Parting Shots From Former TransLink CEO Doug Allen


Sorry Doug, your diatribe has fallen on deaf ears.

If TransLink really cared about the customer, like other transit agencies do, TransLink would not be held in such high odor by the taxpayer.

TransLink has had over a decade to improve service, but no, all you guys did was to blindly bleat on and on on wonderful TransLink is, while turning a blind eye to customer needs.

TranLink hated its customers and in turn, its customers greatly disliked TransLink.

It is not news that TransLink’s ridership is declining, your service is poor, your new fare system discriminatory and user unfriendly, and forced transfers from bus to mini-metro irksome.

I know you were in shock when the plebiscite failed, I wasn’t because I knew how out of touch you and your cabal running the show were.

Your self serving nonsense doesn’t fool anyone, if you really thought that mixing roads and bridges with transit was a bad thing, why didn’t you do anything about it?

You are the epitome of TransLink ponderous, out of touch and arrogant. The regional mayors areAi?? equally out of touch and remain ignorant about modern public transit practice, but you did nothing to educate them, instead catered to their insipid demands.

Adios Doug, you have left TransLink adrift in a sea of debt and not a whimper from you until now. It is one hell of a legacy.

TransLink driving away ridership: former CEO

Doug Allen says passengers should be priority, not roads and bridges

By Kelly Sinoski, Vancouver SunJanuary 18, 2016

Doug Allen, former interim CEO of TransLink, said in a report written upon his departure last August that more needs to be done to increase ridership on public transit. Allen is pictured speaking to media last July.

Photograph by: Wayne Leidenfrost, PNG

TransLink does not focus enough on boosting public transit ridership across Metro Vancouver because it is too distracted by road and bridge projects.

Thatai??i??s the crux of a confidential report written by former interim CEO Doug Allen when he left the transportation authority after a six-month stint last August.

The report, released under Freedom of Information, covers everything from TransLinkai??i??s tarnished reputation to its ai???confusingai??? governance structure and the controversial Compass card.

ai???TransLink is not focused on increasing ridership,ai??? Allen writes. ai???In recent years, ridership has been declining and this is a critical issue for a transit system that is planning expansion for a growing

Allen said TransLinkai??i??s decision to focus on road and bridge improvements has created a ai???conflicting mandateai??? for the board, noting that as vehicle travel becomes more efficient, transit becomes less appealing. The Golden Ears Bridge, parking fees at park-and-ride lots and other decisions have deterred transit users, he said.

Even the Compass card was touted as a way to reduce fare evasion rather than boost ridership.

ai???The attempt to reconcile these conflicting mandates has resulted in an enterprise with vague goals about producing regional transportation plans,ai??? Allen said. ai???Because growing ridership is not currently identified as the organizational priority there are no projects, initiatives or strategies designed to increase ridership. Many decisions are actually counterproductive to this

TransLink has acknowledged it has seen a rolling decline in ridership over the past two years, partly because of a 2013 fare increase. A move last fall to make all bus fares one zone as part of the Compass card rollout did result in a 1.1-per-cent boost in bus ridership, TransLink said, but it is forecasting a $1.1-million decline in revenue next year as the Compass card takes full effect and the number of cash fares ai???dramatically

TransLink plans to review its fare structure for the first time in 30 years, which could potentially see its three-zone system replaced with a flat fare across the region or a distance-based fee, to boost ridership.

The move was recommended in a core services review by Allen, which also suggests that TransLink use mobility pricing, such as tolling all bridges, to get people out of their cars. It also suggests drawing up a business case to transfer its roads and bridges to another agency.

Regional mayors have touted mobility pricing as a way to fund transportation across the region, but Greg Moore, Port Coquitlamai??i??s mayor and chairman of Metro Vancouver, said he doesnai??i??t agree TransLink should hive off its roads and bridges. This would whittle down the long-range vision of getting more people walking, cycling or taking transit to work, he said.

ai???I feel a lot of effort goes into moving goods and people through the system,ai??? Moore said. ai???When you look at other organizations around the world, TransLink is the envy, in the sense that one authority is looking after transit and transportation. In most cases, there are multiple groups looking after roads and bridges. At TransLink, we have the best of all of it going

Allen maintains the TransLink system is ai???safe, reliable, efficient and affordableai??? but insists roads and bridges shouldnai??i??t be included in core operations. He also maintains TransLink could improve its customer service, noting the public has been left with an impression of ai???detached indifference to their experience, opinions or requests.

ai???Customers need attention and TransLink as a service organization must respond,ai??? Allen writes. ai???For example, more proactive customer communications by SkyTrain attendants would set a positive tone for riders. Lessons can be learned from leading customer service organizations such as Disneyland or

He noted TransLink doesnai??i??t sell its good points. During the recent plebiscite, for example, the mayorsai??i?? council told TransLink to remain quiet and out of the public eye, which was ai???the worst possible approach,ai??? Allen said, as it resulted in more negativity around the agency and a ai???bunker mentalityai??? among employees.

TransLink is in the midst of developing a ai???customer service guarantee,ai??? Allen noted, but it must also look at realigning its structure, which consists of multiple boards for buses, SkyTrain and the Transit police who all report to the main TransLink board. This makes the system confusing, especially as it is overseen by TransLink, Metro Vancouver and the provincial government.

He suggests the TransLink board should be responsible for running the transit agency and making decisions around fares and operations, and be appointed in a similar fashion to those at YVR and BC Ferries.

The province should also show more support for TransLink, he said. ai???Openly criticizing a public agency on a regular basis simply reinforces uninformed views, particularly if the party doing the criticizing is responsible for the creation of the agency in the first place,ai??? he said.

At the same time, he maintains Metro mayors should step back and only focus on regional and long-term investment.

Moore argues this runs contrary to Metroai??i??s views that it have more authority, not less, over TransLink operations.

TransLink board chair Don Rose said in an emailed statement that TransLink appreciated Allenai??i??s ai???observations and

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