TransLink commissioner nixes 12% fare hike

Bus and SkyTrain riders will get break next January after TransLink commissioner Martin Crilley rejected the 12.5-per cent boost in fares as part of the supplemental spending plan to bridge the agencies’ funding gaps.

Motorists, though, aren’t so lucky.

They’ll keep paying the two-cent-a-litre gasoline tax added in Metro Vancouver in April and homeowners will dig into their pocket for another $23 for the TransLink levy in 2013.

Crilley made those decisions Tuesday following a review of TransLink’s supplemental plan, Maple Ridge Mayor Ernie Daykin said following Tuesday’s meeting the Mayor’s Council on Regional Transportation.

“He’s saying no to the fare increase,” and telling TransLink to make up the difference by finding efficiencies, Daykin said.

He added that the review was wide ranging and compared TransLink with other transportation systems around the country. The consultants said the agency was doing a good job, but there’s been some “slippage in efficiencies.”

The full review was to be released today.

Daykin said the sparse level of transit service in the suburbs was losing ridership.

Meanwhile the gas levy that now makes up 17 cents of every litre of gas sold in Metro Vancouver is encouraging people to get out of their cars and find alternate transportation, resulting in a drop in gasoline revenues. Two cents a litre was just added in April.

The transportation authority took in $312 million in 2011 from the fuel tax, according to its annual report.

That was down nearly $12 million from 2010 as motorists bought 5.9 per cent less gasoline or diesel within Metro Vancouver.

Daykin said the mayors continue to oppose the $23 addition to the TransLink property levy. “Bottom line is, we do not have room in our property taxes. I’m not willing to go down that road.”

The mayors’ council also heard from Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom, who in a letter said people are maxed out when it comes to TransLink’s gasoline tax, but that road pricing is “an intriguing concept.”

Daykin said the mayors wanted an independent audit of TransLink but Lekstrom announced an internal finance audit of TransLink.

He also proposed adding the chair and vice-chair of the mayor’s council to TransLink’s board of directors, the decision making body, for better representation of politicians views.



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