Cash-Strapped Translink Cutting Back on Expansion Plans


Read this story from the Georgia Straight on Translink’s recent announcement that it will be paring down its plans for expanded service in order to cut costs in the face of a budget deficit. (Sept. 17, 2012)

TransLink is putting off some planned expansion projects over the next three years, including 306,000 hours of increased bus service, after falling short of projected revenues.

But through $98 million in annual efficiencies identified by TransLink over the next three years, the transit authority is planning to proceed with some expansions, such as the region’s contribution to the Evergreen Line project, and an increase of 109,000 in annual hours of transit service.

“There’s 306,000 hours of service that is not going to be introduced over the next three years. It’s needed service, we just can’t deliver it,” Robert Paddon, TransLink’s executive vice-president of strategic planning and public affairs, said at a news conference today (September 17) on the authority’s draft 2013 Base Plan.

Some of the planned projects that will not proceed include expanded SeaBus service on Sundays and holidays outside of the summer months. While B-line service on King George Boulevard will go ahead under the draft plan, the service won’t extend to White Rock Centre as originally anticipated.

In addition to the efficiencies, TransLink will also draw on its reserve fund to maintain existing services and allow some of its planned improvement projects to go ahead.

Some of the other projects that will proceed over the next three years include upgrades to Expo Line stations such as Commercial-Broadway, Metrotown, New Westminster and Joyce-Collingwood. Rapid bus service will be launched on Highway 1 over the Port Mann Bridge between Langley and New Westminster, however a 10-minute frequency along the route will only be offered during peak hours. Buses will run every 30 minutes during off-peak hours.

The 2013 draft plan is contingent on the mayors’ council on regional transportation voting in favour of a two-year $30-million property tax hike. The mayors have previously voted against the increase.

TransLink officials said the transit authority’s budget has been challenged by factors including lower than expected fuel-tax revenues, and lower than anticipated fare and toll revenues.

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