TransLink waste probe could avert next fare hike

Watchdog wants justification of why riders should pay more

TransLink's efficiency is going to come under increased scrutiny from independent TransLink Commissioner Martin Crilly.

TransLink’s independent commissioner is going on a hunt for waste and inefficiency within the transportation authority to see if another fare increase slated for 2013 can be avoided.

Martin Crilly said TransLink is expected to apply in 2012 for that next fare hike and indicated he will take a hard look at the justification.

“It is our responsibllity to check it out,” said Crilly, who has the power to reject proposed fare hikes.

“It’s our duty to satisfy ourselves that TransLink really does need a fare increase in order to deliver all the things it has planned to do in the latest version of the plans approved by the mayors’ council.”

TransLink’s new plan banks on a 12.5 per cent increase in average fare revenue from the 2013 hike.

“If we were to judge that TransLink can still complete all its plans with less money, we would approve only a smaller or a later fare increase –  if any,” Crilly said.

The TransLink Commissioner‘s office is preparing to hire consultants to analyze TransLink’s efficiency in delivering services and projects and compare its performance to industry norms in a search for potential savings.

Crilly wants to look at areas such as employee absenteeism and bus driver productivity – how the hours drivers are paid stack up against the actual service hours delivered.

Those are among a long list of suggested questions contained in a bidding document the commissioner has issued for prospective consultants.

Crilly also wants an examination of whether transit vehicle maintenance and downtime costs TransLink more than the industry standard and whether buses are being replaced at the right pace.

“Are actual repair times monitored against standard times?” the request for qualifications asks.

Management and head office aren’t to be spared either.

Crilly wants consultants to look at administrative overhead, why TransLink often fails to carry out all the capital projects it promises and whether its fuel cost hedging strategy is effective.

Besides helping Crilly decide whether to veto the next fare hike, the results are expected to help guide TransLink management and may affect Crilly’s advice to Metro Vancouver mayors on TransLink’s future spending plans and whether to approve requests for further funding.

The commissioner’s office expects to spend up to $80,000 on the consultants, who are to be hired by January and would report back by the end of March.

A 2013 fare increase would come on the heels of an already approved two-cent gas tax increase next April to fund part of TransLink’s contribution to the Evergreen Line as well as a package of other transit upgrades.

Mayors and the province are also committed to negotiate new funding sources for TransLink, otherwise a property tax increase kicks in to pay for the balance of the newly approved projects.

Twitter: Jeff Nagel

Just Posted

Judge adjusts Charter award in RCMP assault case in Surrey

Former Surrey hotel manager was awarded $65,000 in damages after RCMP assaulted him

‘Epic’ Surrey Pride party to celebrate 20th anniversary at Central City Plaza

Planners of family-friendly event don’t welcome nudity

White Rock council opts for compromise in waterfront parking fee increase

Amendment calls for hourly rates of $3.75 instead of $4 from April to September

Surrey councillor ‘concerned about democracy’ after tensions boil over with mayor

Pettigrew believes actions at June 24 meeting ‘were in violation of city charter and our city procedural bylaws’

The end is near for North Surrey rec centre, and programs will move within 4km radius

Plan is for the site of the aging rec centre to become mixed-use ‘Centre Block’ development

VIDEO: Tributes flow on 10th anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death

Jackson received a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol on June 25, 2009. He died at age 50

40 cats, kittens surrendered in apparent animal hoarding at Vancouver home

Officers found the cats living among piles of garbage and feces, suffering from fleas

Vancouver Aquarium drops cetacean ban lawsuit in new lease agreement

Ocean Wise CEO Lasse Gustavsson called the updated lease an exciting new chapter for the aquarium

Plane veers off runway, into ditch at Langley Airport

Fire, ambulance, and police are on scene

Okanagan RCMP bike patrol rolls up on alleged stolen vehicle from Burnaby

The driver, a 30-year-old Kelowna man, has been held in custody and is facing possible charges of possession of stolen property and obstructing a police officer

Man arrested after pimping investigation in Whistler

A 44-year-old man has been charged with procuring and benefiting from sexual services

Thieves steal two $40K chairs featuring gold serpents from Vancouver furniture store

Chairs believed to be the only two of its kind in Canada, police said

Province to increase parking, pilot First Nation stewards at busy Joffre Lakes

Two-hundred more parking stalls will bring total spots to allow 450 cars

Search on for black bear that appears to be habituated in Burnaby

The bear lunged at a woman who was trying to shoo it from several backpacks

Most Read

l -->