TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond says if the mayor’s council approves the 10 year transit and transportation plan next month commuters will see transit improvements starting in January.
Desmond told a Board of Trade luncheon additional SkyTrain service would start rolling in January, Seabus frequency would be improved and more buses would be on the road by April.
“We’ve got the chance now to leverage an enormous investment from the federal government which we didn’t have at our fingertips with the plebiscite and the ability to put out service right now we can start getting service out in January.”
If approved Desmond says there will be a small fare hike next July along with property and commercial property tax hikes in addition to money from the federal and provincial governments.
Desmond says there will always be fare cheats but fare evasion is down.
He says there are very few people getting a free ride on transit now with the new fare gates and compass card system in place.
“You can’t bring fare evasion to zero, that’s an objective that I wouldn’t try to get to, getting to zero there’s no point in that, it’s just not going to happen and if you try to get to zero it would not be cost effective to get to that point.”
Fare revenue is up around eight per cent.
Desmond says that translates into $25 to $30 million in additional revenue.
He says the money will be used to improve service.
“We can use that dividend in fact to help get that service on the road even faster. If that had not been the case we would not be in the same position to put service on the road in connection with the mayor’s plan.”
Desmond also says ridership is up two per cent so far this year.