Friday, October 19, 2012

TransLink cuts jobs as ridership soars.

About a month ago TransLink released a proposed base plan and earlier this week the Province of BC released its performance audit of the organization. Both the base plan and the audit recommend adjusting the workforce at TransLink and its subsidiaries. Neither of these plans have been implemented yet, but TransLink has already started to axe jobs.

Over the past few years TransLink has cut their seniors executives in half by cutting 10 positions. Earlier this year, TransLink let go of 12 cafeteria workers. It was announced last week that the company will also be chopping 60 maintenance positions, 17 supervisory positions, and 8 training positions at its bus operating company Coast Mountain Bus Company. This is a reduction of about 1.5% of its workforce. While this may seem small, I'm sure this is just the first of many rounds of cuts at TransLink.

What I find odd about this whole process is that all this cutting and proposed cutting is a result of TransLink and the region looking to expand transit service. With the exception of Evergreen Line, we are not likely to see any expansion of transit in the near future.

TransLink mayors' council did have a meeting yesterday and passed a motion to prevent any further cuts to transit and has given the Province until February 28 to provide a long-term funding solution for TransLink. I'm not holding my breath that an agreement will happen, but you never know. If no agreement happens, more cuts will come.

The fact that TransLink can't get a long-term funding source approved by the Province for over a decade is really bizarre considering people actually want to take transit in Metro Vancouver. Transit ridership records have been broken the last few years and total ridership has increased 123% since its low point in 1993 while the population of the region has only increased by 26% in the same period.

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