TransLink drivers pressed ‘fare not paid’ button 2.76 million times in 2013

TRANSLINK bus drivers pressed a special button in their coaches to record a “fare not paid” more than 2.76 million times in 2013, according to documents released on Tuesday by the No TransLink Tax campaign. The information was obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) through a Freedom of Information request.

“These bus drivers should be checked for carpal tunnel syndrome from having to repeatedly push that fare evasion button,” said No TransLink Tax spokesperson and CTF B.C. Director Jordan Bateman. “TransLink executives have turned a blind eye to millions of fare cheats, causing unnecessary financial grief for honest riders and taxpayers.”

The 2,762,363 “fare not paid” button pushes do not include fare evasion on SkyTrain, West Coast Express, SeaBus, or the West Vancouver blue bus network. Further, many bus drivers have previously told media outlets they have stopped pressing the button as “there are so many freeloaders and TransLink doesn’t do anything about it.” The buttons were pushed 2.5 million times in 2011.

“If only TransLink had managed the Compass card and fare gate rollout properly, we’d have a better system to measure and prevent fare evasion,” said Bateman. “Instead, thanks to TransLink’s incompetence, Compass is three years late and at least $25 million over budget. There have been open fare gates sitting at SkyTrain stations for two-and-a-half years already – while cheats keep riding for free.”

The No TransLink Tax campaign is fighting for a No vote in this spring’s TransLink plebiscite.

“TransLink can’t properly manage the system they already have – they certainly can’t be trusted with another $7.5 billion of our money,” said Bateman. “Fare evasion and poor management of Compass cards are just two more reasons why people should vote no.”


  1. ‘Fare not Paid’ is a misnomer for these buttons. They were pressed to report any payment discrepancy…including overpayment, something that is being conveniently ignored by the CTF. Not surprising, since they do tend simply ignore words that do not support their position.
    I will likely vote ‘no’, however, it will NOT be based on anything the CTF says!
    I strongly suggest the public actually read the document in question. It clearly states the many reasons the button may be pushed, and also that the tool was not meant to report on lost revenues. Do not simply accept sensational headlines, or the claims of the CTF…that is being led by the nose, by those with an agenda of their own.

    • I am a bus driver, I guarantee you that no one has ever pushed the ‘Fare Not Paid’ button because a passenger overpaid their fare.

  2. Translink Tax campaigners appear to be happy that there are no referendums on spending more tax money on highway “improvements” and new bridges, e.g. Port Mann and a new Massey bridge, but are angry when more taxes are required for transit improvements and a new Patullo bridge. Voting No to punish Translink for (debatable) mismanagement won’t work; voting No will only punish the users of transit, bridges and highways, not Translink. There is no sensible alternative to voting Yes.

  3. That $2.7 million fare evasion calculation is not accurate. That is a very conservative calculation. It should be higher than that. I am too frustrated of fare evasion that i don’t even bother pushing that button anymore. Translink is incompetent to address the problem. My own shift alone, i get an average of 20 to 25 fare evasion and that’s my 8 hrs shift alone. There are 3500 bus drivers. Do the figure.

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