TransLink worse than Toronto for complaints
SkyTrain rolls through Vancouver. (FILE PHOTO)
When you are paying your CEO and your executives the top salaries of the transit authorities in this country, you would expect the number of complaints would be the lowest out of the three.
— Dermod Travis, IntegrityBC
TransLink’s complaints per million passengers is exceeding the rates of its larger counterparts in Montreal and Toronto — despite its significantly smaller ridership.
According to ridership and complaint information from TransLink, the Lower Mainland transit provider had 232.5 million passengers in 2013 and 31,595 transit-related complaints.
The same year, Toronto Transit Commission reported 525.2 million passengers, at 55,062 complaints, while the Societe de transport de Montreal saw 416.5 million passengers and 28,472 complaints.
TransLink said it calculates complaints based on how many are received for “boarded passengers” — which means each transfer is calculated as another “passenger.”
So a two-transfer journey, including the original boarding, will be counted as three boardings.
However, TransLink is unique in using that number — both TTC and STM use “revenue passengers.” STM doesn’t even make “boarded passenger” counts public.
In an “apples-to-apples” comparison, TransLink has 135.86 complaints per million passengers, TTC had 104.84 and STM has 68.36.
“If revenue passengers were used instead, we could be excluding any transfer portions of the journey,” TransLink said in a statement.
“Boarded passengers has always been used for consistent reporting.”
Dermod Travis, executive director of IntegrityBC, questioned why TransLink would use a different term. He said complainants are presumably specific about their problems on transit and TransLink’s rationale is illogical.
“If you are using different measures, people will naturally feel that you’re doing it because you don’t want to be compared,” he said.
“If you don’t want to be compared it’s because you don’t think you’ll measure up.”
TransLink added it uses the “revenue passenger” definition to calculate ridership gains and losses. The “boarded passengers” definition, it said, is used to calculate system capacity and the complaints number.