Faregates are the wrong way to spend money: transit unions

October 14, 2010

Expensive and unnecessary infrastructure project prioritized over buses, rapid transit

MoveUP President Andy Ross spoke to the TransLink Board of Directors today, asking them to reconsider the Faregates infrastructure project, and submitting a research paper "Putting Riders Before Faregates."

Ross was speaking on behalf of the Joint Union Committee (JUC) comprised of unions representing transit workers in BC.

Ross told the Board, "Transit-dependent riders in the region need a system that is accessible, reliable, and affordable." The JUC is deeply alarmed that TransLink is prioritizing the Faregate infrastructure project over and above much needed additional service for the region, including the expansion of bus service, and rapid transit lines.

TransLink is cash-strapped and Faregates is the wrong way to spend scarce resources. Ross asked TransLink to reconsider this proposal and presented a research paper detailing the reasons why this is the wrong decision.

  • There is no business case for the Faregates.
  • TransLink’s own research has resulted in Faregates being rejected on several occasions over the years.
  • TransLink has made claims that the gates are for rider safety and security, but has also admitted that this is mostly only a perception of safety.
  • Research shows that patrols and checks are far more effective and efficient than gates for dealing with fare evasion.
  • There are further questions about the cost of closed loop payment fare system versus an open loop payment system.

Download a PDF copy of the research paper “Putting Riders Before Faregates” here.

In response to Ross’, the Board admitted again Faregates do not have a business case. They claim that Faregates are necessary for the SmartCard system.

But the research paper outlines cases (starting page 3) where transit systems in other cities, including Calgary, have or will implement SmartCards without Faregates.

The Board did not address that possiblity.

The Joint Union Committee is comprised of MoveUP, CAW 111 & 2200, CUPE 7000 & 4500, and the Amalgamated Transit Union 134 & 1724.