Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Transit Facts

I thought I would share some fun facts that I learned about TransLink and the cost of providing service. TransLink has been working on their service optimization plan and their most recent schedule changes reflects this. The good thing is that in this optimization process they kept some routes that would be considered underperforming like the new 364 and 388 routes as TransLink wants to give the routes time to mature. If they went solely on performance metrics, I’m certain that many more routes would have been cut back in the South of Fraser. BTW: the 502 route (which I take) is the most over-crowded bus in the South of Fraser.

If you were wondering, it costs $118 an hour to keep a regular bus running and $48 an hour to keep a community shuttle running. In total, a regular bus costs on average costs $646,000 per year to operate. For a route like the 502, it costs something like $4 million a year to run! This is good to remember when you hear people say silly things like “all TransLink needs to do is use their old buses to improve service.”

Another interesting fact is that the cost of operating a bus is 80% labour. That includes the driver and the mechanics that keep the buses in working order.


Anonymous said...

I'd really like to see how you arrived at those hourly operating costs because it doesn't seem like a full size bus should cost 2.5x as much as a shuttle.

20% - capital cost
According to TransLink a transit bus costs about twice as much as a Shuttle, but they consider the buses to have double the lifespan thus amortized capital costs are equal.

80% - labour
A driver is a driver, but the full size bus may require a more advanced licence and experience and thus command a higher salary, but no where near 150% higher. Maybe all shuttle drivers are part time employees with limited benefits? I wouldn't have thought the union would stand for that.

That leaves maintenance. Does a big bus really need 3x as much maintenance per service hour?

Nathan Pachal said...


Those numbers are straight from TransLink. I guess that's they they like Community Shuttles that much...