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Board of Directors of TransLink: Reverse decision to cancel Employer Pass Program and Sunday fare waiver.

This petition had 669 supporters

On 30 July the TransLink Board announced cancellation of the Employer Pass Program (EPP), effective 1 January 2014. The EPP provides a yearly pass to employees of participating workplaces, payable by payroll deduction, at a price approximately 15% below that of a regular monthly pass. Those enrolled in the EPP are eligible to claim the federal transit tax credit. An additional benefit, available to EPP participants and monthly pass holders alike, enables up to two adults or four children travelling with a pass holder to ride for free on Sundays and statutory holidays. TransLink also announced the cancellation of this latter benefit.

Some 27,000 employees at more than 300 workplaces currently participate in the EPP in the Greater Vancouver area. It is an enlightened policy which may reasonably be presumed to have given many employees a sufficient incentive to take transit to commute to work instead of using their car. Likewise the Sunday fare waiver is undoubtedly of great help to low-income families with dependent children.

TransLink seeks to justify the EPP’s cancellation by claiming it has served its original purpose of boosting ridership. But the Board has produced no studies of the impact its decision is likely to have on ridership; instead it acknowledges that termination of the EPP, and of the Sunday fare benefit, may decrease ridership and, by implication, promote car use.

TransLink advises EPP users to purchase a monthly pass using the new Compass Card. However, since the existing fare structure will remain in force with the introduction of the Compass Card, this option would effectively impose a 15% increase in monthly transit costs on those currently enrolled in the EPP programme. At a time when it is more important than ever to promote transit use, the elimination of a popular and successful 14-year-old programme explicitly aimed at commuting employees can only be regarded as a step backward.

Accordingly we, the undersigned, hereby
1. express our opposition to the abolition of the Employer Pass Program;
2. register our opposition to the elimination of the family-friendly fare waiver on Sundays and statutory holidays for adults and children accompanying EPP and monthly pass holders; and
3. call upon the TransLink Board to reverse both of these decisions.

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