Stupid is, as stupid does – TransLink – The faregate fiasco!

This article from Toronto contains some very interesting information.

“………$8 million to hire 100 fare inspectors……..”

…………and TransLink is spending at least $171 million on fare gates, with annual operating costs of $15 million to deter less than $5 million in fare evasion annually!

By the way, there is no proof that fare gates actually reduces fare evasion.

More proof that “if you have idiots running the show, don’t be surprised at the results!”


“A welcome way to improve streetcar service: Editorial
Transit CEO plans to let streetcar riders board using the back or centre door on an honour system of payment
Published on Mon Aug 11 2014

Andy Byford, who heads the Toronto Transit Commission, wants to move to the fare system used by cities throughout Europe, allowing customers to board streetcars by the back door on an honour basis.

The new model wouldnai??i??t operate entirely on trust.

As part of its plan, the TTC would hire about 100 fare inspectors to catch cheaters. Anyone without a specially stamped transfer, Metropass or other proof of payment, could be fined as much as $400.

This is a welcome reform. It would save passengers time; alleviate bunching at the front door; and, if the TTCai??i??s calculations are correct, pay for itself within a short time.

ai???International experience shows that with proper enforcement fare evasion will actually shrink,ai??? said chief customer officer Chris Upfold.

The proposal still needs the approval of the TTC board and the city.

The idea isnai??i??t new; the 501 streetcar on Queen St. already uses a proof of payment (POP) system between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

The cityai??i??s 204 new streetcars ai??i?? which will phased in over the next few years ai??i?? will all use the new fare system. They will be introduced on the Spadina line, starting Aug. 31.

The TTC originally set a 2019 target date to complete the switch-over.

But if Byfordai??i??s plan is accepted, the new fare system will be in place on all streetcars as of Jan. 1, 2015.

He estimates the change will save 5 to 6 minutes per trip on the heavily-used King streetcar.

He canai??i??t promise much relief to rush-hour customers.

That would require more vehicles and storage facilities. But heai??i??s doing as much as he can to modernize the existing system.

He is asking the city for $8 million to hire 100 fare inspectors and to increase the TTCai??i??s capital budget so he can add express buses, with the aim of reducing crowding to the 2012 level, when funding cuts were imposed.

Although money is tight and thereai??i??s no easy fix for Torontoai??i??s overburdened transit system, Byford has been making measureable progress since he took the helm in 2012.

He has improved punctuality on buses and subways (not yet on streetcars, impeded by construction).

He increased the number of subway stations with elevators and cut staff absenteeism. He has given ticket sellers the tools they need to accept debit or credit cards.

He introduced a customer charter with 39 commitments and a firm timetable for achieving them.

He launched ai???meet the managerai??? sessions for riders and quarterly town hall meetings. He has improved cleanliness, upgraded crackly speakers at five subway stations, and introduced easy-to-understand signs to guide travelers at the Yonge-Bloor and St. George hubs.

It would help enormously if the TTC, the third largest transit system in North America, received the same level of government support as its U.S. and European counterparts.

It currently relies on customer fares to provide 70 per cent of operating funds. But that is beyond Byfordai??i??s control.

What he is doing is providing creative leadership to get people moving in a clogged transit system.



2 Responses to “Stupid is, as stupid does – TransLink – The faregate fiasco!”
  1. Haveacow says:

    It has been my experience and is similar to others in this country’s transit industry that I have talked too in the that, at the least, 1 in 5 passengers are not paying when the honor system is being used and absolutely vigilant fare inspection is not used. Keep in mind that, the secret (non public for obvious reasons) statistics used in this city (Ottawa) report that, not only is 1 in 5 a very believable amount, certain routes are as high as 1 in 3. This is quite common when transit services let passengers with transfers,passes and fare cards to board by the back doors of articulated buses, just like they do here on Transitway routes and other busy routes here in Ottawa, that employ these buses. Your transit service’s assurance that only $5 million a year is lost to fare evasion is wishful thinking at its most grand. Vancouver is no different than any other city in this country that collects these stats.Trust me, your total is probably considerably higher than that.

    Here in Ottawa we still use paper tickets for now. Police and Transit officials find printing presses here constantly that print fake tickets of such high quality that only detailed inspection can pick out fakes. The cost to keep these tickets hard to copy is the main reason electronic fare cards have been so desired by transit agencies. A few years ago a “press” that printed almost perfect transfers on a daily basis was discovered. This concerned transit officials because the time stamped transfers printed out by linked computerized printers on the buses have a prefex code on them that changes everyday. So unless you pay for a fare and or daypass (also printed by the printer on the vehicle) and copy down the code then quickly run home and update your program you should have been caught by some drivers or fare inspectors. Also the paper these passes and transfers are printed on is a special quality paper that is not available everywhere and is only available from certain providers. Just imagine OC Transpo’s surprise when the police informed them that, they had raided a house that had rolls of their special transfer and daypass paper with all their logos and other security features on it as well as rolls of the paper that is used by OC Transpo for their tickets. All these “fakes” were printed on a good high end laser printer available at any computer or electronics retailer. It was estimated that, this gentleman had probably all by himself produced no less than $6-10 million worth of tickets, transfers and daypasses over 2-3 year period. The paper for these products was legally purchased by the gentleman from OC Transpo’s suppliers, usually in Asia. The only reason this guy was caught was the police had been tracking him because he was suspected of passing forged currency. The police knew nothing about the forged transit tickets, transfers and daypasses. This is just one story that made it out to the public that, OC Transpo just couldn’t stop from being reported on publicly. It is estimated every 2-3 months a lower quality press is found in Ottawa, these stories just never become public knowledge. The joke on OC Transpo was everyone in the community knew about it and he would offer his product to people for a fee or for free to his deserving neighbors whom were mostly seniors living on low fixed incomes. Everybody in the community knew they were fakes and no one reported him. They treated him like a modern day Robinhood. When OC Transpo went back into their records of confiscated ticket and daypass fakes, none of his products appeared. Which meant as far as they knew, none of this guys products had ever been spotted. The thing that really must of just drove OC Transpo crazy was that the guy never had to spend more than $2500 a year on his supplies, colored printer ink included, which he said he would always buy at full price from national retailers.

    Here in Ottawa when fare inspectors board a vehicle it is always in pairs or trios for larger vehicles backed up by no fewer than 1 armed, special constable (Transit Cop). Keep in mind it is a similar situation in Toronto and that the $8 million will only apply to fare inspection on the 501,502,503 streetcar routes on Queen St. and the 504 and King St. streetcar routes, not the system as a whole. You see the TTC is very serious about fare evasion and has always had a marshal mentality regarding this subject. All people, everybody, will not pay the legally required fare eventually, especially when it is clear that, they are continually given a choice to not pay by non frequent fare inspection.

    I used to be a licensed store detective (required here in Ontario with no less than 2 months training as well as a private investigator’s training certificate), the job title was loss prevention supervisor. I found out that eventually, everyone steals, all ages, races, income groups and religions it was a very eye opening experience.

    Zwei replies: Supposedly TransLink has 170 full time attendant who are supposed to check for the proper fare, then they created the transit cops to check fares, now are spending over $200 million on a new faregate system that is supposed to check fares. Something is wildly amiss here.

  2. eric chris says:

    Woops, please replace my last two comments, sorry:

    On both the 99 B-Line (as well as other BRT routes in Metro Vancouver) and ST routes, the vast majority of fare evaders who have multiple fines are joy riders (teenagers) or homeless bums who either ride for free or don’t ride at all. Fare gates are a veiled and partial attempt by TransLink to keep them off ST and won’t do a thing to keep them off BRT.

    What fare evasion?
    Fare gates cost taxpayers $200 million to build and will cost $15 million in perpetuity to maintain and enforce. TransLink now has a “director of fare evasion and a new department” sucking more money from taxpayers and Ian Jarvis (“head” of TransLink) couldn’t be more pleased that his money sucking bureaucracy with an annual operating deficit of $1 billion (tax subsidy) is growing.

    In a bitter twist of irony, after spending $200 million to keep the smelly and offensive homeless bums off transit, the mayors are asking TransLink to let them ride for free! It seems that the penniless homeless bums are now stranded with the crackdown on “fare evaders” which TransLink alleges was costing TransLink millions of dollars annually in lost revenue. OK.

    Transit diversion propaganda
    After the Shirocca report showed TransLink to be run by bungling buffoons, TransLink needed a diversion and fare gates was it. TransLink called up the “Vancouver Sun” and started telling everyone that fare evasion was bleeding the coffers dry at TransLink. Really though, fare evasion here is another case of TransLink making a big something out of nothing. Fare gates cost more than they save and will lead to counterfeit fare cards losing TransLink more to combat in the future (Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan):—Council/Council-Profiles/Mayor-Derek-Corrigan.html

    Derek Corrigan is one of the few mayors who can connect the dots. He knows that TransLink is not financially sustainable. Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson wanting another ST line up Broadway just has his head up his @$$ and is too corrupt to face the truth that ST is a costly sham ruining and bankrupting transit here.

    Getting back to your comment, absolutely, unless you police transit you are going to have a great deal of fare evasion, especially from individuals such as Mayor Gregor “two zone” Robertson who pleaded guilty to hopping on the bus for one zone then sneaking on the ST to ride the second zone for free. He claims to have innocently forgotten to pay for the second zone:

    Revenue losing fare evasion
    We don’t have a great deal of “revenue losing” fare evasion and transit police at ST stations already keep most people honest. In any case, lost revenue from fare evasion is at present covered in the high cost of the fares charged by TransLink. Some fare evasion does occurs on ST and BRT (99 B-Line with rear door boarding). Most users on the 99 B-Line are students who have $30 monthly passes to travel all three zones to attend UBC and “revenue losing” fare evasion is not significant on the 99 B-Line.

    The best way to curb fare evasion and to improve safety on transit is with “boots on transit”. This means putting “attendants or tram rats as they are called in Adelaide, Australia” on ST and BRT to collect fares and keep the peace. Electronic fare cards are a bad idea and slow down the commute because now transit users have to tap in and out and this takes time which ST and BRT can’t accommodate. .

    Fares cards are not suited for ST and BRT and are a “misapplication of the technology” by the inept business and arts grads who run TransLink. Fare cards work fine for single door boarding on suburban bus routes or tram lines where you have lots of time to board and alight – not on ST and BRT which are go-go, rush-rush, get on and off, fast. This is the prime reason that the fare gates aren’t in service and their implementation is being delayed: TransLink is stalling to find a technical solution. TransLink won’t find one and the process (time consuming tapping in and out) is flawed for BRT and ST.