The Coward’s Way Out

Insanity Is Doing the Same Thing Over and Over Again and Expecting Different Results

The preceding quote, often misattributed to Einstein, conveys the huge financial issues facing TransLink.

The provincial government’s bailout of TransLink, to a tune of $479 million, is nothing more than per-election politics as a financially floundering TransLink, does make good politics at election time.

The real problem is that former customers are not coming back to transit as predicted and with two very questionable and very expensive transit projects being built, lack of customers may prove very embarrassing in the future.

The $11 billion Broadway subway, Expo line extension to Langley and rehab, will look quite silly if no one uses them.

Instead of facing TransLink’s real problems including a proliferation of electric cars (no gas tax), remote working, and of course a very user unfriendly transit system.

In my local, the transit service, except for the express buses to the ferry, are mainly used by students (cheap fares, including the U-Pass) and those who do not have access to a car. The elderly have all but stopped taking transit, simply because it has become so user unfriendly.

Demographic change has also changed the playing field as more and more business are leaving Vancouver to cheaper operations up the valley.  Uber and other like ride-hailing services are also eating away at TransLink’s core business.

Yesterday’s destinations are growing thinner every year and except for post secondary institutions, such as UBC and SFU (which students have the universal $1 a day U-Pass, which also adds to TransLink’s financial woes), taking transit becomes more and more user unfriendly.

Instead of facing facts, the Premier and the Minister of Transportation, abetted by the Mayor’s Council on Transit are doubling down, with photo-op ready, politically prestigious transit projects and not designing a regional transit system that will naturally attract ridership for the future.

By doing the same thing over again, and expecting different results is a coward’s way out.


From News 1130


B.C. spending $479M to stabilize TransLink fares

The B.C. government is stepping in to bail out TransLink from financial shortfalls that could have led to service reductions.

Premier David Eby announced the $479 million cash infusion on Wednesday, saying it will go toward things like infrastructure, avoiding service cuts, and keeping free transit for kids under 12 years old.

“Hundreds of thousands of people rely on TransLink’s service every day to get to work, travel to school, and access all parts of the region,” Eby said. “Failing to act now would lead to higher fares, fewer buses on the road, and reduced service across the board. We won’t let that happen.”

B.C. Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Rob Fleming says the province will continue working with the federal government for future funding partnerships to help the transit company.

“Given TransLink’s significant and immediate needs, the Province is taking action with this funding stabilization to address TransLink’s short-term operating funding needs, preventing layoffs and maintaining transit services that will create jobs and reduce traffic congestion and air pollution, which benefits residents and visitors to Metro Vancouver,” he said.

Last month, the Metro Vancouver Mayors’ Council called for a $250 million investment from the federal government, which would be matched by the province.

Brad West, chair of the council and mayor of Port Coquitlam, says he welcomes Wednesday’s funding announcement.

“Every day almost 400,000 Metro Vancouver residents use our transit system. These are regular people trying to get to work or school, or go to a hockey game or a park, all of whom expect governments to keep them moving with good, reliable transit,” he said.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, TransLink has received over $850 million in government assistance due to decreased ridership, going from about 450 million users in 2019, to 200 million in both 2020 and 2021.



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