TRANSLINK’S 2022 Investment Plan is now final after being approved by the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation and TransLink’s Board of Directors. The Investment Plan will advance key transit priorities while stabilizing funding over the next three years, TransLink said on Thursday.
While TransLink has seen encouraging ridership growth and has now surpassed 70 per cent of pre-pandemic ridership, a prolonged drop in ridership from 2019 levels has resulted in significantly reduced fare revenues. Changes in travel behaviour and a growing adoption of zero-emission vehicles have also caused fuel tax revenues that fund transit to become a declining revenue source. This plan will stabilize funding over the next three years while advancing key transit and transportation priorities for the region.
Key priorities in the 2022 Investment Plan include:
- The Surrey Langley SkyTrain project
- Adding approximately 500 new battery-electric buses
- Opening public washrooms at six major transit hubs beginning in 2024
- Implementing the R6 RapidBus in Surrey and Delta, and early work on a new R7 RapidBus route, connecting the Canada Line from Richmond to the Expo Line
- Increasing HandyDART service by 3 per cent
- Advancing planning of transit service to Indigenous communities
- Upgrading the Compass payment system to improve the customer experience
- Improving and maintaining regional roads, walkways, and cycling paths
Prior pandemic relief funding from the governments of Canada and British Columbia of $176 million, along with Safe Restart funding of $675.8 million, is helping vital transit services remain at or near pre-pandemic levels. This Investment Plan will help to stabilize transit operating funding over the next three years and will put TransLink in a better position to expand and improve transit service through the proposed 10-year plan titled Transport 2050:10-Year Priorities.
Transit funding stabilization measures in the 2022 Investment Plan include:
- Maintaining current bus service levels until the next Investment Plan update
- Cost-saving measures, including savings from increased bus priority investments
- Continuing with annual fare increases of 2.3 per cent until 2024
- This is lower than planned in previous investment plans to keep costs low while helping to fund rising costs of transit operations
- Additional annual increases to standard property tax revenues of 1.15 per cent – which is equal to approximately $3 for an average residential property next year
- Additional revenues derived from expanded commercial, real estate development and advertising opportunities
- Additional carbon credit revenues from our Low Carbon Fleet Strategy
The 2022 Investment Plan outlines forecast revenues and expenditures over a 10-year period. The 10-year Investment Plan is updated every three years, and the plan approved on Thursday focuses on stabilization and pandemic recovery over the next three years. The remaining funding will need to be addressed in subsequent updates to the Investment Plan as part of TransLink’s ongoing partnership with the Government of British Columbia.
The plan includes significant capital investments from the Government of British Columbia and the Government of Canada to maintain the system in good repair and advance a limited number of key projects while we focus on stabilizing our finances.
Originally released for engagement on April 20, the 2022 Investment Plan received 4,585 completed questionnaires with positive feedback from 83 per cent of respondents. The next update to the Investment Plan will be tabled by 2025.
Jonathan Coté, Mayors’ Council Chair, said: “After a very difficult two years, I’m proud that this Investment Plan is affordable and realistic and will bring us closer to creating a more sustainable and livable region. This plan will stabilize transit funding, advance key priorities, and set up this region for decades of transportation improvements.”
Kevin Quinn, TransLink CEO, said: “Investing in transit improvements is critical for the future of this region. This plan will stabilize our funding to put us in a better position to bring historic transit expansions through Transport 2050: 10-Year Priorities. In the short-term, this plan will also achieve key regional priorities like reducing carbon emissions, upgrading customer amenities, and building critical transportation infrastructure.”