Troubles At TransLink?

TransLink cartoon


Is a financial embarrassment of TransLink at hand?

Monday morning I dropped my wife off at a suburban bus stop to catch the express bus going to the Canada Line. The bus had no more than seven people on board. The reason she took the bus, is that we are a one car family and I needed the car for an important appointment. My wife used to commute by bus daily but after the Canada Line opened, her commute to town increased 15 to 20 minutes.

A new local job, just before the Covid emergency, meant she only needed to commute to Vancouver once a week. With Covid she drove instead and could get to her work in under 50 minutes, compared to the 90 minutes using transit. She only works one day a week in town and using the car is no great extra cost, when compared to the bus.

The 602 came and being the last stop before its dash to Richmond there was a total of ten customers the bus, with two others boarding with my wife.

I have noticed the same phenomenon with other suburban routes, with express buses having no more than ten customers on board trundling back and forth.

What has happened?

The main culprit is covid-19 and two years of mask only travel; remote education and working at home has taken their toll.

One comment from a former commuter who emailed me was more blunt:

Until I started taking the car again to work, as I did not realize how crappy the bus service was.

A blunt assessment of the bus service which our cancel culture mainstream media would not allow on air or publish.

Something else that happened last week that puzzled me, New Westminster Mayor, Jonathan Coté announced he would not run in this year’s civic elections. Mayor, Jonathan Coté also happens to be the Chair of the Mayor’s Council on Transit a prestigious position to hold, especially at election time and he is not running and no one seems to want the job.

Could it be that bad news is in the offing? News that could cut short a politcal career?

The “good news, bad news”, chair of TransLink has been doing pod casts, singing hosannas about himself desperately trying to be the Mr. Rogers of TransLink.

Again, I wonder if he is trying to isolate himself from bad news?

I think, as do many others, that TransLink is tilting on a financial precipice, caused by lack of revenue generated by a lack ridership; lack of a user friendly transit service and a lack of affordable planning. Presently, all TransLink can afford is a $2.85 billion, 5.8 km subway under Broadway. The 16 km Expo Line to Langley is more than a billion dollars short of funding and TransLink is desperately trying to reduce operating costs by rationalizing bus service in both the City of Vancouver and metro Vancouver.

Both last summers heat dome and November’s monsoon rainfall, causing massive damage to the highway and rail infrastructure and the floods in the upper Fraser Valley, means there will be little, if any financial relief in the next few years.

Shilling for higher taxes for TransLink in a civic election year is a big politcal no-no.

My problem is a simple one…I can’t pay it!” Harry Mage February 23, 1952

My problem is a simple one…I can’t pay it!”
Harry Mage
February 23, 1952

TransLink by skill of their media manipulation has kept the dire financial news from the public as Covid, vaccinations and the daily dose of goody two shoes news from the mainstream media has masked transit problems ……. for now.

The day of reckoning is coming, either increase taxes, as Trudeau is planning to do on the on paper value of houses or cut back on transit and transportation mega projects and build what is affordable and what is useful.

My prediction that the news of tax increases will come in December of this year, right after the civic elections as newly elected civic politicians will be safe for another four years.

TransLink is just too large, just too corrupt to fail.

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