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TransLink CEO won't discuss fairness issue

TransLink CEO Ian Jarvis wasn’t prepared to discuss whether Langley gives more to the regional transportation authority than it gets, when he took questions at Tuesday’s Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce meeting.

Guest speaker was TransLink chief operating officer Doug Kelsey, but Jarvis also attended, in part because TransLink has been under intense scrutiny in recent weeks.

He had also said earlier Tuesday that a planned rapid bus service from Langley to Lougheed station was being put on hold temporarily.

The CEO was asked if Langley taxpayers received a level of service in proportion to the taxes they pay for TransLink.

He replied that he didn’t want to get into that aspect of TransLink’s service.

“That’s a bit of a rabbit hole you go down,” he said.

Jarvis emphasized that TransLink is a regional agency and needs to take a regional perspective in all its decisions. He said the bus service over the new PortMann Bridge was being put on hold because TransLink is undergoing a provincial audit and looking for cost savings.

It also has to figure out how it can fund any service expansion south of the Fraser, as all mayors but three (from the two Langleys and white Rock) voted last week against adding additional property taxes to pay for it.

Asked after the meeting how long the “hold” might last, he said he didn’t think it would be long — perhaps four months.

He expects the provincial audit to get underway quickly, and TransLink administrators will be looking for cost savings right away.

Both Jarvis and Kelsey emphasized that TransLink is well-run, noting that Time magazine said after the 2010 Winter Olympics that the system was “scarily efficient.”

Kelsey acknowledged that bus service in Langley isn’t up to the levels enjoyed in other parts of the region.

“We all know the south of the Fraser region is not being served the way it should be,” he said in his opening remarks.

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