TransLink reported a significant, post-Olympic bump in transit ridership. January 2010 ridership was up 3% over January 2009; February 2010’s ridership swelled 51% due to the Olympics; and March 2010 was up almost 20% over March 2009. TransLink would not speculate on the long term impact on the organisation’s finances, assuming ridership stays at these elevated levels. However, the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation weighed in, pointing out that TransLink gets “… a lot of cash …” from senior governments to build facilities that it cannot afford to operate. CTF spokeswoman Maureen Bader questioned whether the Evergreen Line should be built if TransLink does not have funds to operate it. (Note that I cannot recall the CTF making similar comments about highway infrastructure.)
Reporting on the same topic, The Vancouver Sun noted that TransLink’s underutilized facilities such as the SeaBus and West Coast Express had seen the most significant post-Olympics passenger gains. There were also ridership increases on the Canada Line and its south of the Fraser River bus linkages. The report also states that turnstiles will be installed in rapid transit stations and a contract for a smart card system operator will be signed by the end of this year. Part of the smart card initiative is to replace the current three-zone fare system with a fare-by-distance system.