VANCOUVER - The provincial NDP supports the B.C. Liberal government's proposal to install turnstiles at every SkyTrain and Canada Line station - but the opposition party doesn't want to wait until a private partner is found to build and operate the system.
NDP MLA Adrian Dix told reporters today that Victoria should give TransLink a direct grant from the provincial surplus to quickly develop a system of transit fare gates.
Dix said he supports turnstiles because they will reduce crime at transit stations - not because he thinks they will pay for themselves.
Funny thing though, the NDP issued a press release a few days ago on Friday that completely contradicted that position:
November 09, 2007
NDP Questions B.C. Liberals' Plan to Privatize SkyTrain Turnstiles
VANCOUVER – The B.C. Liberal government’s announcement yesterday that they plan on installing privatized turnstiles on SkyTrain raises some serious questions, New Democrat Transportation Critic Maurine Karagianis said today.
“It certainly sounds like the Minister of Transportation thought up this plan at the last minute, which is no way to ensure the safety of commuters on our public transit system. It’s no surprise that he is once again imposing his will on TransLink,” said Karagianis, the MLA for Esquimalt-Metchosin.
“Just last week, TransLink officials were saying that they had no plans to install turnstiles. And now the Transportation Minister is saying that he wants to go ahead with it.”
Karagianis noted that Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon’s suggestion to privatize the turnstiles is a signal that he may be thinking of privatizing the entire SkyTrain system.
“British Columbians have every reason to be worried about yet another privatization scheme from the Minister of Transportation. Just look at what’s happening along Cambie Street,” said Karagianis.
Karagianis said that the government is long overdue in bringing in other public safety measures such as improved lighting and the hiring of more transit police, noting that New Democrats have been pushing for increased safety at SkyTrain stations.
“Commuters have the right to feel safe when they take our public transit system, and it is way past time that the B.C. Liberal government took decisive action,” said Karagianis.
The NDP continues to fight in the Legislature against the Campbell government’s Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority Amendment Act (Bill 43), which would replace the democratically elected TransLink board with a group of hand-picked individuals.
© 2007 BC NDP