TransLink Efficiency and Financial Reviews

Two reviews of TransLink were conducted in 2012. The first review was initiated by the Regional Transportation Commissioner as a result of an application by TransLink for approval of a supplementary fare increase. The results of the review were announced at the end of March 2012. The other review was undertaken by the BC Ministry of Finance, which released its report in October 2012.

This page describes the reviews and then provides links to TransLink's comments on the reviews.

Commissioner Review

At the end of 2011, TransLink applied to the Commissioner for approval of a fare increase in excess of the permitted increases of 2% per year (measured from April 1, 2008). As part of his consideration of this application, the Commissioner conducted an efficiency review of TransLink, which concluded that TransLink had room to reduce costs without cutting services, programs and projects. Accordingly, he rejected the supplementary fare increase.

The Commissioner announced his decision in Memorandum 10 dated March 27, 2012, in which he concluded that TransLink could achieve aggregate cost savings of $40 to $60 million in the years 2013 to 2015 without cutting services or deferring projects. The Commissioner's decision was based on a 103-page consultant's report titled TransLink Efficiency Review.

The Commissioner also found that TransLink budgets conservatively, in that it overestimates expenditures by about $40 million per year. However, he concluded that this factor is offset by the likelihood that TransLink's revenue from fuel tax will fall substantially short of projections.

On February 1, 2013, the Commissioner released Memorandum 12 with an attached Report Card, in which he concluded that TransLink is on track to meet the $40 to $60 million cost-saving challenge. This was accompanied by a consultant's report titled Progress Report on TransLink Efficiency Review.

Further documents are available from the Rulings, Opinions and Approvals page of the Commissioner's website.

Ministry of Finance Review

A performance audit of TransLink was undertaken by the BC Ministry of Finance in 2012 at the request of TransLink's Board of Directors. This audit examined areas that were identified in the Commissioner's review, as well as areas excluded from that review. It concluded that TransLink's approach to budgeting is overly conservative, to the extent of $30 million per year, and it identified about $11 million of annual cost-saving opportunities. An executive steering committee that worked with the audit team made further recommendations for cost savings.

Highlights of the audit can be found in Backgrounder 1 to the government's News Release announcing the completion of the audit. The audit report is available here.

TransLink Comments

TransLink commented on the Commissioner's rejection of the supplemental fare increase and his efficiency review in its Buzzer Blog of April 11, 2012 and in a 45-minute video briefing on April 18, 2012 with the TransLink CEO and another executive. It also released two letters: a letter to the Commissioner in which it accepts his challenge to find additional cost savings, and a letter to the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure requesting a provincial audit of TransLink.

In its Buzzer Blog of October 16, 2012, TransLink indicated that it had started on some of the recommendations in the Ministry of Finance performance audit and was working on others that are complex and not easy to implement. That blog also contains links to numerous media articles and blog posts on the audit.