In the Network: Media Co-op Dominion   Locals: HalifaxMontrealTorontoVancouver
This post has not been reviewed by the Vancouver Media Co-op editorial committee.

Bus Riders Union Leaflets Canada Line Station to Expose and Oppose Olympics, High Fares, Privatization

by Bus Riders Union

On Thursday evening members of the Bus Riders Union will leaflet at the Broadway Canada Line station to expose and oppose the links between the Olympics, privatization of public transit in Vancouver, and the upcoming fare increase on transit passes and faresaver tickets.  BRU members in their orange t-shirts will be organizing other concerned bus riders to get involved in the campaign against the fare increase.

“The Canada Line and the fare increase are important symbols,” says BRU organizer Aiyanas Ormond.  “In two weeks when the Olympics are gone, this is what we will be left with: privatization, chronic overcrowding on the overtaxed bus system, and fares that are a real hardship to low-income people and families.”

The Canada Line, a $2+ billion dollar privatization project, has saddled TransLink with payments to a private contractor for 30 years and tens of millions of dollars annually in debt servicing, resources badly needed for the bus system that still carries the vast majority of transit users in Vancouver.

“We are not against the Canada Line,” says BRU organizer Rocio Vasquez.  “We are against privatization of a transit system which low-income people, especially communities of colour and working class women, rely on.  We are against starving the bus system to pay for a privatized mega project and raising bus fares at a time when wages and welfare are not going up and many people are experiencing economic hardship.”

The fare increase of 10% on monthly passes and fare saver tickets which comes into effect on April 1, 2010 is the fifth fare increase since TransLink was created in 1999.  During that time bus fares have increased 66%, compared to 18% overall inflation in the Canadian economy.  Meanwhile the minimum wage has not increased since 2001, and poverty and inequality have continued to increase.

“Bus riders and our communities are suffering through difficult economic times as it is,” says Vasquez.  “The policies of privatization and high fares, implemented by TransLink and pushed by the BC Liberals, are making things even worse.  Once again TransLink is reaching into the pockets of low-income bus riders with one hand and paying out profits to private contractors and banks with the other.”

Media Contact: Aiyanas Ormond 604-315-8766   

Catch the news as it breaks: follow the VMC on Twitter.
Join the Vancouver Media Co-op today. Click here to learn about the benefits of membership.

The site for the Vancouver local of The Media Co-op has been archived and will no longer be updated. Please visit the main Media Co-op website to learn more about the organization.