The Surrey Central transit exchange would be even busier under proposed improvements which would see three LRT lines built from that hub. Metro Vancouver residents already pay more for transit than residents of the Toronto and Montreal areas

Metro Vancouver transit costs are already highest in the country

TransLink statistics show that Metro Vancouver residents already pay about $100 more per year than their eastern counterparts.

Metro Vancouver residents pay the most for public transit among the three largest metropolitan areas in Canada.

Statistics generated by TransLink, the regional transportation authority, show people in the Lower Mainland area pay over $100 a year more than their counterparts in the Toronto and Montreal metropolitan areas when all transit-related vehicle fees, hydro levies, parking taxes, fuel taxes and property taxes are added together. It’s a gap of more than 20 per cent.

The figures show the larger a metropolitan area is, the less householders pay for public transit.

In the Toronto area, with over 5.5 million residents, the annual cost per household is $406. In metropolitan Montreal, with 3.8 million people, it’s $425.

In Metro Vancouver, with 2.3 million people, the annual combined cost is $533.

The numbers were generated in response to a request by Langley Township Councillor  Kim Richter, following a May report by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) that showed drivers in Vancouver, Victoria and Montreal paid the highest gas taxes in the country.

At the time, the CTF report complained that the gas taxes were being used to subsidize public transit, calling the practice “an inherently unfair tax scheme when the people who use public transit the least (or not at all) are the ones subsidizing it the most heavily.”

Richter requested a breakdown of the costs compared with other cities.

The TransLink numbers, provided to The Times by Richter, show that roughly half of the transit funding in Metro Vancouver comes from gas taxes, about 10 times more than in Toronto and roughly five times more than in Montreal.

In Toronto, most of the transit funding, about 90 per cent, is raised through property taxes, while in Montreal, about half the transit funding comes from property taxes, with another third coming from vehicle fees.

TransLink said some of the difference between Metro Vancouver and the other two regions is due to the fact the local authority also collects money to fund major roads and four bridges.

The report goes on to say that transit costs are rising faster in Toronto and Montreal than they are in Vancouver.

Between 2007 and 2013, per-household transit costs rose 27 per cent in Metro Vancouver while they went up 53 per cent in Toronto and 77 per cent in Montreal.

These numbers reflect current taxes paid to operate TransLink. Under a proposal released Thursday by the Mayors Council on Regional Transportation, taxes would rise much higher, with the biggest jump being in fuel tax. The proposal calls for a  5.5-cent carbon tax on fuel, which would boost TransLink’s tax per litre to 22.5 cents.

At the 2013 TransLink Annual General Meeting, the authority reported it managed to reduce costs by $16.3 million last year while investing $248 million in road, bridge and transit fleet upgrades.

TransLink said it also added 58,600 bus service hours last year in the form of the new 555 bus route that connects Langley to New Westminster over the Port Mann Bridge, and for the new King George 96 B-line.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

This Crescent Beach home, located at 12505 22 Ave., was subject of a police search warrant June 18. (Google image)
Civil Forfeiture Office alleges Crescent Beach home used to launder money

Court documents request the home, and $85,000 to be turned over to the government

Surrey firefighters battle a house fire near the 70A Avenue and 126A Street intersection early Sunday morning. According to a witness, it appears that the occupants were able to get out without injury. (Shane MacKichan photos)
PHOTOS: Fire causes extensive damage to Surrey home

Occupants able to escape without injury: witness

Preliminary results indicate a Surrey-Cloverdale win for the NDP’s Mike Starchuk. (File)
Mike Starchuk leading Marvin Hunt in Surrey Cloverdale

MAP: B.C. provincial election results for Surrey-Cloverdale

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Mounties looking for teen boy ‘unlawfully at large’ from Riverview psychiatric hospital

Nolan Godron left the hospital, located at 2721 Lougheed Highway in Coquitlam, without consent on Saturday

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Most Read