/route changes. Eugene has suggested changes (on here and directly sent to TransLink) about routes in Surrey, Cliff and a few others have suggested changes for Coquitlam, I’ve suggested changes for New West and Burnaby – and I’ll be very surprised if any of them is in the service optimization announcement next week.

    Being excluded leads to frustration, and this is the only place we have to vent. Is it really so crazy that after all of our attempts to help improve the transit system and getting the sound of silence as a reply, that we react angrily when we get news of a fare increase with no transit improvements to go with it?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, November 16, 2012 @ 2:57 pm

    Sheba: No, it’s certainly not wrong to feel frustrated if something you want isn’t getting done. But from our side, planning the service does come with its own set of challenges that can slow things down. For example, we can only change service at 4 scheduled times per year; there’s sometimes political sensitivities around certain routes; there can be behind-the-scenes employee issues to think about (ie: changing from a Community Shuttle to a conventional bus and vice versa changes the type of licensed operator we can put in those roles, which may present scheduling and contract issues); we need to do public consultation months before any changes happen; etc, etc.

    And while of course you guys are smart and have great ideas and we always pass them on, I know our planning staff still has to weigh your specific requests against the concerns we hear from other customers and stakeholders on a specific route, and considering employee work that will be affected. By that I mean, we can’t just totally reroute a service based on one person requesting it—even if they’re quite vehement about it—if most stakeholders are OK with how they line up. Not to say that you’re asking for that—it is obviously an extreme example—but balancing concerns of the few vs the many is a big part of the process. Nonetheless, as concerned riders, you absolutely should continue to lobby for changes you feel strongly about, and if there is strong evidence that it has larger support, there should be changes.

  • By Eugene Wong, November 16, 2012 @ 5:05 pm

    @ Jhenifer

    I appreciate the warning, especially since this is the second time. I’ll try to reign it in, but I don’t know how successful I’ll be.

    I find it telling that you resorted to using Mary Polack as your source for a positive light. A brief search combined with a brief skim, shows that she seems to make over $100,000/year.
    http://www.leg.bc.ca/mla/remuneration/indemnities_and_allowances.htm
    Maybe I misinterpret that. If so, then please correct me.

    I personally categorize as “rich” anybody who makes over $50,000, which includes bus drivers, but they get me from point A to B. I consider executives and planners to be gate keepers that keep me out.

    How am I supposed to trust the word of somebody who makes over $100,000/year? She has an opportunity to do great work, but how I do know that she isn’t trying to protect herself by ensuring that she is surrounded by those who she can work with or control? How does she measure the success rate of those whom she compliments?

    I had never even considered aiming my sights on a politician until you mentioned it, so please don’t think that it’s an attack on any politician or minister. I deliberately didn’t read up about her, because she isn’t my focus.

    I’m just baffled that anybody can speak out say, “Yep. That person is legit.”.

    I applaud the efforts of Translink to reduce the executive. I appreciate the reminder.

    As grateful as I am, it still doesn’t confirm to me, that the right people left. You speak about setting the tone. Well, how do you interview for that? “His tone is higher and bigger, so he can set a better tone, so we’ll go with him.”? When I watched those videos that you sent, I felt that those people were unapproachable in the sense that if I bothered to talk to them, then it would be a waste of time.

  • By Eugene Wong, November 16, 2012 @ 5:30 pm

    @ Jhenifer

    Not all changes have had public consultations in the recent past, as far as I can remember. Are you saying that for *every* single change, there has been at least *1* public consultation that was announced ahead of time?

    Regarding stakeholders, how do I go about figuring out who the stakeholders are for a given route?

    @ All

    One thing that is so pitiful about many processes is that it involves getting somebody, who doesn’t care about your incentives, to rally for you.

    I picture the planners doing something like this.

    “Mr. Stakeholder, somebody wants a route realignment. Sorry to bother you about that. It must get annoying to have us call you about route alignments, when you’d rather be doing other things. That guy thinks that it would be best if we moved the route from here to there, and it would affect you. You wouldn’t be interested in that, would you?” said Mr. Planner, who shook his head. “I highly recommend that you don’t. It would be a lot of frustration, and you’d be losing out. Should I mark you down as, ‘No!’?”

    @ Jhenifer

    You could tell me that the planners don’t do that kind of stuff, but how do I know that their biases don’t creep into the information? This type of challenge is a problem to the planners. If nobody asked for those changes, then the planners could work on the changes that interested them, and life would be easier. They could just say, “Mr. Stakeholder, it’s in our best interest to do ____. Do you have any objections…? Okay, that’s not good enough. We’re going to do it anyways.”.

    To get a planner to consult the stakeholders and public about an issue is to ask them to create more work for themselves.

    Also, when they consult the public, is there a double blindness involved? Maybe [and I could be wrong about this] the people asking the public should be a neutral third party that has no clue about what is best. The people interested in it should be able to have access to all the stakeholders, to be able to sell the stakeholders on the advantages and disadvantages. How could we have a healthy debate about it, when the planners can just deny us what we want in one short conversation?

    It just baffles me that the planners are supposed to raise interest in the stakeholders for every suggestion. From my experience, the planners deliberately folder an idea just to avoid the public consultation.

    If you could tell us how to figure out who the stakeholders are for any idea that we come up with, then I’ll appreciate it.

  • By Eugene Wong, November 16, 2012 @ 6:19 pm

    @ All

    I discovered a way for Zone 3 people to save money.

    Before the #555 and the #595 were available, crossing the river in Zone 3 was really hard. I think that the Albion ferry was the only option, and the amount of walking that was required put a damper on things.

    With these 2 buses, people can go north and south, using a 1 zone fare, and in less time.

    So, for some people, even though the fares go up, the total cost for the rider goes down.

    From what I recall, Braid Station is in Zone 2 & Zone 3, and Lougheed Station, as well.

    Please pass this on!

    If you know of any other money saving tips for riders, then please say so.

  • By Eugene Wong, November 16, 2012 @ 6:23 pm

    @ Translink

    Maybe it would generate good will and support, if you made Columbia Station into zone 2/3, so that we could connect, without paying an extra fare.

    I think that that might be wise for many SkyTrain stations. Putting the station on the boundary, instead of next to the boundary would make riding more affordable.

    If the answer is “No!”, then please let us know what the obstacles are, and not just why not.

  • By Sheba, November 16, 2012 @ 7:35 pm

    Eugene: There’s one way to get some answers, but they’re not likely to be from TransLink. Many years ago I would send e-mails about upgrading the BC Parkway (the bike path that follows the Expo Line). I rarely received a reply, and the token time I did it was a form letter full of words that said nothing.

    So with that not working, I went to my nearby community police station and asked them who I should contact. Now obviously this wasn’t a police matter but they would have more access to people than you or I do. When I talked to them again later I discovered the way to go about doing it was to e-mail your local mayor (you’ll be able to find the mayor’s office e-mail pretty easily online) as they sit on the TransLink board, as well as which transit e-mail address to send it to. That last bit of info was difficult for even the police to find out and they were only told grudgingly (yes, they said that). I’ll include the e-mail address at the bottom.

    Since then I’ve received replies from the city (Burnaby in my case) but only once from TransLink (and it was still pretty much a form letter). Still sending it to both shows that you want both sides to know what you’re asking/saying.

    When you look up the mayor’s e-mail, look to see when their council meetings are and try to send your message to them a week before a meeting (they’ll undoubtedly talk about it at the council meeting) to speed up their talking about it and replying to you. You’ll also have to include your first & last name and your address.

    The TransLink e-mail to use is: custrel@coastmountainbus.com

  • By User, November 16, 2012 @ 8:32 pm

    @ Eugene

    About the boundaries: I hope that when the compass card comes out Translink thinks about removing the boundaries all together. I am unsure exactly how the compass card will charge riders if they do, perhaps distance or time, but it wouldn’t make sense for them to move them if they do intend on removing them. Otherwise people will just have to adjust to a short term program, to have to ajust to a new one shortly (hopefully) after. With that said..

    @ Jhenifer

    Is removing the boundaries something Translink has thought about? If so, what are the potential options about billing, if any have been thought up? I do hope that with a smart card something as primitive as boundaries will be removed from the system. Of course after the transition is complete.

    User

  • By Eugene Wong, November 16, 2012 @ 9:11 pm

    @ User

    Good point.

    Just for sake of curiosity, I wonder if the boundaries actually might encourage transit use in a reverse psychology kind of way. If people find a way to save a few bucks, then will they feel like they are cheating the system, and then use it more?

    With the zoneless system, I wonder what we will compare our fares to. How will we know if we are getting a good deal?

    @ All

    I give up [sort of ;^D].

    I kind of felt guilty about commenting on the CEO. I felt guilty about hinting at anything bad just because he earned $100,000/year. Just for kicks to get an honest look at how much he makes, I did a search.
    http://taxpayer.com/blog/18-07-2012/bc-translink-salaries-skyrocket

    * $48.9 million in salaries for 2011
    * CEO earned $352,242 in 2011 [8.72% increase since 2010; the article seems to have calculated the percentage incorrectly; please correct me if I'm wrong]
    * Translink salaries grew by 21% in 1 year

    And to think that I felt when I thought that he made $100,000.

  • By Eugene Wong, November 16, 2012 @ 9:29 pm

    @ All

    I took a look at the PDF for the salaries for 2011. In that particular PDF, there were about 8 people with salaries over $200,000/year. Of those, 2 of them had $300,000/year.

    I don’t know how much it costs to run a bus, not including the driver. I assume that $100,000/year should cover it.

    According to my math, if we rounded those salaries down to $200,000 and $300,000 and then lowered the salaries, then that should give us $1,000,000/year, which should be enough to pay 5 bus drivers to run 5 buses. This would not increase the net expenses of Translink, and it would bring in more ridership, and more money.

    Of course, my math could be wrong, but I do wonder trade offs we are making.

    Fare gates, high salaries, large freeways, destruction of green space, and road widening, are all paid for by your fare increase. Even if your fare only gets directed at transit, that still allows the governments to divert less to transit for more road use.

    Has your income increased with inflation over the years? Has the CEOs increased with inflation?

    That is something to think about.

  • By deedub, November 17, 2012 @ 2:34 pm

    @ Eugene

    If only running a large organization such as Translink were as simple as cutting salaries, we would all be rich! I don’t know what you do for a living, but would you accept a 33% cut in a salary for the good of your company? I know I wouldn’t and if I was forced to do that, I would probably look for work at another company. Would someone making 33% less be of the same talent and calibre as the current management? That is certainly debatable. Sure, you could cut salaries, but you know, if the manager is any good, he/she will probably be poached by another organization and offered a higher salary which ends up costing Translink more money down the road because it costs money to recruit talent. In fact, Translink has experienced this in the past when Tom Prendergast returned to NYC.

    Cutting salaries of management is not a panacea to solving problems Metro Vancouver faces with respect to public transit.

  • By ???, November 17, 2012 @ 3:06 pm

    I don’t like a price hike either, but if you want reliable and safe drivers. You need to pay for them. With a workforce shortage around the corner, low salaries are not the answer.

    Please support your local union.

  • By Edward Ko, November 17, 2012 @ 5:53 pm

    Why not double the fares? e.g. $5.00 or $5.50 for one zone …
    Hopefully by doing so, the number of passengers can be reduced by 20%. This will then solve most of the problems faced by the Translink management. Instead of thinking about increasing the supply of buses and skytrains, Translink should concentrate on ways to reduce the demand for Translink’s services. Getting bigger and bigger is not the right option for Translink, I think.

  • By Eugene Wong, November 17, 2012 @ 6:56 pm

    @ ???

    I was going to ask what country you are talking about that is going to have a work force shortage. Obviously, we are not talking about America. I’d be very impressed if we could have a workforce shortage.

    @ deedub

    Yes, good points. Getting rid of those execs that I saw would only save a million, and that’s a drop in the bucket. But you know what, that still might make all the difference at the end of the day for a group of people.

    Jarrett Walker says to imagine having a gate at the end of your drive way, that opens briefly every thirty minutes. How does that impact your personal mobility? Are you able to get all jobs that you are qualified for, if you are better than the competition? Are you able to go out on an impromptu fun time with your friends? Are you going to be happy on a windy wet day, after work, just waiting outside of your home for 29 minutes, because you *just* missed the last opening?

    The execs, the police and the drivers are in the transit system for different reasons, and understandably so, but that doesn’t change who we are, and what our needs are. When they’ve taken off with a large hand full of cash, we might still be scratching our heads, wondering what we got for all of that money. Nobody has clearly laid out what we definitely did get for the “extra” $300,000 dollars. According to studies, we stop worrying about money at $50,000. That is why I choose $50,000 to be the rich line. So, we give that amount to a CEO and all the important people who produce the unmeasurable. How do we measure everything above that? What can we get for the first $50,000? What about the next portion? Does anybody say, “For $150,000, I could give you _____, but not _____.”

    The funny thing is that sometimes salary raises are usually made for people *already* in the job. In others words, we *already* have the talent. Was the CEO planning on leaving, if we didn’t give him a raise? He was already at $350,000.

    If they don’t want to do it for $50,000, then is it possible that we are asking too much for mere mortals like us?

    Why don’t we have more talent to choose from? I don’t think that it’s the lack of money. The more we pay, the less there seems to be available.

    Why don’t people ever say, “I’m desperate for work and money. I’m going to over shoot what I want and need, and apply for an executive job.” It’s we set up a system that seems to require a lot of experience the complexities of something.

    I’d just love to be a fly on the wall, and follow these guys around for a few days, and observe in a non-judgmental way. I think that it’s because we tend to have a higher expectation of the executives, as salaries go up.

    Also, the less money that we have, the more that our expectations go up. Imagine a “third world” community in rural China or rural India. Imagine taxing them an extra $300,000 dollars. Each of those pennies that the tax collector took probably would have provided the families some much needed supplies; supplies that we consider too cheap to be mindful of. So, when they lose that important supply, then they ought to demand extra good value for it.

    “No, go ahead. Leave the tap running!”
    “No, go ahead. Use as much toilet paper as you want!”
    “No, go ahead. Eat that last apple.”

    For you guys, setting up a transit system, and running it, is a job opportunity.

    Regarding Tom and NYC, I honestly don’t even know what he did for us. I don’t mean that in an ungrateful way. It’s just hard to gauge how much executive power we need. With an automobile, you can decide based on the numbers of the inputs and outputs. With an executive, can you do it?

    [I'm too lazy to check to see if I said this already.] I’m not head hunting for rich people. I have nothing against the transit executives. I want us all to be rich, but there is a certain level of desperation that some of us have, and we consider the transit system “ours”. We don’t consider it a job opportunity.

    If you had to go to a job interview, then would you be supportive of an elevator operating company that shut down elevators to cut costs, and then offered you crowded elevators, and then raised fares, and then gave themselves a raise?

    In defense of the executives, I wouldn’t take a salary based on the success of the transit system. We could stack it only with talent, and good opportunities, but it only takes one person to ruin it all: the minister of transport. If the minister wants to under fund something, then that ruins everything.

    I wish that we could be mindful of other solutions. Canada Post is probably the only public postal service in the entire world that runs at a profit, without government funding. They still pay union wages. They still have the lowest letter rates in all the world. The private sector has the lowest rates available, but that’s only for postcard service, and not letter mail. People don’t need to communicate via postcard, so it won’t affect desperate people, so I think it is okay for Canada Post to not compete in that area. I consider Canada Post to be a smashing success, that deserves more respect. [By the way, please think about that, when choosing a party to lead Canada.]

    I often scratch my head. How does a public service run at a profit? Jarrett Walker kind of says that transit can be successfully run at a negative. I’m *not* quoting him. I’m extracting that from what he does say. He says that they are sometimes supposed to operate over an area, instead of chasing after ridership and profit.

    Guess what? *That* is what the phone companies were supposed to do, before privatization!

    That is what the postal service is supposed to do, too! At least, I think so. The postal service is probably mandated to cover a specific area. Privatized companies can’t be mandated by the government; I don’t think. Have we seen worse service after privatization, even though funding increased? See the UK’s passenger rail service. I think that CN and CP have not been funded, and their service has drastically been reduced.

    Some services need to be run publically, for better success. For them, the main goal is to reach their mandate: coverage. That sucks for those of us, who want to make a profit at this. I know that I would love to.

    However, that doesn’t mean that *all* of us are limited by it. We could give the marketing department a specific goal of how much money to make. They could promote great services, and try take attention off of full services.

    I think that another problem is that there is no way for us to donate to the cause of public transit. Maybe a program would help: maybe a rich guy volunteers to buy used month passes, and then he gets the tax break; maybe a rich guy volunteers to fund the building shelters; maybe a rich guy pays to maintain the shelters; maybe a rich guy volunteers his time as an executive.

    That last idea sounds crazy, but the idea is that if we give them a lower salary, then it comes across as insulting and devaluing of services. However, if we admit that we can’t afford him, and then ask him nicely, then maybe he’d be willing to contribute his time. Maybe we could break the current CEO job into 3 jobs: CEO; 2 vice CEOs. The new CEO will coordinate the 2 vices, who voluntarily do the lion’s share of the work.

    Have a great weekend.

  • By Eugene Wong, November 17, 2012 @ 7:05 pm

    Yes! Fare raises! Fare raises are another solution that merits discussion. 2 people brought it up. It has been mentioned before.

    There is a certain class of people that will pay more for better service. They are the prime market that we should first target. Assuming that they pay for their share, that should leave us with surplus, and then some.

    I’m talking about the demographic that is well off, and is in the coverage area. Just ask them what they want, and what their lowest offer is. That is enough to get the ball rolling.

    When buyers are desperate, and have cash, and are altruistic, then you’ve got a prime market.

    Our entire fare system should be focused on that tiny minority first. After that, we can talk zones, cards, etc.

    Remember, getting these willing people out of cars reduces traffic, so that’s a *huge* victory for transit. They are more important that free riders.

    This is why the marketing department *must* hype up every improvement along side the fare raise. Don’t just make a foot note. Make a huge commotion. I that the #555 blog post was a good start.

  • By ???, November 17, 2012 @ 7:29 pm

    @Eugene: there was a discussion a few years ago about challengings of hiring and keeping transit drivers.

    Global reported issues of hiring construction workers locally, so they are posting jobs in California. http://twitter.com/keithbaldrey/statuses/269597083378536448
    the issue is demographics. With an aging workforce, it will be harder to find qualified workers as many retire in the coming years. I won’t go further about the mining situation up North.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNr8EuJacEU

    I almost forgot…. the Canada Line tunnel used workers from Brazil because there was no qualified local workers to use the tunnelling equipment.

  • By Eugene Wong, November 17, 2012 @ 8:08 pm

    @ ???

    Thanks for the explanation. It’s kind of scary but sobering.

  • By Donald, November 17, 2012 @ 8:50 pm

    $50,000 and no longer worry about money? Lol. That’s pretty funny. Mo money mo problems. $50,000 gets one into middle class territory, far from rich. Well off in my opinion starts at $250,000.

  • By jason mack, November 18, 2012 @ 12:09 am

    I also support the fare hike. Translink can target the more affluent passengers with West Coast Express type of services. Air-conditioned b-line buses, for example, may bring in some extra revenues.

  • By ???, November 18, 2012 @ 9:08 am

    I don’t see $50,000, especially after taxes. Do people consider $1900 a month affordable housing? Some do.
    http://www.nsnews.com/business/Seylynn+Village+hearing/7415158/story.html
    http://www.nsnews.com/business/Define+affordable/7566591/story.html

  • By Donald, November 18, 2012 @ 9:26 am

    I also think premium commuter buses are a good idea, but Translink should own and maintain the buses. I’m not a fan of the Cantrail buses WCE uses, they smell like the chemicals used in the bathroom and I get pretty sick in them after about an hour. Well maybe they can contract it out for a trial service so they’re not stuck with the buses if the service isn’t successful.

  • By Lesley, November 22, 2012 @ 10:02 am

    Translink’s math is wrong. Translink said it based the increases on inflation at a rate of 2% over the past five years (10%). It says the last fare increases occurred in 2008.

    If the last year the fares increased was 2008, this would make the period between the last fare increase and January 2013, four years, not five.

    But even if we use a five year calculation, Translink’s one zone fare pass (monthly) increase is 11%, not 10%. The one zone fare card is currently $81. A 10% rise would be $8.10, not $10.00.

    Based on the actual true number of years between increases (four) & 2% inflation, the monthly fare card should be increasing by $6.48.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, November 22, 2012 @ 12:08 pm

    Hi Lesley: please see my comment here for a response to your note on inflation.

  • By Lesley, November 22, 2012 @ 1:30 pm

    Jhenifer Pabillano, thanks. I guess all I can say is Translink scripted its fare increase notice hoping none of us would do the math. In any case, the fares are being raised well above the rate of inflation, so citing inflation is practically useless and irrelevant to their rationale. I must register my disappointment. I doubt I will be buying monthly fare cards and will be using transit as little as possible. These increases combined with Translink’s proposals to reduce service and increase wait times for trains cements my disgust.

  • By Eugene Wong, November 22, 2012 @ 4:13 pm

    @ ???

    I got the $50,000/year number from a TV show, which was based on ideas like these.
    http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/the-exchange/50-000-happiness-tipping-point-poll-says-182514377.html
    http://www.investmentmoats.com/budgeting/budgeting-budgeting/can-you-survive-in-america-on-usd-50000-per-year/

    That last page comes pretty close, but they look at it from an automobile’s owner point of view. As transit users, even with the fare increase, we save a bit of money.

    Also, I heard of the idea probably in the 90s or early 00s, so expenses have gone up since then.

  • By ???, November 22, 2012 @ 10:31 pm

    While 2 years should not make a difference for $50,000… I think it also depends on taxation levels and where in the country you live. $50,000 is a great salary in Calgary where you can get a nice home for under $400,000. Not so easy in Lower Mainland where the same home is double or triple that. Condo living may be more affordable, however I’m shocked to hear what some people pay for strata fees.

  • By b, November 26, 2012 @ 10:05 pm

    So fares going up again, groceries are expensive, rent is expensive, everything is expensive yet everything keeps going up in price. how about a mandatory wage increase for everyone based on time served at a job? How can a person who makes min wage or even a bit more pay 900 avg for a decent apt in a crappy area, plus bills, groceries etc. how about we stop letting companies stuff there pockets and give back to the average person. shame on you translink for showing us how greedy you have become. and shame on canada for letting stuff like this happen.

  • By Poor, November 26, 2012 @ 11:21 pm

    I totally agree with you. Please support your local union. Low wages do NOT make me happy.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNr8EuJacEU

  • By Paul, December 10, 2012 @ 3:13 pm

    QUOTE: ‘Almost all fares will rise except for all adult FareSavers and some AddFares.’

    NOT TRUE

    I am over 65-years-old.

    Right now I just purchased a book of concession tickets for $17.00.

    The book of tickets clearly says: “$17.00 ($17.50 REGULAR VALUE)

    As everyone can see from the above chart the NEW price for a book of 10 concession tickets will be going up to $17.50.

    How is that fair when the the adult book of 10 faresaver tickets will remain the same?

    Are seniors second class citizens now?

    Is Translink trying to sneak in a 50 cent increase for seniors and hoping that they won’t notice?

    I notice.

    I called Translink.

    The girl transferred me to customer service.

    The Customer Service person said that she didn’t understand why only concession tickets were going up and that I should contact Translink.

    Can you believe that?

    WOW

    CKNW radio here I come.

  • By Tina Robinson - Buzzer Contributor, December 14, 2012 @ 2:25 pm

    Hi Paul, you are correct that the price of a book of concession FareSavers is going up by 50 cents, while the price of a book of regular adult FareSavers is not. This is because regular FareSavers already increased in price two years ago, while concession FareSavers stayed the same. The change in 2013 will bring the concession FareSaver price in line with the others, though these tickets still offer a discount over the price of regular adult FareSavers. I hope this makes sense!

  • By Paul, December 17, 2012 @ 6:07 pm

    @Tina Robinson – Buzzer Contributor

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Concession Fare Changes January 1, 2013
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Regular Concession Fare (Cash) = $1.75

    Book of 10 Concession FareSaver (LOL) tickets = $17.50

    Cash it is then.

    I was wondering what to do with the two gallon jug of pennies which I have collected over the years.

    They are still currently legal tender.

    I was going to give them all to charity.

    I have now decided to help TransLink “fund service improvements that have taken place” instead.

    10-12% in pennies sounds about right.

    Since TransLink managers REFUSE TO MANAGE the numerous “fare evaders” who prance onto the city buses every day loud and proud like they own the damn things right in front of all of the paying passengers, TransLink obviously needs every single penny that they can get to compensate for their own incompetence.

    And every transit user reading this blog right now knows exactly what I’m talking about because they see it every day with their own two eyeballs.

    The “evaders” aren’t evading anything.

    However, as long as TransLink managers continue to evade their duty to manage, TransLink will never have enough money.

    Thank you very much for your story about two years ago.

    But why am I not reading a peep about that on CBC, globaltvbc, news1130, or any of the other numerous sites I visited to enquire about this?

    They all say that FareSaver prices are remaining the same.

    BTW, I just used my calculator and added the new 10% increase in the price of an adult cash fare to the ZERO that fare evaders currently pay.

    According to my calculator, (0 + 10%), they will still be paying ZERO.

    And there’s nothing wrong with my calculator.

  • By David King, December 18, 2012 @ 10:53 pm

    I read earlier in this blog that old faresavers purchased before Jan 1, 2013 will remain valid with the new fares (and fare saver ticket prices) in effect. As a senior, I am currently able to exchange a one zone faresaver on the bus for a two zone concession fare. Will this option be available after Jan 1 (with both old and new faresavers)?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, January 14, 2013 @ 4:50 pm

    Hey David: long time no response but I do have the answer for you. As far as I’m told, the exchange of passes for an alternate fare is not permitted! This practice should thus not be taking place now or past Jan 1, 2013.

  • By Hugh, February 6, 2013 @ 2:01 am

    Getting rid of the zones would be best. Just set up distance based fares as soon as possible. Why should someone traveling 5 blocks pay the same as someone who is traveling across the city?.
    Mind you, they could keep the monthly passes for frequent users, but distance based fair could pull in alot of marginal users, while giving frequent travelers monthly passes would take alot of cars off the road(since its cheap enough). Oh, and increasing the time from 90 to 120 minutes would be a more realistic considering the city is growing.

  • By Hugh, February 6, 2013 @ 2:03 am

    Getting rid of the zones would be best. Just set up distance based fares as soon as possible. Why should someone traveling 5 blocks pay the same as someone who is traveling across the city?.
    Mind you, they could keep the monthly passes for frequent users, but distance based fares could pull in alot of marginal users, while giving frequent(or long distance) travelers monthly passes would take alot of cars off the road(since its cheap enough). Oh, and increasing the time from 90 to 120 minutes would be a more realistic considering the city is growing.

  • By ???, February 6, 2013 @ 7:49 am

    If you have distance based fares… why do you need to increase the time from 90 to 120? Another idea instead of zones is time based fares. 60 minutes for what we pay for a single zone, 90 minutes for a two zone and 120 minutes for a 3 zone fare

  • By Robert Willis - Buzzer Editor, February 6, 2013 @ 10:30 am

    Hi Hugh and ???: Thanks for the comments. With the start of Compass Card later this year, we’ll be collecting data that will help us assess if we should be changing the zone structure or getting away from it entirely. As for making zones time allotted, I could see that being a little tricky with unforeseen delays in service, but not impossible.

  • By Eugene Wong, February 6, 2013 @ 8:36 pm

    Don’t you dare do distance based fares until all of those advocates get hourly peak service only!!! Why should they get frequent service on an articulated bus, with rapid transit connections, for 18-20 hours per day, while others get hourly community shuttle bus service for less than 12 hours per day???

  • By Eugene Wong, February 8, 2013 @ 6:32 pm

    A web page needs a correction, I think. Shouldn’t we be able to upgrade from 2 zone fares to 3 zone fares? This page doesn’t prohibit it, but silence does imply.

    http://www.translink.ca/en/Fares-and-Passes/Transferring.aspx

    “If you have bought a one-zone fare but need to travel through two or three zones, you can upgrade your ticket on the bus or at SkyTrain or SeaBus ticket vending machines with a proof of payment transfer.”

  • By Eugene Wong, February 8, 2013 @ 6:52 pm

    Is it possible for fares to be given 3 to 4 hours of trip time during night service [XM]?

    When I go to do film work, they sometimes stop filming close to the end of regular service. I always get nervous about being left behind in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the freezing night.

    Extending travel time on the fare won’t solve all of my problems, but it will help me to rest a bit easier, knowing that I don’t have to make a connection just to keep my fare price down. Imagine desperately trying to make that last connection just to get home on a windy rainy night, and then having the bus driver take his own sweet time, or perhaps be delayed by an accident on the road. It would be bad enough that I missed the connection, and then be forced to wait all night or take a cab, but it would be like adding insult to injury, by being forced to pay the extra cab fare, and the extra fare.

    Ultimately, by taking transit at night, most of us are making an agreement with Translink to get us to work or home. If Trankslink doesn’t have a system in place to honour customer expectations, then people won’t use it at night.

    I think that most people aren’t being lazy, when they can’t make that connection, and I don’t think that they are trying to be cheap. It would convey a warmer feeling, if they can rest assured that their fares are good until they get home.

    I’d love to read some feedback on this. What do other community members think? What does Translink think?

  • By Eugene Wong, February 9, 2013 @ 2:51 am

    Here is a great explanation for why paying by distance should be discouraged. In summary: he explains what the pain of paying is, and how we can reduce it. An example is being offered the opportunity to eat pizza at a cheaper rate, by paying by the bite, so that even when totaled, it is cheaper than normal pizza rates. People would try to game the system by stuffing their mouths, and count the number of bites, instead of just enjoying the experience and craftsmanship. The video is just under 15 minutes.

    http://danariely.com/2013/02/05/the-pain-of-paying/

    Here is my suggestion, in light of this.

    The month passes provide great value. They offer unlimited travel for the month within the specified area. I think that the other fares should be modelled after that. We already have a day pass, which is good. Perhaps we should upgrade the FareSavers to 2 hours, and then call them the “Two Hour Pass”. The names “Day Pass” and “Month Pass” describe the amount travelling time and the time of the expiry, and the cheaper fares should reflect that as well.

    The price of the fares should reflect the amount of service available. People who live along the B-Line should pay a tiny bit more than people in Maple Ridge, who only have access to 1 bus every 30 or 60 min.

    Therefore, in my opinion, making Vancouver pay more, because of the frequency is a good idea. Zone 2 communities could pay a bit less, because they have a bit less service. Zone 3 communities could pay the least. There might even be a need for a Zone 4.

    I suggest keeping the zone boundaries, and then let the routes and lines that cross them be priced according to the most expensive zone that they serve. In that situation SkyTrain would cost Vancouver prices, regardless of whether somebody travels from Columbia to New Westminster, or Joyce to Patterson.

    It seems unfair that some people can travel from White Rock to downtown, at Vancouver prices, while somebody at Main Street Station has to pay the same price to go to Stadium Station. However, the frequencies are incomparable. Would Vancouver people prefer to move to White Rock so that they can pay the same price to travel longer to get to Stadium Station? All of a sudden longer travel isn’t so sexy anymore, right? Frequency is a huge bonus!

    Another huge bonus of living in Vancouver is being able to travel from Main St. Station to Stadium Station, and then do an hour of shopping, and then travelling home, and then having the luxury of saying, “I’d better save my fare, just in case I’ll need it for another quick errand.”. I always say that, even though I travel to and from Surrey, but I assure you that I typically pay a separate fare for each trip, and it means that my travel twice the price of Vancouverites’s trips.

    Another thing that you want to avoid at all costs is a system that discourages joy riding.

    In summary: my proposal eliminates the need to do distance based fares, since it is psychologically painful, it also offers up a more just fare zone system.

  • By Eugene Wong, August 19, 2013 @ 8:11 am

    [Some comments seem to have been deleted!! I can't find the comment that I am replying to.]

    @ Donald, from Surrey

    I’m definitely late in replying to this, but here it is.

    “1. Why would you make Vancouver pay more, when their farebox recovery is better despite higher frequencies and the same fares? Most suburban buses are heavily subsidized. So you’re saying we milk the Vancouverites for all they’re worth and redistribute that revenue to the suburbs, sounds like the government system found in certain countries.”

    In general, it’s not a good idea to milk them for our benefit. That’s for sure.

    I think that the point is that it is wise to make them pay more, because they are getting more frequency. Frequency isn’t just about getting another bus to fit more riders. It’s about having the freedom to choose when you leave, instead of having to wait to leave only every 30 minutes. There’s a huge difference in mentality, and it would encourage some to not go out at all.

    Imagine having to ride an elevator that leaves every 30 minutes. If the elevators were reliable and empty, then you might have to arrive at work 28 minutes before work, because of the scheduling, but because of frequent pass-ups, you are required to arrive at work 58 minutes before work! Would you go to work at that place, if you have to arrive 58 minutes before work? I doubt it.

    Frequency shouldn’t be thought of as a capacity issue. It should be thought of as a freedom issue.

    Naturally, some frequency is earned, due to increases in ridership, but some of it is created. The Millenium Line is a great example.

    Translink should have created more ridership in each city over 2 decades ago. It should have created rapid transit corridors for local riding and for intercity riding. That is, it is all just my opinion.

    I honestly wonder what would have happened if Translink just ended the Expo Line at Scott Road Station, and built from VCC to Lougheed, and then invested in many B-Lines earlier. I don’t have the answer to that, but it’s fun to dream.

    ’2. Define “joy riding”.’

    I think that it is pretty self-explanatory. You go out for the purposes of joy, as opposed to the purposes of work, errands, volunteering, or meetings. A person might find joy in those things, but those needs are quite different. Most of those things have a scheduling element to them: you have to be there on time. Most of those things can be perceived as tiring and unpleasant. The joy of joy riding is in the journey. It’s like being a tourist in a person’s own town/city. You do want to go out at a certain time, but it doesn’t have to be at that time.

    Even transit riding competitions are not joy riding, even though they are fun.

    How do you define it? What does everybody else think that joy riding is?

    “3. Distance based fares WILL help the suburbs, many suburbanites have access to vehicles and compare transit fares to the cost of gas, even though driving a car involves much more than the cost of gas. If you get a little 5km jaunt down to $1, people might think hm, I might as well leave the car home and just bus there.”

    I doubt it, but it would be interesting to see what other Surrey residents would say about it.

    “4. The lower transit frequencies are more a result of the car culture due to the lower density zoning. No one forced anyone to move to Surrey, etc. but they chose to so they could get a bigger house for a better price, or for lower income people a basement suite or apartment for cheap cheap cheap. They’re already paying less than Vancouverites in that sense.”

    That’s true. Actually, it’s a very good point.

Other Links to this Post

  1. TransLink Increases Fares | canacast.networks.beta — November 13, 2012 @ 10:30 pm

  2. The Buzzer blog » The January 2013 Buzzer is on the system — January 11, 2013 @ 3:55 pm

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