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BC: The Cost of TransLink Fare Evasion

March 29, 2012
BC: The Cost of TransLink Fare Evasion

When Rumina Daya and Global News asked us yesterday to estimate the cost of fare evasion to TransLink taxpayers and riders, we did some digging. WARNING: MATH AHEAD!

First, TransLink says its internal audits show fare evasion ranges from 4 to 6 per cent.

Then we went and found fare revenue numbers from 2000-2011:

2011 - $440,000,000 (we only had three quarters for this one, but extrapolated for Q4)
2010 - $413,050,000
2009 - $356,605,000
2008 - $348,672,000
2007 - $317,801,000
2006 - $301,521,000
2005 - $285,520,000
2004 - $264,448,000
2003 - $248,571,000
2002 - $232,748,000
2001 - $145,600,000 (this was the year of the big bus driver strike)
2000 - $208,200,000

That totals $3,562,736,000. Multiply that by the estimated fare evasion numbers and you get:

4% fare evasion - $142,509,440
5% fare evasion - $178,136,800
6% fare evasion - $213,764,160

But that doesn’t really tell the full story. TransLink wouldn’t have saved that fare evasion lost revenue—they are in the business of spending money. So one needs to apply inflation to see what the lost opportunity really was. We ran those fare numbers through a program that calculates based on Vancouver’s Consumer Price Index. That changed the fare numbers into 2011 dollars:

2011 - $440,000,000
2010 - $422,396,649
2009 - $371,134,522
2008 - $363,200,000
2007 - $338,853,153
2006 - $328,043,681
2005 - $316,496,226
2004 - $298,775,385
2003 - $286,344,044
2002 - $273,478,900
2001 - $174,928,425
2000 - $254,828,125

That totals $3,868,479,110. Multiply that by the estimated fare evasion numbers and you get:

4% fare evasion - $154,739,164
5% fare evasion - $193,423,956
6% fare evasion - $232,108,747

Whether you believe fare evasion is at 4% or 6% (or 10% like some bus drivers have told us—that would be $387 million), these scofflaws (thieves, really) have cost TransLink taxpayers and riders way too much. This calculation doesn't include millions in unpaid tickets or tens of millions in transit police staff time (two-thirds of their files are fare evasion tickets).

By
on April 02, 2012
LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

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By
on June 27, 2012
Transit Police harass poor people. Tax payers money is not in jeopardy by someone catching a bus a couple of blocks. What are the costs of drivers to the city? Why is the fine for fare evasion greater than the fine for skipping a red light or not stopping for school bus where the result is potentially death? How many people have fare evaders killed? Rich people make laws they have cars, they are vindictive to the poor.

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