Passengers depart a bus at Grandview Corners Friday

Passengers depart a bus at Grandview Corners Friday

Fare decision won’t impact White Rock-Langley bus

Uncertainty continues over other TransLink planning, as leaders find no funding consensus.

The promised White Rock-Willowbrook bus connection will go ahead on April 23.

TransLink spokesman Derek Zabel confirmed Friday that the new 531 White Rock Centre-Willowbrook route will be going into service as announced.

“I know this is something White Rock residents have been waiting for for a number of years,” he said.

The decision of TransLink Commissioner Martin Crilly to veto a transit fare increase planned for next year had led to speculation that promised service upgrades – including the White Rock-Langley route – would be jeopardized.

But TransLink spokesperson Debbie Parhar said she believes the route is already funded by the existing gas tax and is not impacted by Crilly’s decision.

The route will be served by a standard 40-foot bus, running every half hour from 5:50 a.m. to 8:50 p.m., seven days a week.531 route

The route will run from the bus stops at Johnston Road and Thrift Avenue, up 152 Street to 24 Avenue; then travelling along 24 Avenue to 192 Street, and then to 200 Street via 32 Avenue.

Meanwhile, uncertainty over other TransLink services and planning continues.

CEO Ian Jarvis said the public transportation system is still studying the potential impacts of Crilly’s decision and the Mayors’ Council on Regional Tranportation’s motion to eliminate a reliance on property tax to fund the system’s Moving Forward Plan.

“We need time to review the information and understand what these decisions mean for TransLink, our customers and the public we serve,” Jarvis said in statement issued Friday.

Premier Christy Clark has ruled out the regional mayors’ call for vehicle levies or other short-term funding option to offset a planned  $30 million-two year property tax hike to pay for transit service expansion.

Clark has said she belives an audit of TransLink will find savings, while Crilly has said he believes the system could find $15-28  million a year in savings without cutting current or planned services.

Langley bus“We fully support an open review of our operations,” Jarvis said. “Our board of directors has asked for an expeditious audit so that we can return focus to delivering the services people of the region told us they need.”

The Mayors’ Council also issued a statement that an April 10 letter from Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Blair Lekstrom does not provide “specific and positive responses” to its concerns on the funding and governance of TransLink.

At an April 10 meeting the council passed four resolutions including one that reconfirmed the mayors’ opposition to any further use of property tax to fund transit and another that calls for the cancellation of  $30 million-over-two- years property tax hike to pay for TransLink’s latest expansion plans.

The mayors hold that another audit of TransLink is unnecessary, in light of Crill’s March 2012 efficiency review of the system. They say any audit should be conducted by the office of the provincial Auditor General, which they would also like to undertake an in-depth review of TransLink’s governance model.