TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond takes questions from reporters after his first public speech Friday before the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade.

TransLink sees 7 per cent revenue gain with fare gates closed

Increase is first sign fare evasion is receding, Compass card drawing more riders: CEO

TransLink has seen a seven-per-cent increase in revenue at Skytrain stations since the fare gates closed at the start of this month, CEO Kevin Desmond said Friday.

The fare gates starting closing April 4. This is the first sign of fare evasion going down as part of the roll out of TransLink’s troubled Compass card program, which has been delayed and over-budget.

“It’s going to take a while to see how everything fully settles out and of course we’ll look at system-wide, the buses as well and all the other modes,” Desmond said. “But that’s a very good indication of the very high utilization of the Compass cards and the fact that now that the gates are closed, more people are paying.”

If the seven-per-cent hike holds on Skytrain for the year, he said, it would come out to $6 million to $7 million in extra cash, adding he believes that is higher than anticipated.

That’s good news for the transit authority, since its fare gates have been roundly criticized. The latest of which involved people with disabilities not being able to tap their Compass cards and open the gates. TransLink decided to staff each Skytrain station to help those users open the gates when needed.

The CEO said he’s hoping for a more permanent fix over the next several months.

CEO makes first public speech

Desmond, who took over the transit authority six weeks ago, was speaking on a Vancouver Board of Trade panel about regional transit and transportation with Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner.

Both mayors said mobility pricing is the fairest way to pay for transit improvements, but noted the research on how it would work has yet to begin. Desmond supported the option.

As for how soon we might see more buses on the road thanks to the recently announced $370-million   boost in federal transit funding for Metro Vancouver, Desmond said it could take a while.

“As soon as we get the go word on the overall financing package, we can put the orders in with our contractor and within two years if not sooner … we could start seeing service on the road.”

Desmond, whose previous job was general manager of King County Metro Transit in Seattle, also said he’d like to look into ride-sharing to improve congestion.

“Obviously there are a lot of issues with that, legal issues, political issues here, which I need to understand,” he said. “We had a very strong history of that in the Puget Sound region, of a lot of different ways to move people around, not just the bus or, in our case as well, the train.”

Just Posted

Cyclist injured in Langley hit-and-run

Rider was taken to hospital

Phasing plans for Brookswood defeated

Council voted against staggering neighbourhood planning in Brookswood-Fernridge.

Vigil to eliminate violence on women

Annual vigil observes International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

LETTER: Canada should not be selling weapons abroad

A Langley man is critical of Canada for selling arms that are being used to kill civilians.

Langley author pens tribute to the men and women of Canada’s military for Remembrance Day

‘A soldier, a sailor and an airman … stood before the Pearly Gates’

VIDEO: B.C. legislature clerk, sergeant at arms suspended for criminal investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

Otter makes a snack out of koi fish in Vancouver Chinese garden

Staff say the otter has eaten at least five fish

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

B.C. lumber mills struggle with shortage of logs, price slump

Signs of recovery after U.S. market swings, industry executive says

25% of Canadians still won’t say they use pot, survey says

Statistics Canada poll says Canadians on average were 18.9 years old when they first tried pot.

Canucks’ 50/50 jackpot expected to surpass $1 million

The guaranteed prize for one lucky winner will be $500,000 minimum when Vancouver hosts LA Nov 27

Most Read