TransLink to end discount pass for mountain community

TransLink (BC) will end its discounted pass program for residents of UniverCity on Burnaby Mountain at the end of the year. Under the Community Pass program, about 900 of the 3,000 residents paid $30 per month for three-zone passes that would otherwise cost $151 per month. The goal was to encourage transit use among members of this planned mixed-use community near Simon Fraser University, which was designed to incorporate sustainable transportation options. In a letter to UniverCity residents, TransLink CFO and vice president of financial and corporate services Cathy McLay wrote the following:

The Community Pass program was launched in 2006, in part to discover whether such an offering could have broader applications across TransLink’s service area. Corporate and other subsidies were key to the program’s financial viability and the main reason that subscribers could be offered a monthly rate that was considerably lower than the normal price of a monthly FareCard. While the corporate subsidy ended in 2008, program partners collaborated to maintain the 2006 rate.

Recently, TransLink considered an option to increase the pass price in two stages but maintain a portion of the subsidy. However, in a time when limited funding has made sustaining transit services a challenge, ongoing discounting of the Community Pass cannot be maintained.

The Community Pass was initially subsided by Vancity Financial and more recently by TransLink and the Simon Fraser University Community Trust. According to the trust, about 40% of UniverCity residents use public transit which, a spokesman says, is about three times the rate of usage in metro Vancouver. Link to full story in Vancouver Sun.

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