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SkyTrain revenue up 7% after closing of fare gates: TransLink

Last Updated Apr 29, 2016 at 2:50 pm PDT

(Denise Wong, NEWS 1130 Photo)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Closing SkyTrain fare gates earlier this month is paying major dividends for TransLink.

TransLink’s chief executive says SkyTrain revenue is up seven per cent.

It’s a seemingly simple formula; now that the gates have closed, more people are paying up to use the system.

This seven per cent revenue increase, if sustained over the long term, would mean an extra $6 million to $7 million for TransLink per year.

“It’s looking at the stations — there’s some estimating going on — it’s looking at just prior to the gate closures and just after the gate closures. That’s the best way our statisticians can analyze this, at this point,” says TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond.

It’s hard to say whether this new increased revenue level will sustain itself in the long run. After all, the gates were only fully closed this month.

“It’s going to take awhile to see how everything fully settles out. And of course, we’ll look system-wide — the buses and all the other modes — but that’s a very good indication of the very high utilization of the Compass Cards,” adds Desmond.

CTF says revenue increase suggests TransLink has been lying about fare evasion

Jordan Bateman with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation says TransLink has been grossly underestimating fare evasion.

“They would constantly say it was around four per cent — you might get the odd guy at TransLInk who would say it’s as high as six per cent — but clearly, SkyTrain revenue is up seven per cent and that doesn’t take into account the fact that with the new zone structure on buses, some of these SkyTrain passengers have bled over to bus routes. It’s very clear that they have been underestimating fare evasion for a long time.”

He thinks TransLink’s estimation of taking in $6 million to $7 million more per year is possible.

“The whole point of trying to control fare evasion is making sure that everyone is paying their fair share when they use the system. People need to realize if you’re not paying when you get on the SkyTrain or bus, you’re actually stealing from the guy next to you… you’re making us pay more so that you can be subsidized.”

AUDIO – Jordan Bateman with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation on NEWS 1130: