Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Things that don’t make sense to me

Installing Gates for SkyTrain Stations $125+ million and replacing the current system with smart cards.

In 2001, Translink replaced their 30-year-old fare box system with a new electronic fare system. Cost: $27 million. Back then Translink said that fare evasion accounted for ~3% of Translink’s revenue losses which worked out to $5 million per year. They hoped that the new system would reduce evasion. Jump to 2005, a Translink report says that installing gate would cost $32.2 million per year for 20 years and reduce fare evasion by less than $3 million annually. Based on this report, the Translink board rejected fare gates. In 2007, after a visit to the London Underground, Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon declares that gates will be added to SkyTrain, Done. Cost: $125+ million one time, plus $32.2 million a year for 20 years.

$32.2 million a year for a $5 million a year problem. Wow.

To be fair, there are articles that suggest gates will reduce crime and make people feel safe, but surely there are less costly solutions. Why not hire security guards to ride the trains like they do in Portland? It would probably cost half as much per year than the gates plus gate attendants. With the money saved, Translink could investing in things like restoring the Interurban and adding more bus service in the under-served South of Fraser.

1 comment:

erika said...

WTH. What is it with this Province and really bad math? I'm starting to wonder if Falcon's just trying to gain some kind of international reputation.

Apparently TransLink will be asking for citizens' feedback on the gates and smart cards soon, so let's all join forces and respond a resounding NO!