Translink fare hike needs to be assessed against backdrop of “service optimization”

Translink’s confirmation yesterday that transit fares will rise Jan. 1 needs to be read alongside the release four days earlier of proposed “service optimization” plans that will see some routes cut while others get increased service.

Transit ridership is growing three times as fast as population growth, but CAW 111 President Don McLeod, who speaks for Translink’s bus drivers, is right when says that these changes will mean reduced service at higher fares for many riders, particularly in outlying areas. The never-ending drive for “savings” and “efficiencies” at Translink means more emphasis on buses running full and much less concern about riders on low density routes going without.

This 10 percent increase, the first since 2008, is smaller than the 12.5 percent rejected by the Translink commissioner earlier this year, but it’s the maximum Translink can take under provincial legislation. It’s critical to avert further cuts in a budget that finds one-third of its revenue from fares as gas tax revenue declines.

Worried about what will happen to your ride? You can voice your views online here.