TransLink should take a page from the real world and tighten its own belt. It seems to think that money is free for the asking and as past practice shows, I guess it is.
TransLink pays all its employees very well and with excellent benefits in today’s financially strapped world. I, unfortunately, work for an airline and make less now in pay and benefits than I did 20 years ago. This was not by choice, but by market demand and survival. TransLink couldn’t survive on its own without the constant, ever-increasing handouts from the taxpayers.
Don’t get me wrong, a good transit system is essential; unfortunately ours comes up very short. My wife takes the SkyTrain to work every day, but still needs her car to get to and from the station and has to pay for parking on top of that. I work at YVR and finish at 1 a.m. and have no choice but to drive for lack of service. Service isn’t really a good description as it takes over two hours to get from my home in east Newton to YVR during operating hours and costs more than the gas for the 30-minute drive.
Due to the increase in housing costs and everything else, but with a stagnant wage, most airport staff live in Delta, Surrey and Langley and all without a feasible transit option. We can’t keep funding TransLink’s inflated operating budget for their wage and benefit packages with no improvements in service and none planned. Surrey, Langley and the rest of the Fraser Valley is where the growth is and will continue to be, but we don’t all need or just want to have access to downtown Vancouver.
So forget vehicle levies and distance-based insurance when there are no alternatives. It is already very expensive to own and operate a vehicle; most families have two vehicles by necessity. In a perfect world we would all live within walking, cycling or public transit distance to get to work and play, but ours is a far from perfect world.
A. Andersen, Surrey