TransLink waste probe could avert next fare hike

Watchdog wants justification of why riders should pay more

TransLink's efficiency is going to come under increased scrutiny from independent TransLink Commissioner Martin Crilly.

TransLink’s independent commissioner is going on a hunt for waste and inefficiency within the transportation authority to see if another fare increase slated for 2013 can be avoided.

Martin Crilly said TransLink is expected to apply in 2012 for that next fare hike and indicated he will take a hard look at the justification.

“It is our responsibllity to check it out,” said Crilly, who has the power to reject proposed fare hikes.

“It’s our duty to satisfy ourselves that TransLink really does need a fare increase in order to deliver all the things it has planned to do in the latest version of the plans approved by the mayors’ council.”

TransLink’s new plan banks on a 12.5 per cent increase in average fare revenue from the 2013 hike.

“If we were to judge that TransLink can still complete all its plans with less money, we would approve only a smaller or a later fare increase –  if any,” Crilly said.

The TransLink Commissioner‘s office is preparing to hire consultants to analyze TransLink’s efficiency in delivering services and projects and compare its performance to industry norms in a search for potential savings.

Crilly wants to look at areas such as employee absenteeism and bus driver productivity – how the hours drivers are paid stack up against the actual service hours delivered.

Those are among a long list of suggested questions contained in a bidding document the commissioner has issued for prospective consultants.

Crilly also wants an examination of whether transit vehicle maintenance and downtime costs TransLink more than the industry standard and whether buses are being replaced at the right pace.

“Are actual repair times monitored against standard times?” the request for qualifications asks.

Management and head office aren’t to be spared either.

Crilly wants consultants to look at administrative overhead, why TransLink often fails to carry out all the capital projects it promises and whether its fuel cost hedging strategy is effective.

Besides helping Crilly decide whether to veto the next fare hike, the results are expected to help guide TransLink management and may affect Crilly’s advice to Metro Vancouver mayors on TransLink’s future spending plans and whether to approve requests for further funding.

The commissioner’s office expects to spend up to $80,000 on the consultants, who are to be hired by January and would report back by the end of March.

A 2013 fare increase would come on the heels of an already approved two-cent gas tax increase next April to fund part of TransLink’s contribution to the Evergreen Line as well as a package of other transit upgrades.

Mayors and the province are also committed to negotiate new funding sources for TransLink, otherwise a property tax increase kicks in to pay for the balance of the newly approved projects.

Twitter: Jeff Nagel

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

33-storey highrise proposal coming to Surrey council, first of three phases

Second and third phases include 36-storey and 31-storey towers

Surrey city council moving to virtual meetings

For public hearings, people can register to speak via telephone

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

COVID-19: Daily update on the pandemic in Surrey, White Rock, Delta and beyond

APRIL 4: Two people in Delta fined for trying to re-sell N95 masks

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Researchers look at humidity as a weapon in the fight against airborne viruses

Regular hand washing, physical distancing and PPE for health care workers remains best line of defense

Exercises move online with YMCA’s new nationwide virtual workout program

YThrive Home offers dozens of free workout videos for people during COVID-19 self-isolation period

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at Mission Institution; two other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, says correctional officer

B.C. community service provider hosts friendly art competition for youth

Theme for Pacific Community Resources contest is ‘finding the silver lining in difficult times’

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

TransLink to reduce service on some bus routes, SeaBus, West Coast Express

Changes start April 6 ‘due to low ridership and financial pressures’ amid COVID-19

Most Read