Commuter Challenge – There’s Still Time to Register!

The BEST Commuter Challenge, proudly supported by ICBC, is a great way for workplaces to try sustainable transportation. From June 3-9, thousands of employees will walk, bike, take transit, use a ride-share or car-share, ride a horse, work from home, canoe or use some other creative form of transit to commute to work. An easy on-line tracking system lets employees see how much CO2 is avoided, how many litres of fuel are saved, how many calories are burned, and how many sustainable kilometres are traveled. Winning workplaces, individuals, and workplace coordinators get fantastic prizes, like coffee subscriptions, credit to car-sharing companies, yoga passes, gift certificates, tickets to sporting events, and more. Check out www.commuterchallengebc.ca for more information about sponsors and prizes. We will be hosting a party on June 19 at 6:30 p.m. to celebrate sustainable transportation. There are now over 230 workplaces registered throughout BC and over 1500 individuals registered to participate. If you would like to register there is still time — just go to www.commuterchallenge.ca. For more information please contact Michelle at michelle.drewitz@best.bc.ca or 604-669-2860 ext 211.

The Bicycle Valet Is Gearing Up!

June is always a busy month for The Bicycle Valet, and this year is not an exception!   We are returning to iconic street parties such as Greek Day, Car Free Day on Main St. and Commercial Drive, celebrating bicycles at MEC Bikefest Northshore and MEC Bikefest Vancouver, and are happy to announce a couple of new events. Be sure to check out the newest addition to New Westminster’s waterfront at the Official Opening of Westminster Pier Park on June 16!  Everyone is invited to attend the grand opening ceremonies along with an afternoon of main stage entertainment, recreational activities in the Kids’ & Sports Zones, amazing food from River Market vendors and lots more. Also new this year is Make Music on June 21 in Gastown.  Over 200 bands – yes, you read that right – will be giving one-hour performances (not all at once, thank goodness!)  It is entirely free. No tickets, no admission, just fun. We are still looking for volunteers for these events and more!  Fill out the online form and get started!  Short, flexible shifts at awesome events, no long-term commitment necessary, exclusive invitations  to three LEGENDARY volunteer parties (next one coming up in June- planning is underway), and other perks on offer! Interested in supporting The Bicycle Valet but parking bicycles is not your scene?  LET EVENT ORGANIZERS KNOW YOU WANT THE BICYCLE VALET by posting on Facebook, Tweeting at them, emailing them, or calling them.  We have a few suggestions: Malkin Bowl Concerts in Stanley Park and Deer Lake Park Concerts in Burnaby (Live Nation BC Facebook, Twitter) and BC Lions home games (Facebook, Twitter).   Don’t forget to tag us!

TransLink Financial Blows

May 7, 2012 TransLink faces financial blows A synopsis by date of the major events of the past 3 years for Translink, Mayors Council and Province. Prepared by Caelie Frampton, May 2012. *** TransLink was handed several financial blows in April. • The first is the rejection of a fare increase which was projected to bring in $20 million per year for operating costs. • The second is the refusal from the Province to bring in another fuel tax increase, a vehicle levy, or regional carbon tax for this year. This breakdown in negotiations then prompted the Mayors’ Council to cancel the use of property taxes to pay for $30 million of the Moving Forward Supplement. In addition, the TransLink Commissioner Martin Crilly released his audit of TransLink in April. Crilly “challenges” TransLink needs to find $400-$500 million in efficiencies in the next decade. The report calls for restructuring and potential service cuts. It specifically targets collective agreements which have the potential to impact transit workers. The relationship between the Province and the Mayors’ Council is also at all time low since talks that have gone on for 2 years around funding which have essentially fallen apart. Several municipal politicians are calling for a “complete rethink of TransLink” (Mayor Malcolm Brodie, The Province, April 11). Below I’ve highlighted recent discussions on funding, governance and audits. Background and Timeline: – In 2009, The Mayors’ Council approved a Funding Stabilization Plan with fare increases scheduled in 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2019. This would be on top of the base fare increase, where under the Act, short term fares can go up 2% without approval of the Commissioner. TransLink applies for the required commission approval. – In early 2010, the Commission approves only the 2010 increase for passes and tickets. – In October 2011, the Mayors’ Council approves the 2012 Moving Forward Supplement. The Supplement requires $70 million per year of funding and includes the Evergreen Line.1 Started in April 2012; part of the Supplement – $40 million per year – will be paid for by an increase to the regional fuel tax increase of 2 cents. The balance of $30 million per year will be implemented through a three-year time limited property tax increase of $23.13 per average household in 2013 – if necessary. The Mayors’ Council agrees to the Supplement on the condition that all parties would work together on longer … Continue reading