@MayorGregor puts #riders’ needs back in #translink debate

The secret ingredient in Mayor Gregor Robertson’s successful “compromise” motion that won overwhelming support from the Translink Mayor’s Council yesterday is hiding right in the first bullet: “no service reductions for transit routes.”

For the first time in a year, during which the Comptroller General, the Translink Commissioner and now a provincial audit team have tried to top each other with ever-deeper cuts in the transit authority, transit users are back in the picture.

The mayors have made it clear that transit service cannot be cut. In fact, it needs to grow at a time when Metro Vancouver residents are ready to park their cars.

Then point 2: do not liquidate capital assets to pay for operating expenditures. With those two issues out of the way, Robertson turned to funding.

The gauntlet is down once more to Victoria — which has sabotaged such discussions twice before — to get serious about alternative funding models. The mayors overwhelmingly agree that road pricing or a vehicle levy holds the most promise.

For the last six months, Translink has lurched from crisis to crisis as a provincial audit team camped at head office looking for deep cuts that would amount to amputations if fully implemented. The mayors simply ignored the audit report and got on to the main issue: building transit.

Imagine that! A debate on transit with users’ needs front and centre! Robertson’s motion may finally change the channel on a crucial debate for the region.