On Wednesday morning, the TransLink Board of Directors approved a new set of fare prices, which amount to an average 2.3% increase across all categories.
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, TransLink entered an agreement with the provincial government -- called the BC Safe Restart Agreement -- that included $44M in exchange for capping average annual increases in fare prices between 2021 and 2024 to a maximum of 2.3%. Fare prices were increased by the maximum 2.3% in both 2021 and 2022.
This year's increases come just two weeks after the provincial government's announcement of a $479M bailout for TransLink, saying that it's "taking action to address TransLink's urgent financial needs to protect transit service levels and investment plans."
In February, TransLink made a formal request of $250M to the Government of Canada, and asked the Province of British Columbia to match the amount, citing post-pandemic financial difficulties and possible service reductions.
The Province said that its contribution "will keep fares stable, support public transit infrastructure and services, avoid service cuts, continue providing free public transit for kids 12 and younger, and enable transit expansion plans needed to respond to growing communities."
In the Board of Directors meeting on Wednesday, Board Chair Lorraine Cunningham spoke to the perception of TransLink increasing fare prices after receiving financial aid from the Province, saying that "they're intended to work together." She noted that a 2.3% increase is well below inflation and that fare prices remain lower than many major cities around the country, which is made possible by the $479M.
Here are the new fare prices, which come into effect on July 1, 2023.
TransLink also announced on Wednesday the first development project that will commence under its Real Estate Development Program.
The project will be a 30-storey mixed-use tower with commercial retail space on the ground floor and over 200 rental units above, approximately 20% of which will be secured at below-market rates. The project is a partnership between TransLink and PCI Developments, and will be located on 2096 West Braodway, near the future Arbutus Station of the upcoming Broadway Subway Project.
PCI Developments is also developing a 40-storey rental building that will be integrated with the future South Granville Station -- one stop over from Arbutus Station -- but TransLink is not taking part as a developer in that project.
Details of the Arbutus project are still in the works, but TransLink says it expects to hold public engagement for the project later this spring, after which it will formally submit a rezoning application with the City of Vancouver.