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Old 08-29-2013, 09:17 AM   #51
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Originally Posted by Hehe View Post
But why does Translink want to expand? GVR doesn't have the population density to support a public transportation system that Translink has envisioned them to be one day.

If they can't make money now, they would lose even more money once all the planned new expansion become operational. The maintenance cost alone would bankrupt the company (considering its capital). It has been on life-support long ago. It only survived due of being a crown corp. But it should find way to be financially responsible rather than always trying to find money money from tax-payers.
There are very few transit systems in the world that run a profit. The MTR may because they have a real estate arm which allows them to build transit oriented developments such as malls and condos. But, the nature of public transit is such that it cannot run without some subsidies from the taxpayer.

I think the scope of transit expansion is a legitimate debate, certain more legitimate than just making mountains out of mole hills everytime that something like public art projects come up. Politicians and decision-makers are stuck between a rock and a hard place:

- Cut transit to make it more sustainable in the short term will anger lots of people
- Spending money and raising taxes will also upset people

You can almost see the logic behind a referendum: give people a choice between reduced transit, or more transit and more taxes.
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:24 AM   #52
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Originally Posted by Tapioca View Post
I think the scope of transit expansion is a legitimate debate, certain more legitimate than just making mountains out of mole hills everytime that something like public art projects come up. Politicians and decision-makers are stuck between a rock and a hard place:

- Cut transit to make it more sustainable in the short term will anger lots of people
- Spending money and raising taxes will also upset people

You can almost see the logic behind a referendum: give people a choice between reduced transit, or more transit and more taxes.
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Last time Translink held a public referendum,their new proposed levy's were declined by the public. Since then, Translink has gone about introducing new taxes quietly, because they know if they ask the public for their opinion, the public will not accept them.

"A vehicle levy was proposed as the
primary strategy to fund expansion.
It would require all vehicle owners in
Greater Vancouver to pay a set amount
each year for every automobile they
owned. The average person would have
to pay $75 a year, generating about $95
million in 2002, the first year it was to
be implemented."

"TransLink board approves levy
After a four-hour debate on November
22, the TransLink board narrowly
approved a modified plan where
levy amounts would be based on a
combination of insurance classification,
and the weight of the vehicles. A week
later, the GVRD board also passed
the contentious levy. “When that went
through, it was with a huge sense
of relief,” Puil said. “That was a big
milestone, maybe the biggest.”

"Province quashes levy agreement
It was a sign of what was to come.
Premier Ujjal Dosanjh had already said
he would not support any increase in
taxes. On January 21, Mike Farnworth,
the minister responsible for TransLink,
declared the cabinet would not sign an
order-in-council enabling it to collect
the levy on TransLink’s behalf."

There's a ton of information in the Translink history document posted on their website

http://www.translink.ca/~/media/docu...ov%202008.ashx
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:29 AM   #53
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Okay. So you're saying that the audit performed by the province last year was a farce? That everyone - from the province, to the auditors, and everyone else involved - is all in some sort of conspiracy to cover up Crown corporation profits so that a select few can enrich themselves every year?
Did you actually read the audit? I know I did. And I'm almost certain that if a similar review was done of Translink, they would find the same issues

Here's a few quick quotes from it for ya...

From 2007 to 2011 ICBC experienced a 32% increase in
management positions across the organization, while union
positions declined by 1%. The total compensation cost for the
management and confidential employees increased 50% during the
last five years, compared to a 9% increase for the bargaining unit
for the same period.


Bonuses paid to management have been generous with easily met
criteria resulting in almost all staff receiving them. In addition to
ICBC management being among the highest paid within the
British Columbia public sector, benefits and perquisites provided to
senior management have generally exceeded the rest of the sector.


These increases in both staffing and compensation levels
continued even after the economic downturn in 2008 when
government implemented stricter cost controls. ICBC should
endeavour to return to levels that are more consistent with 2008 as
part of a general move to control and reduce costs.


A culture of cost-containment and financial discipline has been
lacking in recent years. ICBC’s expense policies are generous
when compared to the BC Public Service with exceptions approved
by senior management.

The corporate budgeting process is decentralized and the
incremental approach to budgeting is not sufficiently challenging
the organization to reduce costs. Over the last five years, operating
cost increases have outpaced inflation. ICBC should regularly
conduct detailed budget reviews to ensure costs are contained and
aligned with government direction.

Link to the audit for those interested

http://www.fin.gov.bc.ca/ocg/ias/pdf...eview_2012.pdf
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:48 AM   #54
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I would actually be fine with a GVRD regional sales tax.

Yet I would need some things to be cut out, and clearly defined in writing.
Points:
-Gas taxes be 100% eliminated
-Carbon tax be 100% eliminated
-A STRICT timeline of when the RST will be implemented and removed
-A clause saying there will be no increase, or timeline extension without full public consultation and vote.

Even though this isn't a good way of collecting money, it rapes everyone EVENLY. Putting a tax on all goods would mean everyone gets hit evenly and can't call foul. It will be a regional tax so only the people in the GVRD that would benefit from the services have to pay.
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:53 AM   #55
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good idea, but when was the last time you heard of a government reducing taxes?

Right now the tax system is opposite. People who drive and don't use the transit system, pay taxes to support the transit system.

They already hit most people "equally" with the property taxes, as there is transit tax built into your property taxes.
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Old 08-29-2013, 11:06 AM   #56
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^^ Evenly... o.O

-Property tax isn't even, as there are thousands of students, and renters, who don't pay for property tax, yet use our public transit system.

-Gas prices. 29-31% of gas prices, is taxes. Those being GST/PST/Translink tax/Carbon tax.

I just find if we cut out the gas taxes that hit a person who clearly is NOT using public transit, and charge everyone abit more equally. There would be less complaints.
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Old 08-29-2013, 11:14 AM   #57
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Originally Posted by xpl0sive View Post
Did you actually read the audit? I know I did. And I'm almost certain that if a similar review was done of Translink, they would find the same issues

Here's a few quick quotes from it for ya...

From 2007 to 2011 ICBC experienced a 32% increase in
management positions across the organization, while union
positions declined by 1%. The total compensation cost for the
management and confidential employees increased 50% during the
last five years, compared to a 9% increase for the bargaining unit
for the same period.

Ummm, I wasn't referring to ICBC; I was referring to a Translink audit from 2012. This thread isn't about ICBC; it's about Translink. There was a thread on here about Translink's audit and some of us read the report and performed our own analyses. A few pennies could be scrimped and some more efficiencies could be gained, but there was nothing glaring. The only way you could save any real money is to cut services in a drastic way, or layoff half the staff.

And with respect to your earlier reference to a previous vehicle levy proposal, it never went to a referendum. Your citation highlights that the government at the time nixed the idea.
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Old 08-29-2013, 11:15 AM   #58
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^^ Evenly... o.O

-Property tax isn't even, as there are thousands of students, and renters, who don't pay for property tax, yet use our public transit system.

-Gas prices. 29-31% of gas prices, is taxes. Those being GST/PST/Translink tax/Carbon tax.

I just find if we cut out the gas taxes that hit a person who clearly is NOT using public transit, and charge everyone abit more equally. There would be less complaints.

^^ I agree with you... except there are those who'll say that driving is a luxury and if you want to drive instead of taking transit, then you should have to pay. I didn't realize that buying a vehicle, paying for maintenance, insurance and gas was not enough. Let's tax the shit out of drivers too because it's such a luxury to be able to get from one end of the GVRD to another in less than 3 hours, which is how long it would take on transit.
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Old 08-29-2013, 11:29 AM   #59
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Originally Posted by xpl0sive View Post

Right now the tax system is opposite. People who drive and don't use the transit system, pay taxes to support the transit system.

They already hit most people "equally" with the property taxes, as there is transit tax built into your property taxes.
Well, the transit system also benefits drivers in that it mitigates further congestion. If there were no transit system, then everyone would hve to drive which would cause more congestion. I know people here love their cars (and I love my Bavarian machine), but we all benefit indirectly from public transit.

People are pissed off because they choose to live in communities where there is inadequate transit service. Then, they blame Translink for not putting B-Line buses at their doorstep. I was raised in a detached home and I understand the benefits of having space, etc. I now live in a condo with a Skytrain station next door. You can be damned sure that accessibility to public transit will factor in heavily to the next home I purchase and I will gladly pay more or sacrifice space to have that access. People need to think about the choices they make. Everything has a cost; there is no free lunch. You choose to buy a house in a new subdivision because you want space, then live with the consequences of that decision.
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Old 08-30-2013, 06:56 AM   #60
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There are very few transit systems in the world that run a profit. The MTR may because they have a real estate arm which allows them to build transit oriented developments such as malls and condos. But, the nature of public transit is such that it cannot run without some subsidies from the taxpayer.

I think the scope of transit expansion is a legitimate debate, certain more legitimate than just making mountains out of mole hills everytime that something like public art projects come up. Politicians and decision-makers are stuck between a rock and a hard place:

- Cut transit to make it more sustainable in the short term will anger lots of people
- Spending money and raising taxes will also upset people

You can almost see the logic behind a referendum: give people a choice between reduced transit, or more transit and more taxes.
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I wasn't suggesting Translink to post a profit. But it should plan a way that it would be financially "responsible" in the long run.

Public transit costs money. And government everywhere fund their infrastructure with tax payer's money. However, in Translink's case, they don't make their decision based on feasibility. They just build build and build and when they lose money, they ask tax payer to balance it somehow.

IMHO, Translink should redesign itself completely. Since the population of GVR is so little in an area so big, they should focus on establishing connection hub in each major city in GVR, and then let the private party (either by licensing private buses/shuttles or subsidize them or drive) take care how to get people in each city to the hub.

My argument is not about abandoning public transportation, but rather change the way Translink is doing now for a more efficient and less absurd planning down the road.
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Old 08-30-2013, 08:54 AM   #61
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I honestly wouldn't mind if Vancouver followed a system like New York and toll every bridge/tunnel inbound and free exit outbound instead of a general tax for the whole population.
Totally agree with this and make it cheap like $1.00 since it's every bridge. Make it so it's the same toll across the board so people don't have to go looking for the cheaper bridge and create traffic. If translink could only think like this....
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Old 08-30-2013, 09:39 AM   #62
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Public transit costs money. And government everywhere fund their infrastructure with tax payer's money. However, in Translink's case, they don't make their decision based on feasibility. They just build build and build and when they lose money, they ask tax payer to balance it somehow.

IMHO, Translink should redesign itself completely. Since the population of GVR is so little in an area so big, they should focus on establishing connection hub in each major city in GVR, and then let the private party (either by licensing private buses/shuttles or subsidize them or drive) take care how to get people in each city to the hub.
If you look at GVRD plans from the 70s, the transportation model you talk about was already created. Hubs around Metro Vancouver with a rapid transit backbone serving them. The current Skytrain system reflects these plans from the 70s almost to a T. The only thing that is missing is the Tri-Cities connection which is being built right now. None of the current infrastructure reflects projects that were designed on a whim. These plans have been in place for nearly 50 years.

There are already hubs in the system: downtown Vancouver, Metrotown, Richmond Centre, Brentwood, Surrey Cental, Coquitlam Centre, Phibbs Exchange, Lonsdale Quay, Park Royal, etc. Community shuttles already do the work of private companies as the drivers are non-unionized (they get paid $20/hour with no benefits) and drive smaller buses. The problem is that people don't live and work in the hubs and that people's expectation of what they want out of their transit system is too high given the population and density of Metro Vancouver.
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Old 08-30-2013, 10:12 AM   #63
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Totally agree with this and make it cheap like $1.00 since it's every bridge. Make it so it's the same toll across the board so people don't have to go looking for the cheaper bridge and create traffic. If translink could only think like this....
Translink only owns and maintains a few bridges - namely the Knight St Bridge, The Pattullo Bridge, the Westham Island Bridge, and the Golden Ears Bridge. I don't see how they can justify tolling all the bridges in the GVRD.

As well - when the Pattullo bridge finally gets replaced - people are going to bitch at Translink again because there's no way they're going to be able to afford to put in a new bridge without tolls.
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Old 08-30-2013, 10:56 AM   #64
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:34 AM   #65
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Another point about tolling is that it probably costs nearly a $1 in overhead and administration to collect tolls. If you go to Manhattan on a bridge, it costs about $8.

Automated technology isn't cheap and the people who administer the tolling system can't be paid less than minimum wage.
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:50 AM   #66
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Another point about tolling is that it probably costs nearly a $1 in overhead and administration to collect tolls. If you go to Manhattan on a bridge, it costs about $8.

Automated technology isn't cheap and the people who administer the tolling system can't be paid less than minimum wage.
With tolling already introduced on the Port Mann, I can't see how the overhead costs could amount to that much if the same system is used. Essentially you just need a one-time installation, some regular maintenance to look after the electronics, and more servers to do the transaction processing. None of those would cost that much.
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Old 08-30-2013, 12:53 PM   #67
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i agree that the high salary issue isnt really that much of an issue.. if you want capable executives you need to pay up. However all the penny pinching not too long ago regarding the compass implementation and now this stupid multi million dollar art projects???
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Old 08-30-2013, 08:06 PM   #68
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If you look at GVRD plans from the 70s, the transportation model you talk about was already created. Hubs around Metro Vancouver with a rapid transit backbone serving them. The current Skytrain system reflects these plans from the 70s almost to a T. The only thing that is missing is the Tri-Cities connection which is being built right now. None of the current infrastructure reflects projects that were designed on a whim. These plans have been in place for nearly 50 years.
The current plan is have many stations along the way. My idea is basically a very fast system that would jump between city to city (with less than 2 stops in between), and then make it easy for people to get to those hubs (either by private/public shuttle or big parking lot right next to those hubs).

Think it as why the air industry use hub systems: there isn't enough demand in smaller places. Thus, they have local/shorter flights with small planes to major hub airports that would fly big jumbo jets to other hubs.

Because as it stands, Translink system is expensive (both for users and tax payers) yet slow and inefficient.

I used to live right next to a skytrain station when I was in YVR. And I've rarely ever taken it even for work as it's a 1.5 hour commute if I take it to work. Same goes for few friends who live in the same complex and working downtown.
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Old 09-01-2013, 11:34 PM   #69
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I used to live right next to a skytrain station when I was in YVR. And I've rarely ever taken it even for work as it's a 1.5 hour commute if I take it to work. Same goes for few friends who live in the same complex and working downtown.
what would take me 25minutes to drive, it would take me an hour and 15 minutes by transit + 10 minute walk. thats with a b-line and the skytrain....not to mention 4 dollars for 2 zone each way.

It is still totally worth it to drive even with gas prices going up. I better shut up or we'd get another gas tax.
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