For Immediate Release
30 July 2013
The Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE) is very concerned about TransLink cancelling incentive programs that help low-income families and that increase ridership. Today TransLink announced cancellation of, among other programs, the Employer Pass Program and free travel for family members of monthly pass holders on Sundays and Holidays. COPE recognizes that these cuts will disproportionately affect Vancouver’s working class and low-income families, whose personal expenses will go up as a direct result of these cuts.
Current COPE policy supports increasing the percentage of people who use public transit compared to those driving personal vehicles. “Right now, less than a quarter of vehicular trips in the region are by public transit. The best way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to incentivize people to take public transit instead of their cars,” said COPE Internal Chair Tim Louis. “But the TransLink Vice President is talking like their job is done, so they’re giving up.”
The best way to increase ridership is to reduce fares and to introduce programs like the Employer Pass Program and the Universal Pass for students. “When these pass programs were introduced, ridership increased beyond all expectations. The Employer Pass Program should be expanded, not cut,” said Louis. “The current TransLink board is driving the bus backwards.”
COPE believes that the City of Vancouver should also take an active role in expanding effective models of transit funding. In the 2011 civic election campaign, COPE proposed other potential pass programs, including a Community Pass by neighbourhood.
“There are many opportunities for the City of Vancouver and Translink to work together and act creatively to lower the cost of transit, increase ridership, and improve the affordability of the city. Increasing transit costs and eliminating ridership incentives directly contradict our stated goal of becoming a green, environmentally-friendly and liveable city,” said Louis.