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TransLink board approves fare hike, property tax increase for 2024

This is coming into effect on July 1
TransLink Board voting for fare and property tax hike Wednesday, March 27, 2024. (Screen shot)

Transit fares are going up, and property taxes too, after the nine-member TransLink Board voted unanimously in favour of this on Wednesday, March 27.

As a result, in 2024, TransLink riders will pay five cents to 15 cents more for adult and concession fares. Broken down, cash fares for adults for one-zone trips will rise to $3.20 from $3.15, for two-zones to $4.65 from $4.55 and for three-zones $6.35 from $6.20.

Cash fares for concession for one-zone trips will cost $2.15 instead of $2.10, and $3.15 from $3.10 for two zones and $4.35 instead of $4.25 for three zones.

Monthly passes for adults, one-zone, will rise to $107.30 from $104.90, to $143.50 from $140.25 for two-zones and to $193.80 from $189.45 for three zones, while concession, all zones, is going up to $61.35 from $59.95.

This makes for an average increase of 2.3 per cent, coming into effect on July 1.

Property taxes will also rise by $3.08 per month in 2024 for the median household.

The resolution first passed third reading, as read by board chairwoman Lorraine Cunningham, “and reconsiders and finally adopts this tariff bylaw.”

“I see the necessity for voting for this increase and understand the financial pressures on the system,” director Andrea Reimer remarked.

READ ALSO: Metro Mayors urge public to pressure feds, province for more cash for transit expansion

TransLink CFO Christine Dacre said in 2023 it launched an independent “efficiencies review to ensure we are doing everything we can at TransLink to be as efficient as possible in delivering on our commitments.”

Dacre said the “tariff amendment” is consistent with B.C.’s Safety Restart agreement signed in 2020, as well as a 2022 investment plan. “The recommended increase remains below the cost of living and inflation, in keeping transit fares affordable to Metro Vancouverites,” she said.

Earlier in the meeting, TransLink CEO Kevin Quinn noted in the last year the region’s population has grown by 90,000 people “and we are on track to reach three million Metro Vancouverites this year. The fact is congestion is worsening and we are increasingly experiencing the effects of climate emergency and our region is facing an affordability crisis.”

Some 900,000 people ride public transit every week, and at peak times one-third of trips in Surrey, Langley and Vancouver are overcrowded. “There isn’t any place to stand,” he said, and customers “run the very real chance” of a full bus “passing you by.”

TransLink, Quinn said, is facing a structural deficit due to “lower than projected” fare revenues, “declining fuel tax revenues and increased costs due to inflation.

“The reality is, these pressures have out-paced our local ability to pay for it. With 90,000 residents moving to the region in 2023 alone it is clear that now more than ever we need to act on these pressures and anticipate that this rate of growth may not slow down.”

TransLink critic Nathan Davidowicz argued that the zone system is unfair because the size of the zones are “way different.”

“According to the Canadian Urban Transit Association we have the highest average fares in Canada,” he said.

“Congestion has slowed our buses by up to 33 per cent since 1984 but 90-minutes per transfer has not changed. Many other transit systems have increased the transfer time from 90 minutes to 120 minutes, which is two hours, which is way better, and fairer.”

About the Author: Tom Zytaruk

I write unvarnished opinion columns and unbiased news reports for the Surrey Now-Leader.
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