BC: TransLink Admits Its $173 Fare Evasion Fines Aren't Pursued
B.C. Premier W.A.C. Bennett used to say that his opposition couldn’t run a “peanut stand.” Well, TransLink may be even worse.
CKNW radio reporter Janet Brown came up with an absolute bombshell last night when she discovered that only 7,500 of 50,000+ fare evasion tickets were paid—and that TransLink has no authority to force people to pay their $173 fare evasion fines.
That sound you just heard was people rushing past SkyTrain ticket machines. No need for those any more.
The majority of tickets written by Translink Police aren't paid but what's more surprising, the tickets aren't even enforced.
From January last year to February this year there were approximately 64-thousand tickets issued mostly for 'failure to pay fare.' Of that number about 11-thousand were cancelled for one reason or another.
So, of roughly 53-thousand tickets issued, the number of fines 'paid' was only 75-hundred. The fine is 173-dollars.
What's even more surprising is that there's no consequence if you decide not to pay the fine.
CKNW reporter Janet Brown spoke with Tranklink's Drew Snider, "So, if I'm issued a ticket because I can't produce my little ticket from getting on the Skytrain, I'm given a 173-dollar ticket from the police officer but if I chose not pay it there's no consequence. Is that right?"
Snider: "That is correct."
Jordan Bateman with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation says he's stunned, "It's an absolute bombshell. In fact, I'm rarely at a loss for words, but I'm completely by what Mr. Snider was saying. I mean, he's admitting that these tickets they are writing are not worth the paper they're written on. I think you're going to see fare evasion quadruple in the weeks to come because, why not."
In fact, Translink says the collection of fines rests with the Court system. Translink does not get the fine money - that goes to the Provincial Government's general revenue.
NDP Transportation critic Harry Bains is calling on the Transportation Minister to make sure fines are collected, "I think the Minister needs to get on the phone and talk to the Translink CEO and say, 'look, you have a job to do. You're placed in that position to make sure the system is running. The system we have to enforce our laws are there and that enforcement is there."
This is why we so desperately need a BC Hydro-style audit of TransLink, and why the CTF supported Premier Christy Clark’s announcement of one last week. Something isn’t right here—before this organization is given a single nickel more of taxation power (let alone the $1 billion worth of tax tools the regional mayors have requested on TransLink’s behalf), we need to change the corporate culture and bring accountability into that organization.
TransLink is a waste machine, with issues like nepotism, security breaches, U-pass theft, safety concerns, communication mistakes, fare evasion, pay polling, superfluous studies and redundant transit police. And that’s just what we can prove right now.