Ridership for Metro Vancouver’s public transit system has dropped in the first quarter of 2014, according to a recently released TransLink financial and performance report.
The public agency reported that its fares were 4.9 per cent ($6 million) below budget, largely due to decreases in farebox and prepaid fares which was 5 per cent ($4.7 million) lower than anticipated due to slightly lower ridership.
The remaining gap was from prepaid contracts due to “a $1.1 million adjustment relating to the prior period.”
Last year’s fare increases, the limited introduction of new transit services, and ongoing improvements to road and bridge infrastructure are the leading reasons for the decline in ridership.
Despite the fall in ridership, TransLink still accumulated a surplus of $15.9 million for the first quarter largely due to a $12.8 million increase in diesel fuel tax revenues. The weakened Canadian dollar has caused more commercial vehicles to fuel up in Canada instead of across the border.
For the previous fiscal year ending in late-2013, TransLink recorded a surplus of $36.8 million. It was the first budget surplus recorded in five years; warnings were issued in 2008/2009 that the transportation agency would encounter financial issues in five year’s time if more revenue streams were not allocated.
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