TransLink (British Columbia)
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|Formed||January 1, 1998|
|Headquarters||New Westminster, B.C.|
|Annual budget||$1.4 billion for 2012|
TransLink (legally the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority) is the statutory authority responsible for the regional transportation network of Metro Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada, including public transport and major roads and bridges. Its main operating facilities are located in the city of New Westminster.
TransLink was created in 1998 (then called the Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority, or GVTA) and fully implemented in April 1999 by the Government of British Columbia to replace BC Transit in the Greater Vancouver Regional District and assume many transportation responsibilities previously held by the provincial government. TransLink is responsible for various modes of transportation in the Metro Vancouver region. The West Coast Express extends into the Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD). On November 29, 2007, the province of British Columbia approved legislation changing the governance structure and official name of the organization.
- 1 Transit
- 2 Roads
- 3 Transit-related improvements
- 4 Cycling
- 5 Emission control
- 6 Accessibility
- 7 Governance
- 8 2007 reorganization
- 9 2015 plebiscite
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
Buses in Metro Vancouver are operated by two companies. Coast Mountain Bus Company operates regular transit buses, generally powered by diesel or natural gas, in most of the region's municipalities, in addition to trolley buses, primarily within the city of Vancouver. The District Municipality of West Vancouver operates the Blue Bus system serving West Vancouver and Lions Bay. The schedules, fares, and routes of these services are integrated with other transit services operated by TransLink.
Within the city of Vancouver, buses generally run on a grid system, with most trolley bus routes operating radially out of downtown and along north–south arteries, and most diesel buses providing east–west crosstown service, with the University of British Columbia (UBC) as their western terminus. Outside the city of Vancouver, most buses operate on a hub-and-spoke system along feeder routes that connect with SkyTrain, SeaBus, West Coast Express, or other regional centres.
Electric trolley buses operate on major routes in the city of Vancouver, with one route extending to neighbouring Burnaby. Most trolley bus routes operate in a north–south direction. Trolley buses receive electricity from a network of overhead wires. In the fall of 2006, TransLink introduced a new generation of electric trolley buses, replacing the old models built in the early 1980s. The new trolley buses have low floors and are fully wheelchair accessible.
Many local routes are serviced with buses manufactured by New Flyer and Nova Bus. More recently, TransLink has been using hybrid diesel-electric buses. Some suburban routes use Orion coaches with high-back seats and luggage racks.
In 2007, all TransLink buses became designated fare paid zones. Under this system, a rider is required to be in possession of a valid fare (transfer or transit pass) while on board the bus and produce it upon request by a transit official. Enforcement of fares is conducted by Transit Security officers. On designated routes, such as the 99 B-Line, larger, 60 feet (18.3 m), three-door buses allow passengers to board through rear doors. As they are bypassing the driver and fare box, they must have a valid fare in their possession. On all other buses, passengers are required to board through the front doors and should show a valid fare to the bus driver. Fare inspections on buses are normally conducted by Transit Security officers and on occasion by the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Police Service. Failure to produce proof of payment may result in ejection from the bus and/or a fine of $173.
TransLink also operates a late-night bus service, called NightBus, on 13 routes extending from downtown throughout the city and to several suburbs. NightBuses leave downtown Vancouver until 3 a.m. For the safety of passengers late at night, Transit Security officers ride some of the night buses and respond to calls onboard others. These buses are popular since SkyTrain ends service at 1:30 a.m. but downtown clubs and bars do not close until 3 a.m.
Originally completed in 1985 as a transit showcase for Expo 86, the SkyTrain automated rapid transit system has become an important part of the region's transportation network. The original Expo Line operates from Downtown Vancouver through southern Burnaby, New Westminster, and Surrey.
The system was further expanded with the opening of the Millennium Line in 2002, which links eastern New Westminster and northern Burnaby to Vancouver. The Millennium Line was expected to eventually branch northeast through Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam. This SkyTrain network extension will now be known as the Evergreen Line. It is expected to be open in summer 2016.
The Canada Line, which opened on August 17, 2009, runs underground through Vancouver and then along an elevated guideway with two branches, to Richmond and Vancouver International Airport. It meets the other two lines at Waterfront Station in downtown Vancouver, but it is operationally independent and has no track connection to them.
The Expo Line and Millennium Line are operated by British Columbia Rapid Transit Company Ltd., a subsidiary of TransLink. The Canada Line is operated by ProTrans BC, a private concessionaire.
West Coast Express
West Coast Express is a commuter railway connecting downtown Vancouver to Metro Vancouver municipalities to the east and terminating in Mission in the FVRD, north of the Fraser River. It is operated by a subsidiary of TransLink.
SeaBus and Albion Ferry
SeaBus is a passenger ferry service across Burrard Inlet between Vancouver and the North Shore municipalities that is operated by Coast Mountain Bus Company and integrated with the transit system. It holds approximately 400 people and sails every 15 minutes during rush hour.
The Albion Ferry was a free automobile ferry service between Langley Township and Maple Ridge across the Fraser River. The ferry service was retired when the Golden Ears Bridge opened on June 16, 2009.
|Fare type||One Zone||Two Zones||Three Zones||YVR AddFare|
All transit fare holders are permitted unlimited transfers within a 90-minute period on the bus or on SkyTrain or SeaBus throughout the number of zones printed on the ticket.
Concession fares apply to children aged 5–13, seniors aged 65+, and high school students aged 14–19 with a valid student identification card from a school in Metro Vancouver (known as a GoCard). Children aged 4 and younger ride for free. Zone fares apply weekdays before 6:30 p.m. During evenings and on weekends, passengers can travel throughout the system on a one-zone fare. Students from all public post-secondary institutions in the Lower Mainland, with the exception of the Justice Institute of British Columbia, receive a U-Pass, which is included in student fees and is valid across all three zones.
Failure to pay the fare or produce valid proof of payment is an offence. Fare inspections are conducted by the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Police Service and Transit Security. Fraudulent use of fares (using a fake pass, using another person's non-transferable pass, etc.) may result in criminal charges. Passengers found without a valid fare or who fail to produce valid proof of payment are served with an Infraction Ticket of $173, under the Fare Collection Regulation. In September 2012, amendments to the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Act came into effect, making TransLink responsible for collection of fines issued by Transit Police and Transit Security. Since October 5, 2015, all bus travel is considered one-zone travel and no additional fares are required for crossing fare boundaries on the bus.
Coast Mountain Bus Company operates TransLink's Transit Security Department. Transit Security officers are mobile, ride buses and trains, inspect fares, issue fines and patrol TransLink properties. They work closely with transit police to ensure safety throughout the transit network. Transit Security officers are authorized to arrest persons committing criminal offences on or in relation to any TransLink property, under the Canadian Criminal Code. They are also authorized to enforce the Transit Conduct and Safety Regulations and the Transit Tariff Bylaw. The Transit Security department is also responsible for the CCTV camera system aboard buses.
On November 14, 2006, the Canadian government announced that it would spend $37 million for improvements to transit security across Canada, including $9.8 million for the Vancouver area. CCTV cameras have been installed on some TransLink buses.
TransLink replaced its Special Provincial Constables, who held limited policing power, with the Transit Police (legally the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Police Service, or SCBCTAPS), in December 2005. In contrast to the former TransLink special constables, Transit Police constables have full police powers both on and off of TransLink property. They are based in New Westminster, BC.
Shortly after its inception, TransLink's board of directors approved replacement of the old BC Transit colour with TransLink's new blue and yellow colour scheme, or livery. It also created brands for the agency's different services, each with a different logo based on these colours, with the exception of the West Coast Express. The board decided against changing West Coast Express's purple colour to blue, since purple and yellow create a premium brand differentiable from TransLink's blue and yellow livery. Repainting of vehicles did not incur any additional costs, as it was completed during regular maintenance repaints or new vehicle purchases. At the time of approval, TransLink estimated that it would take until the end of 2007 to convert the entire fleet to the new livery.
TransLink owns and maintains the Major Road Network, which comprises most major regional arteries not owned by the provincial government. It includes 2,200 lane-km (1,367 lane-mi) of roadways and the Knight Street Bridge, Pattullo Bridge, Westham Island Bridge, and Golden Ears Bridge. TransLink coordinates and funds major capital projects on the Major Road Network. For minor projects, TransLink contributes up to half of the costs of municipal capital projects, up to the maximum funding allocated to each municipality.
TransLink allocates funding to each municipality for transit improvements, such as transit priority signals, queue-jumping lanes for buses, and bus lanes. TransLink contributes up to half of the costs of municipal capital projects, up to the maximum funding allocated to each municipality.
TransLink employs several engineers and planners who administer its bicycle program. TransLink works with many cycling stakeholders, such as the VACC (Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition).
TransLink invests $6 million in cycling each year (as of 2007). This money is spread among capital and operating projects, with some allocated to cost-sharing programs, which result in additional investment in cycling.
Metro Vancouver has a growing network of cycling paths. TransLink allocates funding to each municipality for cycling improvements, such as bike paths, through a cost-sharing program called the Bicycle Infrastructure Capital Cost Sharing Program. TransLink contributes up to half of the costs of municipal capital projects, up to the maximum funding allocated to each municipality. Municipalities are eligible to apply for a share of the available funding each year. Most of the funding is allocated this way, while some funding is available in a competitive process called Regional Needs. The funding process is overseen by the Bicycle Working Group, composed of municipal cycling staff.
TransLink also produces a regional cycling map, which is available for sale or as a free PDF file downloadable from its website. Many municipalities also produce their own local cycling maps.
TransLink supports many cycling-related community initiatives and events, particularly Bike Month, held every June.
All modes of transit in Metro Vancouver carry bicycles. Most buses operated by TransLink have bike racks, supplied by SportWorks. Bikes are allowed on SeaBus. Bikes are also allowed on SkyTrain, except during weekday rush hours in the peak direction of travel (inbound to Vancouver in the morning rush hour and outbound from Vancouver in the evening rush hour).
TransLink installs and maintains bicycle parking racks and lockers at SkyTrain stations and transit interchanges through private contractors.
Vancouver's public transit network is one of the most accessible. All vehicles, stations, and facilities are fully accessible; however, several issues exist on parts of the system, notably wheelchair accessibility in some areas. Improvements have been made, and accessibility issues became particularly important with the hosting of the Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. Because of this, TransLink initiated the Access Transit Project, whose final report was completed in June 2007.
All buses are accessible, with mostly low-floor vehicles that have ramps, and some high-floor vehicles that have specially designed lifts. However, some stops are considered inaccessible if there is insufficient room to deploy the lifts or ramps.
Some wheelchair users have complained that drivers sometimes fail to board wheelchairs before other passengers, which results in difficulties boarding, turning, and parking in designated wheelchair areas. There is space for two wheelchairs on each bus, and the wheelchair area is also used for walkers and baby strollers. Passengers in wheelchairs have priority for these positions, and lower-priority users (such as those with strollers) are required to vacate the space as needed. The fareboxes on buses have been the subject of complaints from some wheelchair users, since their size and placement makes it difficult for users of certain types of chairs or electric scooters to manoeuvre around them.
In August 2006, TransLink began replacing its entire fleet of inaccessible electric trolley buses with low-floor trolley buses, 188 standard 12.2-m (40-foot) vehicles. In 2008 and 2009, it placed in service 74 new articulated 18.3-m (60-foot) trolley buses, which are used on routes #3 (Main), #8 (Fraser), and #20 (Victoria). By the end of 2009, the entire fleet of trolley buses was low-floor and accessible.
In late 2008, TransLink introduced voice announcement systems on most buses to help those with vision impairments or unfamiliar with the region and to allow operators to focus on driving instead of making announcements. The annunciators use a computer-generated voice to call out bus stops and other messages, using GPS technology installed on each bus to identify the bus's location and the next stop. There are still a few problems with the system, however, such as audio quality and volume levels.
All of the SkyTrain network, including stations and vehicles, is accessible. Each older Bombardier Mark I car has one wheelchair-designated spot, and newer Mark II and Hyundai Rotem cars have two.
While most elevators at newer stations are bright and glass-enclosed, some elevators at older stations are small, dark, and removed from main entrances and exits, giving rise to concerns about personal safety.
Some newer accessibility features introduced include Bombardier Mark II cars with door indicator lights and LED route maps.
All SeaBus vessels and both Lonsdale Quay and Waterfront Station are accessible.
West Coast Express
All West Coast Express trains and stations are accessible. Ramps are provided at stations for boarding, and trains feature two wheelchair spaces on most cars, as well as an accessible washroom.
HandyDART is a supplementary system that provides transportation service to those who are unable to use the regular system due to mobility problems or a lack of accessible transit. HandyDART service is operated by seven different contractors throughout Metro Vancouver, most of which are not-for-profit corporations.
HandyDART users apply for a pass and pay for each trip. Each trip must be pre-booked, up to one week in advance, and is subject to availability at the desired time. Each contractor operates regionally, meaning that it is not always possible to use HandyDART for an entire trip (for example, from Burnaby to Vancouver).
The Mayors' Council is composed of the 21 mayors of Metro Vancouver municipalities and the Chief of Tsawwassen First Nation, who represent the interests of citizens of the region. It approves plans prepared by TransLink, including the transportation plan, regional funding, and borrowing limits and appoints TransLink's Board of Directors from a shortlist of candidates prepared by the Screening Panel.
Under the terms of provincial legislation, the Screening Panel creates a shortlist of candidates for TransLink's Board of Directors. The Screening Panel is composed of five members. Each of the following organizations must appoint one person to the Screening Panel:
- Vancouver Board of Trade
- Chartered Accountants of BC
- Greater Vancouver Gateway Council
- British Columbia's Minister of Transportation
- Mayors' Council
Board of Directors
The TransLink board is made up of people selected based on their skills and expertise, who must act in the best interests of TransLink. They do not represent any other interests or constituencies. They are responsible for hiring, compensating, and monitoring the performance of the CEO and for providing oversight of TransLink’s strategic planning, finances, major capital projects, and operations. While the Board conducts four public meetings a year, most of its deliberations are conducted in closed meetings.
|Marcella Szel||Board Chair, appointed January 1, 2012|
|Robin Chakrabarti||appointed January 1, 2013|
|Lorraine Cunningham||appointed January 1, 2013|
|W John Dawson||reappointed January 1, 2013|
|Brenda Eaton||appointed January 1, 2014|
|Barry Forbes||reappointed January 1, 2014|
|Don Rose||reappointed January 1, 2014|
(Mayor City of Vancouver)
|Chair, appointed Jan. 2015|
(Mayor City of Surrey)
|Vice Chair, appointed Jan. 2015|
Chief Executive Officer
The CEO runs TransLink, as directed by the board, and is responsible for preparing plans and reports for approval by the board and for building and operating TransLink’s transportation services in line with its annual and long-term plans.
Regional Transportation Commissioner
Provincial legislation passed in June 2014 dissolved the position of the Regional Transportation Commissioner. Prior to this time, the Regional Transportation Commissioner approved all cash fare increases greater than the rate of inflation. The Commissioner also approved TransLink's plans for annual customer satisfaction surveys, its customer complaint process, and any proposed sale of major assets. The Regional Transportation Commissioner operated separately from the Mayors' Council, the TransLink Board of Directors, and TransLink staff.
Criticism of governance model
In 2013, a report commissioned by the Mayors' Council criticized TransLink's governance model, stating that TransLink lacked "accountability to the population being served, which is almost completely missing from the present arrangements". The report also stated that the absence of mechanisms to "ensure accountability, effectiveness, and efficiency" made TransLink's governance "unique in the world and not in a good way".
On March 8, 2007, BC Minister of Transportation Kevin Falcon announced a restructuring of TransLink. Major changes include new revenue-generating measures, a restructuring of the executive of the body, and increases in the areas under TransLink's jurisdiction.
The reorganization of TransLink proposed the following changes:
- The old board will be replaced by a Council of Mayors from the municipalities in the area served by TransLink, a board of non-political experts, and a Regional Transportation Commissioner appointed by the Council of Mayors.
- The provincial government will set the regional transportation vision.
- The Board will guide the operation of TransLink as per the 3- and 10-year transportation plans. It will also develop the options for 3- and 10-year plans; one option will be a base option that maintains the status quo.
- The Council of Mayors will vote on which 3- and 10-year transportation plan options to adopt. Mayors will receive one vote per 20,000 people or portion thereof in their jurisdiction.
- The TransLink Independent Commissioner will ensure that TransLink's 3- and 10-year transportation plans are consistent with the regional transportation vision set by the provincial government.
- TransLink's jurisduction is initially planned to be expanded to include Mission, Abbotsford, and Squamish. In the long term, this may be further expanded to include the area along the Sea-to-Sky Highway as far north as Pemberton and east to Hope.
- TransLink will be funded using an approximate ratio of 1/3 of revenue from fuel taxes, 1/3 of revenue from property taxes, and 1/3 of revenue from other non-government sources (e.g., fares, advertising, property development).
- TransLink will hold the power to increase funding from fuel tax from 12 cents per litre (55 cents per Imp gal or 45 cents per US gal) to 15 cents per litre (68 cents per Imp gal or 57 cents per US gal). In 2012, the rate was increased to 17 cents.
- TransLink will increase funding by raising property taxes, parking sales taxes, and other sources of revenue (e.g., fares, property development).
- TransLink will eliminate the parking tax (different from parking sales tax) and the BC Hydro transportation levy.
- AirCare will be removed from TransLink's authority and will become the responsibility of Metro Vancouver.
- The provincial government will continue to contribute toward rapid transit projects, but funding will be contingent on municipalities increasing population densities around planned rapid transit stations.
Falcon had previously called the old board "dysfunctional", saying that board members were focused on the interests of their own municipalities instead of the broader interests of the region. According to Falcon, the board of directors had "no ability there to develop the skill-set to understand major, multi-billion projects." British Columbia New Democratic Party critic David Chudnovsky responded that the reorganization was "ludicrous" and that its purpose was "to get power away from our elected municipal politicians because once in a while they disagree with the aggressive privatization agenda of Mr. Falcon". Chudnovsky was also worried about the consequences of a property development slowdown.
On April 26, 2007, the provincial government introduced legislation to restructure TransLink. The proposed successor body was to be known as the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority. The legislation received Royal Assent on November 29, 2007, and came into effect on January 1, 2008, with some parts of the organization, like the Council of Mayors, beginning functions the day after the legislation was approved.
On March 19, 2008, the Vancouver Sun reported that TransLink was launching a real estate division that may produce over $1.5 billion in revenue over the ensuing ten years.
In 2015, residents of Metro Vancouver were asked to vote in a mail-in plebiscite on a proposal to adopt a new 0.5% sales tax to fund improvements in transit infrastructure, and completion of current TransLink projects. Ballots were mailed in March, and had to be returned by 8:00 pm on May 29, 2015.
The tax was estimated to generate annual revenue of $250 million to help fund an $8 billion, 10-year transit plan including the following projects:
- Adding bus service and new B-Line rapid bus routes.
- Increasing service on the SkyTrain, Canada Line, SeaBus, and West Coast Express.
- Maintaining and upgrading of major roads.
- Building a new Pattullo Bridge.
- Installing new rapid transit connecting Surrey Centre with Guildford, Newton, and Langley.
- Building a new rapid transit line along Broadway in Vancouver.
- Extending cycling and pedestrian walkway networks.
The tax was supported by environmental groups, student groups and nearly every local government. Opposition to the tax was headed by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation who drew the public's attention to purported misuse of funds by TransLink. A widely circulated statistic was the fact that TransLink had the highest cost per revenue passenger of the major Canadian transit agencies. Supporters countered with other analyses that showed TransLink to be ranked first by cost per service hour, service hours per $1 million and service hours per capita. The Yes campaign outspent the No campaign by $5.8 million to $40,000. Surveys conducted by Insights West showed the Yes side ahead in December 2014, but support dropped to 37 per cent the week before the ballots were mailed. In July 2015, the tax was rejected, with 62% of 700,000 voters in opposition and a majority opposed in 23 out of 25 voting regions.
After the failure of the plebiscite, several executives at TransLink were removed from their positions.
- John Boyarski - TransLink driver who received awards for bravery
- Coast Mountain Bus Company - Operates buses in most of Metro Vancouver
- West Vancouver Blue Bus - Operates buses in West Vancouver and Lions Bay
- TransLink (2013). "TransLink 2012 Annual Report". Translink. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
- "South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Act". www.bclaws.ca. Retrieved November 17, 2015.
- (In most cases a Transit Security Officer) TransLink - South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority
- Single Fares. Translink.ca. Retrieved on July 26, 2013.
- "U-Pass BC FAQ". Translink.ca. April 1, 2013. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
- "Fare Collection Regulation". Bclaws.ca. September 4, 2012. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
- "South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Act". Bclaws.ca. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
- "One-Zone Bus Travel". Translink. Retrieved October 6, 2015.
- "Transit systems get $37M to boost security". CBC.ca. November 14, 2006. Retrieved October 7, 2011.
- Michael LaPointe (November 27, 2007). "Tooth and Dagger". Tooth and Dagger. Retrieved October 7, 2011.
- "AirCare emissions testing program | About Us - Who We Are". Aircare.ca. Retrieved February 28, 2012.
- "All about the talking buses!" (PDF). The Buzzer (TransLink). January 23, 2009. Vol. 93 No. 1, ISSN 0714-1688. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
- "Governance Model". TransLink About. South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority. Retrieved February 2015.
- "SOUTH COAST BRITISH COLUMBIA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY ACT, [SBC 1998] CHAPTER 30". s. 171(2). Queen's Printer, Province of British Columbia. Retrieved February 7, 2013.
- "Board Meetings".
- "TransLink's Secret Meetings".
- "Translink Board Goverance Manual". Section C: Board Structure and Mandates, 1.3. South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority. Retrieved October 25, 2012.
- "About Us Governance & Board". Translink.ca. January 2015.
- "Governance Model". Translink About. South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority. Retrieved February 7, 2013.
- Acuere Consulting; Silex Consulting; Steer Davies Gleave (March 2013). "TransLink Governance Review". p. i. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
- "Major TransLink overhaul coming". CBC. March 8, 2007. Retrieved March 8, 2007.
- "Motor Fuel Tax and Carbon Tax". gov.bc.ca.
- "TransLink shake-up in the works". CBC. March 9, 2006. Retrieved March 8, 2007.
- "New transit authority 'assault on democracy': Louie". Vancouver Province. Retrieved April 26, 2007.
- "BC legislature wraps up fall session". "Canadian Broadcasting Corporation". November 30, 2007. Retrieved November 30, 2007.
- "Mayors' Council meets - TransLink’s governance transition begins". TransLink. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved November 30, 2007.
- "Translink's $1.5B real estate empire". Canada.com. March 19, 2008. Retrieved October 7, 2011.
- "Bill M 203 - 2008: Translink Openness Act, 2008". Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. Retrieved September 7, 2008.
- "Voting begins in Metro Vancouver transit referendum". cbc.ca. March 17, 2015. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
- Cavanagh, Brad (January 15, 2015). "Referendum Myths: "TransLink is wasteful"". Retrieved July 17, 2015.
- Bateman, Jordan (February 2015). "TransLink Conventional Transit vs Comparators". Retrieved July 17, 2015.
- Dela Cruz, Daryl (March 4, 2015). "Referendum Myths: TransLink Inefficiency". Retrieved July 17, 2015.
- Canseco, Mario (July 2, 2015). "Tracking the Transit Plebiscite". Retrieved July 29, 2015.
- Bula, Frances (July 2, 2015). "Vancouver-region voters reject sales-tax hike to fund transit projects". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved July 3, 2015.
- Bula, Frances (July 14, 2015). "Management shakeup to TransLink only the beginning of changes". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
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