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Translink Buzzer Blog

Input wanted on proposed fare increases

TransLink’s Regional Transportation Commissioner is seeking feedback on the proposed fare increases for 2013.

Visit the Commission’s website to find out how to share your feedback on the proposed fare increases.

If you’re curious, the Regional Transportation Commissioner plays an independent advisory and approval role in our governance structure. Here’s a diagram showing how his role relates to the governance of TransLink.


  • By ;-), January 11, 2012 @ 9:26 am

    Two things that I’d like more information on….

    What is the fare increase for a daypass?
    Would the 3 zone fare get an increase from 90 minutes to 120 minutes?

  • By Ben K, January 11, 2012 @ 9:38 am

    Here’s a general observation: increased user fees dissuade public use. That’s a problem for public transit in the long run.

    Take a look at the comments posted on the CBC article yesterday from car-drivers. This strategy sure isn’t going to convince them to increase transit use.


  • By Jack D, January 11, 2012 @ 9:59 am

    Get rid of the farezone system outright! We need a system whereby we pay per distrance travelled, not per zone! I cannot afford more fare hikes, it’s already a chunck of money per month that I have to plan for now that I’m done university! Why should I cough up nearly 3 whole bucks for instance to go from Patterson to Joyce just because of a zone difference!

    Re-think the system.

  • By Robert Willis - Buzzer Editor, January 11, 2012 @ 10:08 am

    Hi ;-) I believe the answer to your questions are both no. If I find out to the contrary, I’ll update with the comment :)

    Ben: I’ve read the article and comments on CBC. I agree, judging by these comments I don’t think these people are fans of the proposed increase.

    Jack D: You raise a very interesting point. I do know that TransLink has been looking at the zone structure as it relates to Compass Card. I’ll be the first to mention it if there is a change! That said, to my knowledge there is no plan to change the zone at the present time.

  • By Kaci, January 11, 2012 @ 10:43 am

    This is just getting ridiculous. The fares seem to get raised every year. I’m already paying $110 a month for a 2zone pass. If they choose to jack to up the fares again, then I will drive to work. I understand about inflation but I can pretty much guarantee that most people aren’t getting raises right now. Yet again we have to pay more for services whilst our wages stay the same.

  • By Miguel, January 11, 2012 @ 10:44 am

    Mismanaged Translink will now stick it to the public. Highway ****ing robbery is what it is. Last time I checked the rate of inflation was WELL BELOW 12.5%

  • By snowystar, January 11, 2012 @ 10:45 am

    What about, instead of a fare increase on Jan 1st, increase the fare when the compass card is rolling out, and do the following:
    – Discontinue the faresaver
    – Increase the cash fare to the proposed level, or maybe even 25 cents higher
    – When the rider uses their compass card, charge at current cash fare level (which replaces faresaver, slightly higher than the proposed price for being potentially more popular and the fact that the value in the pass is refundable, I suppose..)
    – Increase monthly pass to the proposed level, but add the benefit of taking credit of the fare already paid (within the specific zones of the pass) and so the rider can just pay the difference when purchasing. The rider can now purchase the monthly pass any time, or potentially get the pass for free if he/she already paid over the cost of a pass in single-ride fare for that specific month.

    I think this would make the fare system a bit simpler, and also promote the use of compass card as TransLink can now say “the fare is same as before if a compass card is used”

  • By mika, January 11, 2012 @ 10:58 am

    I too would like to know if daypasses are changing; the utter lack of mention has me wondering if they might be eliminated?
    I like the idea of increasing time limits and I would like Translink to consider adding another fare option for short trips – perhaps $1 – 1.50 for 20 – 30 minutes and immune to zone boundaries. I’ve read that changes to the zone system will take place sometime after the smart cards are in place and have accumulated some data. That doesn’t seem unreasonable to me but I do think it’s too long of a delay to make some changes.

    If Translink can’t or won’t pursue that now, what options might be available for employer passes or to individual cities/municipalities to try something a bit different? And wouldn’t that data be valuable to Translink going into systemic fare changes? E.g. Richmond is zone 2 and as an island has limited connection points. Could Richmond create and promote a 1-zone monthly pass that cost less but was limited to Richmond or Sea Island (add some of New West and exclude airport) and restricted unlimited travel to begin after the morning crush? Maybe only available for July, August, and/or December as special promotions. The current system discourages multiple local trips in favor of commuter patterns. Wouldn’t many businesses support changes that increased people doing errands and shopping and stopping for meals along their trip? And wouldn’t softening the concentration of rush hours provide some possible efficiency increases and cost savings?

  • By M. Norse, January 11, 2012 @ 11:15 am

    Is there any wonder why people skip fares? People need to get to school and work, and can’t afford it. Also, the whole “zone” system should be removed. It’s absolutely absurd.

  • By Chad, January 11, 2012 @ 11:23 am

    ABSOLUTELY NOT! The fares are currently the HIGHEST in Canada. What bothers me most, is the bus drivers NEVER refuse boarding to those who evade fares, for fear of being assaulted or worse.

    AS this ongoing problem never decreases, WHY should the rest of us pay for those ignorant people who evade fares. I have personally seen, drug addicts on their way to the Downtown Eastside evade fares to and from the downtown area. I have seen high school kids evade fares while going to and from the Malls. I have seen middle class people evade fares, and rudely request a seat from those who have paid fares.

    Translink, seems that they cannot rise above this dilemma; however, their response to compete with this problem is to raise their fares in hope to recoupe these lost revenues. That’s just poor and unfair judgement on Translink’s part.

    I have had privilege to live in other cities, across Canada, and they do not charge fares to go from one suburb to another, yet in the Greater Vancouver Region, Translink takes it upon itself to doing this without concern to costs to the rider. Imagine, working a minimum wage job, and having to pay $11.00 / day just for transit fare alone. That is $55.00 / week, AND $220.00 a month, in transit fares alone. That takes a great deal of money from a single family person’s ability to function without the anguish of worrying about high costs just to get to work. Though there are lower fare cards available, still the expense is a great concern for everyone.

    I believe if it were a ONE RATE fare for all locations, that rider fare evasion would decrease, and rider population would increase.

    Come on Translink, it isn’t rocket science to figure this one out.

    SHAME on you from robbing from those who adhere to paying fares, just to reward those who evade fares!

  • By Robert, January 11, 2012 @ 11:35 am

    I feel the rate increase is absolutely unrealistic considering the service provided. My self and others have been physically injured by the impatient drivers who refuse to wait till we are sitting down before they bolt out of parking to reach the next destination. Drivers have been known to be outwardly rude towards passengers regardless if they have the fare for the ride or not.

  • By Nathan, January 11, 2012 @ 11:47 am

    This needs to stop. We are supposed to be encouraging people to take transit. Drunk driving, pollution and increasing traffic on our roads are problems that need to be dealt with. A one-month 2 zone at $110 is already horrendous. Please freeze the prices. People are going to start to drive towards the exits.

  • By Michelle W., January 11, 2012 @ 11:49 am

    I believe that good public transit costs money, so I don’t necessarily have a problem with the fares going up. However, the whole zone system is a little ridiculous and needs to be changed. We should pay based on distance traveled, not just for crossing the zone boundary.

  • By Matt, January 11, 2012 @ 12:04 pm

    The issue I find it very troubling is the gap between fare zones continues to increase. While I can understand the increase in the “base fare” (single zone) due to increasing costs and expanded service hours (I still don’t like it but I can understand), to have the gap between a 1 and 2 zone fare and a 2 and 3 zone fare increase as well makes little sense. This simply exacerbates the burden for those who must cross zone boundaries. Surely an increase in the “base fare” with no increase in the amount for each additional zone makes far more sense in maintaining a equitable and viable transit system for the users.

    For this reason I urge the commissioner to oppose the proposed fare increase in it’s current form. An increase in fares is not desirable but begrudgingly acceptable but an increase in the fare when stepping from one zone to another is absolutely unacceptable. This is the same model Translink used the last time they increased fares and is completely unsustainable, how many more zone step fare increases can they implement before the gap between a 1, 2, and 3 zone fare become absolutely ridiculous?

  • By Stuart, January 11, 2012 @ 12:13 pm

    The cheapest way for me to get to school, as a student, is just under $2000 a year…

    I am working 80 hours a week at school, and unable to get a job because of it.

    The mere fact that barely any of the schools qualify for a discount on transit is a problem that needs to be addressed before they increase fares.

    Most of the drivers are pretty good, however aggressive taking off after a stop. Other drivers are clearly incompetent and some are downright offensive to passengers. A bus I was on the other day had a driver that slammed on the breaks at every stop. People that were standing were literally tumbling.

    I paid enough this year to purchase a car. Nothing nice or anything, but something that would get me from A to B. Even with insurance, gas, and aircare it is almost worth it already with the time I would be saving and the convenience. Public transit is already not worthwhile to anyone with a vehicle.

    Bumping fares up will not only keep those considering public transit further away but will bring the benefits to nearly nothing.

    More vehicles on Vancouver streets is the last thing we need, but that is what this will do.

  • By Jason T., January 11, 2012 @ 12:28 pm

    Raise the fare next year, subsequent years will also see a fare rise… So in 2010 will it cost us $7-$10 for a one zone 10 minute bus ride? And will I be racing to the 312 and other busses in surrey/delta that come once an hour hoping I’m not stuck in the middle of nowhere at late nights with all the troublemakers and homeless people littering the loops and stations? Maybe of fare evasion is an issue possibly lower the price? People might be more inclined to pay then.

  • By Ben, January 11, 2012 @ 12:38 pm

    Raising fares have to be justified with service. In addition, paying per distance travelled is much more logical than the zone system. Echoing with other authors, Translink should encourage ridership, not leaving them less options while increasing the fares.

  • By Chris, January 11, 2012 @ 12:44 pm

    Two thoughts
    1) The timing is bad. Wait until the fare gates are installed so you can compare what affect they have on revenues. My hunch is that Translink will lose money (any increased revenue will be offset by costs). But the only way to tell for sure is to measure it, and a fare increase will make it difficult to compare year-over-year changes.

    2) I don’t have any problems with fare increases, but it should be paired with a congestion charge and service increases. That way Translink gets more money, transit riders get more value for the increased prices, and transit doesn’t become more expensive relative to driving.

  • By Jason T., January 11, 2012 @ 12:50 pm

    Sorry, meant 2020 ;)

  • By snowystar, January 11, 2012 @ 1:36 pm

    Appendix 9, page 46, by the way

  • By Monica, January 11, 2012 @ 1:44 pm

    Consider the following:
    -I commute from Ladner to Vancouver daily via transit.
    -This trip requires a bus, skytrain, and another bus, bringing my roundtrip travel time to just shy of 3 hours a day. That is, assuming buses run on time, buses don’t skip stops, and I am traveling between the hours of 7am and 7pm. These assumptions are generous as they are frequently not the case. As such, a one-way commute after 7pm may take me as long as 2 hours via bus when it takes a mere 20 mins by car.
    – let’s also ignore that the transit system is relied on by so many that commuters are being underserviced and forced to cram themselves on buses and trains that are so packed they regularly exceed fire safety regulations
    – a further fare hike from the current $5/trip only adds insult to injury, and will force me
    to drive
    -Taking more cars OFF the road is the city of Vancouver’s current (advertised) mandate. Translink seems to evade this environmentally-friendly proposition in favour of fare hikes that we all know are done annually to resurrect a poorly-managed company.

    My suggestion: get new management, economists, and REAL people who actually use transit daily on your committees. These incessant fare hikes must be stopped!

  • By Reva, January 11, 2012 @ 2:06 pm

    Translink needs to offer some kind of discount to the under- and unemployed and to students attending non-UPass institutions. You’re not just nickel-and-diming people now — every fare and tax and cost of living increase with no matching rise in wages or employment is costing many an arm and a leg.

    Please find some way to offer fares on a sliding scale tied to income (up to a certain cutoff of couse). The Compass Card will make this much easier to do. Perhaps the MEIA and EI, as well as post-secondary schools, could provide special codes to qualified recipients to use when charging their Compass cards that would automatically make their fares be discounted each time the card is used (the codes could expire every two weeks to minimize fraud).

    You’d get more people paying fares, and even if not the full fare, is way better than an increase in fare evasion which some people may have to resort to just to make ends meet. More dignified for all involved too.

  • By Robert, January 11, 2012 @ 3:11 pm

    The Zone system needs to be removed and thought should be given to time specific free fare. other cities provide free travel in the downtown core during certain hours. Why are we not doing this? A complete overhaul of the system needs to be considered.

  • By Robert, January 11, 2012 @ 3:16 pm

    Good transportation? Anyone remember that bs Union move to go on strike if one of their drivers was under review to be fired when the driver on Hastings and Boundary conveniently forgot to put on their brakes and a building was hit by the bus?

  • By thomas, January 11, 2012 @ 3:36 pm

    It’s ridiculous wagged we pay for our transit system. Busses running every hour, not late enough, bus DRIVERS not knowing if to turn right or go straight, then telling u they are sorry, when its 10pm and you have to walk 5 extra blocks. Or your in the pouring rain and you arrive 10 minutes early, an you have 2 young kids and you see the bus drive by not even passing by the bus stop. Then waiting another half hour for the next bus cause there are no other busses you can take to het you close to your destination. Our system sucks. Put more buses out there. And have them run like they do in Vancouver. BTW I live in surrey.

  • By Susan, January 11, 2012 @ 4:06 pm

    It is great that they want to expand to give more people a better source of transportation. They need better service, or actual service outside Vancouver. Where do you think all the people come from every morning? Try riding the skytrain from King George station, it will give you a hint. They should get rid of the zones and just have one fare for all. If they actual check the tickets they will problem find less than half have there right fare for the zones they are covering. I have been a transit rider since I moved here 24 years ago. I live downtown, but always manage to find work in a two zone area. The last couple times it has been a single stop into the second zone. Being the true transit rider I pay for my two zone pass every month. I know the money has to come from somewhere, but what I want to know is when are the CEOs, VPs, and Mayors taking their 12.5% DECREASE in pay? That money should be able to build the Evergreen Line is a short amount of time. If this is read by a person employed by Translink, Thank you for your time and consideration.

  • By David, January 11, 2012 @ 6:49 pm

    The system TransLink are about to impliment with the tickets allowing you to pass through individual gates will get rid of the fare dodgers and then you’ll no doubt notice a massive rise in income from that alone. Rising the prices next year will only make people turn to cars and finding other ways around Vancouver.

    It cost me $2.75 to get 23km on Seattle’s SoundTransit, the furthest I’ll be able to get for 2.75 is 10km in Vancouver, congratulations.

    Free parking next to the skytrain stations out of town to promote park and ride? Nope! Of course not.

    I’d pay more if I knew I was getting more for my money. A seat, for example, would be lovely on my morning commute.

    I suppose the skytrain drivers will be wanting a raise soon… oh… wait.

  • By Anon, January 11, 2012 @ 6:53 pm

    Join us in avoiding using Translink for a whole week to show the 1% exactly what we think of this unfair hike.

    If you must raise prices, raise the quality of service in the current system FIRST. Add more buses to areas where we have to deal with constant “BUS FULL” flashing signs and having to wait anywhere from 10min to 30min for the next bus depending on the area.

    Take the money out of the CEO or Higher Ups pockets, or wait until you see what these fare gates do with saving that 4 Million a year you are losing to fare evaders.

  • By Sheba, January 11, 2012 @ 6:55 pm

    I purposely waited before posting as I knew this was going to ignite a firestorm. The increases are ridiculous, esp considering the state of the economy. People are paying more and if they’re really lucky their income is staying the same – it’s not going to increase by 10% this year to help cover these costs.

    A few hopes that I have for when the fare gates are operational. Why should someone have to pay zones when they are riding in the opposite direction to the rush hour crush. Also as has been noted, the notion of having to pay extra for a short trip that happens to cross a zone boundary.

    Rush hour fares used to be in effect from the start of service until 9:30am and then from 3:00 to 6:30pm, with everything being a one zone fare between 9:30am and 3:00pm. If fares are going to go up, at least bring that back and make riding transit a little more affordable when it’s quieter.

    While we’re at it, why not make the whole system a grid instead of just in Vancouver. One reason I moved to Burnaby (which isn’t very grid-like) is so I could get some passable transit service. I grew up in N Delta and have family in Surrey – has anyone looked at those bus routes on a map? You could probably count the number of east/west routes on one hand and have fingers left over.

    So if TransLink wants to increase fares, there’s a few things to improve first.

  • By JKKT, January 11, 2012 @ 7:22 pm Here, appedix 6(P.45) shows the projected fare increses in 2011, 2014, 2018. $2.65 and 2.81 in 2011 and 2014 respectively, an increase of 6.1%.

  • By Al, January 11, 2012 @ 7:55 pm

    I think the proposed fare increase is absolutely ridiculous. Fare evasion on buses and Skytrain happens way too frequently. Too often, I see Skytrain security standing in bunches just chatting, not even checking fares. The 99 B line and the 20 are basically free to ride and have been so for years.

    That it is taking 2 years for fare wickets to be installed is also absurd. Why on earth is it taking so long? That they weren’t installed when the Skytrain went in service is an even worse joke.

    Vancouver transit prices are the highest in Canada and what do people get in return? Skytrains that run barely past midnight on weekdays and Saturdays. Buses which regularly pass by people.

    The zone system is terrible as well. People should pay based on how far they travel rather than some arbitrary zone system.

    Vancouver loves to tout itself as a green city but these fare increases are basically pushing people to drive cars. At least with cars you can arrive at your destination in a reasonable time.

    If you are going to increase transit fares by such a HUGE amount, why not fix your system first.

  • By Jans, January 11, 2012 @ 7:59 pm

    First, I would like to see Translink install toll checkers to recoup the millions of dollars that have been lost in freeloaders; why should we have to pay more for transit when TransLink lets so many people ride for free?? Then we can talk about fare increases to pay for increased service.

  • By Maxwell, January 11, 2012 @ 8:19 pm

    Hello, I am wondering why the fares are increasing since the compass card is going to be in effect in 2013? and would be paying by distance. So why is there the zone. daypasses and fre coins?

  • By Angela, January 11, 2012 @ 8:36 pm

    I completely agree with the January 11th posting regarding the millions of dollars in lost revenue, courtesy of Translink.

    Vancouver must have one of THE most “open” transit systems in the world enabling people to travel for free. Most of the major city I have travelled to around the world have installed turn styles in every station making it very difficult to avoid paying for using the service.

    My question to Translink is, why were no turn styles installed on the Canada Line prior to the Olympics in Vancouver? Millions of dollars could have been captured from the humongous volume of people travelling to our host city, especially from YVR to downtown!

    At the King Edward Skytrain station there is a large car lot behind the station. When the Canada Line was complete, the lot was free to park which created more incentive for people to park and use the skytrain service hassle free. After a month or two, signs were installed in the car lot, saying that no parking was allowed at any time, and vehicles would be towed! Why have a large lot located conveniently next to a station, and insist that it stays empty?

  • By Chocodum, January 11, 2012 @ 9:45 pm

    Remember that commercial going around during the holidays where the lady said “Look around on pubilc transit and you’ll see at least one of them are using a food bank”? Think about that for a flipping second before you go around financially hurting already victims of the economy.

  • By Voony, January 11, 2012 @ 10:08 pm

    JKKT says that the baseplan is planning only for 6% increase.

    “Under the 2012 Supplemental Plan, transit fare revenues grow by an additional $25 million compared to the Base Plan to $541 million in 2014 due to ridership growth”

    and now Translink get out of its hat a fare increase? why not have put it in the plan before?
    that is tiresome…
    You still have room.
    * postpone the turnstile gate installation (people on this blog, which has obviously never traveled in Germany, or for that matter European mid-size city where turnstile are basically nonexistent, tend to believe that Vancouver without turnstile is an exception- They are wrong- most of the subway system of the Vancouver size have no turnstiles…they also seems to ignore also that turnstile will do nothing on fare evasion on bus)

    * Rationalize more your bus service: In Vancouver number #3 and #8 could be short turned at Main@hasting instead to go all the way downtown-empty most of the time,…number #100 could also terminate at Cambie instead of Marpole..some bus stop removed, and some express bus route installed, instead to pile more slow bus bunching each other like you do on the #410 route.
    (see some idea here: )

  • By Chad, January 11, 2012 @ 10:47 pm

    Transit evaders fare to ride – $0
    Transit fare for honest people to ride $2.50 – $5.00
    Translink increasing the fares for the HONEST riders — OBNOXIOUS !!!!

  • By Sheba, January 12, 2012 @ 12:07 am

    I haven’t double checked the info to see if it’s right on “Transit fares in Canadian cities”

  • By Nitin kumar, January 12, 2012 @ 7:38 am

    after this who thinks that we r living under Democratic government .governmet dont think about us . goverment could invest 568 million on old bc stadium renovation why not on everygreen line . if translink do, we will protest . we cant afford. please think about poor people and translink can charge more from those who will travel by everygreen line . in toronto farepass costs 126 for all toronto not only for 1 zone.

  • By Danielle, January 12, 2012 @ 8:18 am

    This is absurd. The prices are already high and cause me to avoid transit. We can’t afford this! $123.75 for a two zone pass for a single month? Horrendous!!

    Maybe here’s an idea.. how about you get a better system so everyone actually PAYS for a ticket. I’m sure your revenue will increase by 30%.

  • By ???, January 12, 2012 @ 8:51 am

    Here’s a thought…. have some fare enforcement officers a few stops South of Broadway and a few stops North of Broadway. When the #20 comes by, they should sweep the bus for unpaid fares…

    Too many riders sneak on the rear doors. It’s a huge safety problem for seniors. If they are too slow to exit, they get pushed back on bus by idiots trying to avoid seeing the driver coming on board.

  • By MB, January 12, 2012 @ 3:12 pm

    I think the price hike is ridiculous for 3 main reasons.
    A) Transit fares are currently too high for the service received. I catch the 99 in the morning and most days I am left standing at Fraser St while 5 or 6 full buses pass right by me. Or I have to wedge myself into a small amount of space and fight just to get on. Why would I want to pay more for that? I’d rather drive.
    B)Please show us what upgrades we can expect for our added dollars, at least. If the fares go up, where is the money going? How many more buses can we expect? Will the skytrains run later on some night to accommodate shift workers? Or are we just going to be paying more for the same poor service?
    C) Why not wait until the fare gates are installed and also enforce stricter ticket checking on buses before raising prices? There are thousands of people who everyday pay nothing for transit. If Translink was better with managing fare evaders in the first place, I am sure there would be a large spike in revenue.

  • By Laila, January 12, 2012 @ 4:02 pm

    Fair increase…again? Yes, there have been improvements, more buses and skytrain lines. What about Langley, Surrey area? The skytrain should have been built all the way to Aldergrove years ago. The ridership is very high in this area. It takes me 2 hours to get to Langley from Coquitlam, if I have to wait for skytrain due to a problem, my transfer expires and I have to pay again. I already paid $3.75. This is getting crazy. Scrap the zones and it may be better.

  • By Joe, January 12, 2012 @ 4:34 pm

    I have no problem with these fares, I think they’re still very good for the quality of service we get. Just an opposing view in the echo chamber that’s formed here.

  • By Chris, January 13, 2012 @ 8:53 am

    I already can’t afford to pay for Transit as it is.

    I live out on Renfrew and 24th and have a job in Kitsilano. I work for minimum wage, and I can’t ride a bike, or even really afford to buy one. I can’t afford to buy a bus pass and I definitely can not afford to pay for daily tickets, as I bus and use the skytrain at least twice a day, since obviously I can’t just walk to work. I can not even imagine what it’s like for students, especially those who can’t get Upasses.

    I also can’t say I’ve seen any improvement in the service that Translink provides. With each passing year I like this company less and less.

  • By zack, January 13, 2012 @ 7:05 pm

    There should not be any increase in fares unless there is a real justification for it. For example, by the end of this year, if we continue to experience low-quality transit service then raising fares would be no-brainer. What’s even more confusing is why would Translink even think about raising fares when they already passed the gas tax that would fund projects like the upcoming smartcard system and the Evergreen line. And correct me if I am wrong, but wasn’t the smart-card system also supposed to replace the current zone structure? These recent developments just keep me bewildered.

  • By McMug, January 13, 2012 @ 7:08 pm

    I really like the idea of a fare increase. I think the increase should be steeper. This will help reduce the demand for buses and skytrains. Public transport is so crowded these days and it is usually not a comfortable experience taking buses/skytrains even during off peak peaks. So, there is a need for a drastic reduction in demand (say, by 20%) for transit. A somewhat expensive fare can also change the perception that buses/skytrains are only for the not so affluent people.

    The revenue for 100 passengers who can afford $10 a trip is the same as that for 200 passengers who can afford $5. And Translink has nothing to lose if it can attract the more affluent passengers for its service. And perhaps let the provincial government set up some system for the people who want a cheaper transport system. A 2-tier public transport system may not be a bad idea.

  • By Mike, January 14, 2012 @ 12:15 am

    Westcoast Express Upass student 28 day pass is proposed to be discontinued Jan 2013. Hmm…

  • By Junior, January 14, 2012 @ 9:27 am


    How about you get the money for improvements and not for a big fat raise for yourselves?!?!?

  • By kokanee, January 14, 2012 @ 9:37 am

    More people are just going to haggle their way on the bus for free.

  • By ;-), January 14, 2012 @ 12:33 pm

    @McMug: Yah having a mixed tier of service is an idea…. sadly it’s already here. You can take a bus from Coquitlam, but if you want coffee provided, you can get premium service on the West Coast Express.

    Another example, you can take bus, but if you want a private ride, you can call handydart, where you know a stroller or wheelchair does not mean you have to give up a seat.

    For myself, I can choose to ride the bus when it’s busy. Or you can delay the trip home across boundaries until after 6:30…. for 3 zones, you get home at 50% off! What a deal!

    Perhaps instead of the zone system, I think it should be time based fares. A one zone ride is 60 minutes, a two zone fare is 90 minutes and a three zone fare is 120 minutes. What do others think? This was complicated to administer on paper transfers, but today’s electronic fareboxes makes it really easy.

  • By Sunil Mathure, January 14, 2012 @ 2:13 pm

    Increase the fare as well as levy on daily car users, cut down top level salaries & benefits making over 100’000 p.a. also increase deductable on benefits entitlement. The retired or people on fixed or low income can’t afford to compensate or any kind of increase on either property,income etc.taxes . The low income earners will not affect since they will claim fare increase on their taxes any way.

  • By Sean, January 14, 2012 @ 3:42 pm

    I’m buying a car. Goodbye translink.

  • By JKKT, January 14, 2012 @ 8:04 pm

    I am not fans of fare increases, but I can see how they are justified. Inflation accounts for 1/2 of the 12% increase, but there are things translink has implemented that many have never used.

    For 6% extra, you get/we have gotten/we still have:
    -Broadway rapid transit Study
    -Surrey Rapid transit study
    -Burnaby Mountain Gondola
    -Evergreen Line!
    -Canada Line
    -New Skytrains!
    -New ‘New Flyer’ Troleys and ‘Nova’ Buses
    -Free transit for up to 5 people on Sundays (with a pass) (or borrow a pass)
    -Lower Base Single Fares than Toronto and Montreal (But children have to pay)
    -The biggest service area in north america?! (or at least Canada)
    -2.75 can get you from Lions Bay to Aldergrove (on Weekends and After 6:30) (if you catch all the buses without waiting)
    -GPS system that announces the stops! (and the newest feature: ‘Next Stop XXX Street’ (the new feature is the next stop))
    -$45 bus pass for 365 days! (only applies to people with low incomes and disabilities)
    -Community Pass (on Burnaby Mountain)
    -New Seabus
    -New Surrey Bus wash facility
    -New headquarters in New westminster

    I believe that we had none of these before 1999. (and don’t blame translink for the RRT instead of LRT-that was the provincial government’s decision)

  • By JKKT, January 14, 2012 @ 8:09 pm

    I want to add that the Drivers of Automobiles in Metro Vancouver are paying their share of 2 cents more in 4 months.

  • By Eugene T.S. Wong, January 15, 2012 @ 1:48 am

    This year, I am going to seriously explore buying a car. I’m sick and tired of dealing with the weather, crowded buses, and fare increases.

    Time after time, I have suggested to Translink and BC Transit to advertise the underused routes. Fill *those* buses to generate more revenue. The buses are there already, so why not make an effort? Quit trying to fill the B-Line, the #20, SkyTrain, etc. I just don’t understand the stubbornness.

    I have vowed to live car-free, and be a loyalist to whichever transit company was in charge, but obviously, the company didn’t think about me. :^(

    Translink is constantly ignoring its loyal customers. A great example is the spam that they send to you via their Twitter update account. They could have placed their advertising on another account, but nope, they had to it do the wrong way to ensure that nobody is completely happy.

    You guys are kicking us when we are down.

    As much as I hate the idea of any increase, the idea of super big increase to reduce the number of passengers does appeal to me.

  • By ???, January 15, 2012 @ 9:09 am

    @Eugene: To clarify…. which routes are “underused”? Nearly every route I travel on, it’s getting harder and harder to find a seat. It’s standing room only and often it’s impossible to exit the rear doors.

  • By JKKT, January 15, 2012 @ 12:25 pm

    @??? about 50% of the routes in the system are Underused. For example, the Community routes in Delta are never full, the C90, C12, and all the feeder routes. According to Jarrett, these routes feed into the main routes. I’m guessing that you don’t live in the suburbs, Because most of the routes in the Suburbs are less than 50% capacity. About finding a seat, usually, the # of seats is about half the total capacity of a bus.

    @ Eugene
    I agree that the underused routes have to be advartized, but I have thought of this for not less than 1 year and I cant think how. Direct ‘Take the bus’ messages don’t work, and the convinience of the car is hard to argue against. What translink’s problem right now is trying to find out which buses with <10 mins frequency have passups. People are discouraged from transit when they have a passup on a <10 min route, and many drivers skip the 'pass up' button on their screen.

  • By Eugene T.S. Wong, January 15, 2012 @ 2:10 pm


    A lot of routes like the #312 are not full during the non-rush periods. I read that the #26 is not full. The #340 didn’t have many standees when I rode it for the last few months.


    A great example of an underused route is the #640. Before the Canada Line, and maybe even before the #98, it was quicker to get to the Tswassen ferry terminal by taking SkyTrain to Scott Rd. Station, and then taking the #640. You’d save about 1-5 minutes. Yes, even from downtown Vancouver, it still made sense to take my suggested route. BC Transit [or was it Translink??] never even bothered to announce that in The Buzzer. It was disgraceful that they would copy and paste the same silly sayings and information, but would never bother putting in the above suggestion.

    The #312 has potential. After a SkyTrain ride, you might need to wait for a bus for a really long time. So, instead of taking the #319, and then waiting for a bus for a really long time, take the #312, and then wait in the pouring rain less. I hope that that makes sense.

    It would be good if The Buzzer Blog would be decent enough to let us post these, but it is critical that they post it in the paper version, too, because people read those while they sit and wait on the trains and buses. In those situations, they are more open to ideas.

    Now that the news is making transit updates, they can start offering alternative routes.

    A while ago, I tried to come up with a definitive list of routes that can be taken in the event of a SkyTrain break down. For example, if you know that the system is going to be down for an hour, and if you are at a downtown station, and if you want to go to New Westminster Station, then get off and take the #123 [or whatever route it is].

    Another fairly underused route is the #340. It is my favourite, because it helps me get to Vancouver much faster. For riders at Scottsdale Exchange, avoid the #319, which is crowded, and take the #340. On the way back, take the first train that passes by. If it is a Millenium Line train, then change trains at 22nd St. Station. This way, if there is a SkyTrain breakdown in the next few minutes, then you can always take the #340 home. *Always* [if at all possible] change trains at a station where you can have an option for another trip.

    JKKT, if you want to collaborate on how we could get these wonderful ideas out to people, then let me know.

    I feel a real urgency to do it.

  • By Eugene T.S. Wong, January 15, 2012 @ 2:24 pm

    Actually, before buying a car, I should take a hard look at car pooling. If somebody can offer a ride for the same amount of bus fare, then it might be worth it, in certain situations.

  • By Bear, January 15, 2012 @ 2:25 pm

    I believe it is unreasonable to be requesting a fare hike to your consumers due to a number of reasons.

    Last fare hike occured April 2010 less than 2 years ago
    Vancouver & Lower mainland has the highest cost of living in all of Canada
    We were hit by recession in 2011 and people are still trying to recover from recession, many people had to declare bankruptsy
    Poor safety record by transit and staff, my girlfriend was in a bus that the driver hit another vehicle and had glass of bus shatter all over passengers.
    Another safety issue was on tuesday last week newly built steps to skytrain were icy and I am now commutinmg to and from work with the use of crutches.
    People trying to raise a family are unable to keep up with transit costs and will increase bankruptsy requests.
    Bus Service & Skytrain Service on Sundays is horrendous. I cant get downtown Vancouver any earlier than 800-830 due to bus/skytrain service schedules. I believe the Zones should be abolished and have 1 fare for bus/skytrain combined.

    BC has the highest transit cost in all of Canada. See provincial transit rates below:
    Transit rates

    PEI 2.00

    Nova Scotia
    Ferry/Community Transit 2.25
    Metrolink 2.75

    New Brunswick


    Ontario Rates

    115/month on preauthorized payments

    Manitoba (2012) rates


    3.00 (feb 1 2012)

  • By Eugene T.S. Wong, January 15, 2012 @ 2:43 pm

    Travelling in many of those cities is the same as travelling only in 1 zone. You can’t travel from Toronto to Mississauga for only $3.

    Many of those places have worse frequency than we do.

  • By JKKT, January 15, 2012 @ 5:11 pm

    @ Eugene:
    “JKKT, if you want to collaborate on how we could get these wonderful ideas out to people, then let me know”

    Perfect! I just started a new blog a few month ago that you can collaborate on: It would be wonderful for you to post.
    I’m also working on a post about the zone system that I hope will be published in 2 days.

    About the 312, 340, 640,
    -Yes, I understand that the Expo+640 is quicker than Canada+601, But there’s no real explanation.
    -I don’t live in surrey, so I don’t have the right to comment on the city, but I do know that many of the routes are way below capacity. 329 only had 5 people on it, and the 335 was practically empty. I believe that 96th avenue should have a bus.

    There’s an interesting post on my blog that you should see (click on my Name).

    There’s one thing that we can all agree on: that many changes can be made.

  • By JKKT, January 15, 2012 @ 6:30 pm

    I finished my Fare Zone post. Judging by the comments on this column, it seems like many of you dislike the current fare zone system. I tried to remix the current system.
    Sorry for Quadruple posting on this page. :)

  • By Reza, January 15, 2012 @ 7:40 pm

    a- Increasing the fare is not a good idea. This will make people like me rethink about other options other than using public transit.

    b- The goal of public transit is making transportation affordable for residents. Increasing the fare contradicts with this idea and may discourage people to take the transit system.

    c- Lower Mainland’s transit fare is already one of the highest in Canada. I believe Translink has to go for other options to reduce the cost and increase the revenue. One option would be getting more funding from the provincial government.

  • By Maya, January 16, 2012 @ 9:47 am

    I would like to know why WCE fares are increasing so dramatically. Between the fare increases and the parking cost increases (at the train station), my cost of commuting will have increased 60% over 5 years if this new raise is approved. Yet there is absolutely no change in WCE service. It makes me wonder – are WCE commuters simply being gauged to subsidize other Translink routes? I would like to see more trains added, more flexibility in schedule than there is currently. Is that being planned for? Since these increases are so outrageously above inflation (my salary certainly has not gone up by 60% since 2008), I am beginning to wonder if telecommuting may be the only option…

  • By Robert Willis - Buzzer Editor, January 16, 2012 @ 10:43 am

    Hi everyone: A lot of great comments here! I’m sorting through them now to see if I can provide some specific answers/feedback. In the meantime, I have some further information:
    It’s worth noting that the decision to propose fare increases in 2013 was made by the Mayor’s Council in October 2009. Link here click on “2009” and download the file – “10 Year-Plan Summaries” – It’s also important to note that the commissioner is conducting an intensive review of the cost-efficiency of TransLink as part of the fare increase proposal. Now, those questions and comments – Is there any talk of increasing the amount of time you can use a ticket? – I know that this is being consider as part of TransLink’s move to Compass Card and fare gates. – However, there has been no decision on this at this time. – Vancouver gets more transit improvements than Surrey. – The Moving Forward supplemental plan that was approved last year requires that half of the service improvements made in 2012 will be made South of the Fraser River – – Using a car is cheaper than taking transit. It really depends on what your commute time is, as well as a bunch of other factors. Here’s a good blog post that looks at the cost of gas and driving – If you look at the comments, there a good point made by a CMBC engineer about other expenses of private vehicle use that should be taken into consideration. – What about the future of fare zones? – The compass card will change the way we use the system. There has been a lot of focus at TransLink around if we will keep the fare zones or not. The zones will likely be in place when Compass Card and fare gates are 100% operational in 2013. This may change afterwards.

  • By Ben K, January 16, 2012 @ 11:46 am

    What proportion of fare profit does Translink collect from 2- and 3-zone fares vs. 1-zone fares? Perhaps it might be a psychologically-favourable idea to scrap the zone system and institute one fare system-wide, at least until such time as the Compass card and faregate thing is working properly and able to charge proportionately by distance.


  • By George, January 16, 2012 @ 5:45 pm

    I understand that they might change the zone system in the future, but the only reply they have to not changing the zone system now is No, we don’t plan to do it at this time… what?.. stop ripping people off, and just fix the system. What are you waiting for, for us to riot over the fares?

  • By Robert Willis - Buzzer Editor, January 17, 2012 @ 9:09 am

    Hi Ben and George: Ben, I think you hit the nail on the head about possibly changing fare structures when Compass Card gets going. I’ve been told that our planning department is looking very closely at the future of fare zones when Compass and faregates are up and running. Compass Card will change how everyone uses the system, so it makes sense that the amount that people are charged works with this system. Thanks to you both for your comments! I’ll have to get back to you on the amount of money collected for each fare zone. ^rw

  • By Alan, January 18, 2012 @ 10:54 am

    Increasing fare is NOT the solution to increase revenue, as honest riders pay more and more money to fares every year and fare-skipping riders laugh at the Translink system and enjoy their free rides.

    It seems that Vancouver is a city that provides free rides for passengers boarding sky-trains as there are NO ticket validating machines guarding entrances at each station. Passengers buy the tickets whenever they feel like doing it.

    When I was traveling in developed countries in Asia, ticket validating machines guarding each station of each metro line anywhere.
    Vancouver’s subway/sky-train system is too generous.

  • By ;-), January 18, 2012 @ 12:12 pm

    While waiting for details on the Compass card and how future zones would be implemented….

    Here’s a thought on the Compass card that could increase acceptance and possibly ridership. In addition to charging for distance (short trips on Seabus), what about also creating Compass “tiers” like what is found on cellphone plans. Imagine if the Compass card was implemented today….

    The monthly 3-zone fare card is $151. So Translink the maximum monthly charge would be $151 dollars on anyone Compass card.

    For those of us who would never leave a single zone. The maximum would be $81 for that Compass card. However, if the rider travels outside of a zone, the appropriate “add fare” would be added to the charge. For 2 zone travellers the maximum would be $110, and appropriate surchages for 3 zone travel.

    This complicated math should be easy for a computer to calculate.

    What do others think? Would having fixed tiers increase transit popularity for you?

  • By Jjf, January 18, 2012 @ 12:19 pm

    Get rid of the zone system and charge per distance travelled instead! It’s absurd to pay the same two zone fee when traveling two streets across a boundary as when traveling across the whole two zones. Implement the per distance system like the of London, where commuters swipe the preloaded card at beginning of travel to record starting point and again at the end of the trip to deduct the appropriate fee. Makes much more sense than a flat per zone charge.

  • By taxed-out, January 22, 2012 @ 4:13 pm

    I think a fare increase is ridiculous. I can’t speak for other cities but the service we get in surrey/langley is horrible! we get all the ‘hand-me-down’ buses and so many are crowded or go by full, its hard to make my connections between the two cities where i travel. I see nothing that im paying for! People can’t afford to go anywhere anymore with transit fee, tolls, parking fees, gas. If you’re trying to promote more people to ride transit, this is definately NOT the way to do it!

  • By taxed-out, January 22, 2012 @ 4:26 pm

    Wanted to add, I drove to work one day, langley to surrey, was there is 25minutes. Every single other day taking transit, through waiting & transfers takes 1hr 15 mins. And i WANT to pay MORE for this because….?

  • By Kelly, January 31, 2012 @ 12:58 pm

    I don’t think it’s fair that the prices are going up. Just wait until these fair gates are put in & wait for the real report on customers think about our transit system. This is ridiculous. Gates going up & raising prices at the same time. Good Grief! The occupy movement made a good example. Coming soon occupy movement will be in a transit station near you. Enough is Enough is Enough! The BRU (Bus Riders Union) is furious, they might do another fare strike again. I’m hoping that the BRU site is running again Spread the word. No fare hikes. PERIOD!

  • By Kelly, January 31, 2012 @ 1:13 pm

    @ JKKT likes your bus #410 route. We need more express routes in the area. Leave it to the Community Shuttles or another local bus route.

  • By PuppyTime, January 31, 2012 @ 7:49 pm

    With frozen salaries, no one likes to pay for higher prices, yet no one wants less service. The challenge is cost continues to rise (ie fuel) and going into a deficit is not the answer.

    If there are low density, low ridership routes, they need to be identified. Do we shift the service to high demand routes? Or do we reduce frequency?

    Yes there is a lot of anger over poor service out there, but taking it out on drivers or fellow passengers is not the answer.

  • By Eugene Wong, July 31, 2012 @ 2:00 am

    As a revenue generating idea, maybe Translink could offer to mail the month passes [and maybe even day passes] to customers who are willing to pay an extra amount.

    A computer could print the addresses on envelopes over night, and a worker, or another machine could stamp it.

    The envelopes could be prepared according to what is going to be mailed [e.g. “This pile is for 1 month passes. This is for 2 month passes…etc.”]. The worker would then just stuff the envelopes accordingly, and mail them that day. If the whole process could be automated, then even better.

    Does anybody have any guesses about how much extra customers would pay for this?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, July 31, 2012 @ 8:40 am

    Eugene: Not a bad idea—but with the Compass card coming next year, major alterations to our fare media and delivery methods aren’t being planned for the short term. As well, Compass will provide a range of ways to pay for your fare—the Compass FAQ lists vending machines, online payments and over the phone—meaning physical mailouts of cards will be unnecessary.

  • By travis burgie, January 19, 2013 @ 7:06 pm

    I don’t mind the increase in the fares,but what I would love to see is;if your going to raise them,you could also exstend the time a fare ticket is good for…like from what it is now,maybe 2hrs

Other Links to this Post

  1. A look at Metro Vancouver’s Fare Structure | City in Action — January 15, 2012 @ 6:26 pm

  2. The Buzzer blog » The Commissioner’s review and planning for the future — April 11, 2012 @ 10:31 am

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