Although the new provincial government
appointed TransLink Board of Directors have only had time to hold one meeting –
on February 05 – they were able to make two crucial decisions; give themselves
a 500 percent raise, and close their meetings to the public.
"An organization such as TransLink, that takes money from Vancouver taxpayers and from transit riders, should do
its business in public," said COPE Cllr David Cadman.
Cadman, a former member of the TransLink
board, moved a motion at City Council calling for the new TransLink board to
reverse their decision to hold board meetings behind closed doors and with no
public input. The motion passed unanimously, but is not expected to have much
impact on the TransLink appointees – they are only answerable to Liberal
Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon.
A Council of Mayors will meet periodically,
but their only role is to okay plans put to them by the appointed Board.
Minister Falcon rammed the new TransLink structure through the Legislature
because he claimed that the old board of regional mayors and city councillors
Cadman says the real reason for Falcon’s
draconian law is because former TransLink directors refused to rubber stamp
Falcon’s pet Gateway Project to twin the Port Mann Bridge and double the
freeway into East Vancouver.
"All decisions on the funding and
operating of public transit should be made in the open and with full public
input," said Cadman. "These important decisions on taxation, funding
and service allocation impact on people lives and must not be made in secret by
Cadman is also moving a motion at Vancouver
Council to have TransLink roll back their January fare increase, and to
implement a U-pass system for all post secondary students.
"This is the fourth fare increase
since TransLink was created in 1999, when a basic one-zone fare was $1.50. That
amounts to a 65 percent increase – far exceeding the rate of inflation."
"Last year one in four Vancouver
commuters relied on public transit to get to work and school," said
Cadman. "And many of those transit riders are students, people on fixed incomes, and minimum wage workers for whom high fares constitute
a significant hardship. Meanwhile TransLink recorded a $380 million surplus in