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VANCOUVER Translinks decision to approve a proposal to privately operate the RAV line will hit transit users and taxpayers in the pocket book, say CUPE skytrain workers.

We showed the Translink board how much money they would save running the line publicly and they went ahead with the proposal to privatize line operations anyway, said Gerry Cunningham, spokesperson for CUPE Local 7000, the union representing skytrain employees.

We cant understand why on earth Translink would do this. It is riders and taxpayers who are going to foot the bill, he added.

The private sector incurs extra expenses such as higher interest rates, profit margins, GST, and other taxes not paid for by a public provider.

The proposal to have the private sector involved in the RAV project will mean the project will cost millions of dollars more per year, said Cunningham. Conservative estimates by the staff at the City of Burnaby show an extra 17 million dollar cost to run the line privately.

In 2000/01 a public sector comparator was conducted to review the cost difference of running the Millennium Line publicly or privately. The comparison showed that a privately run line would cost an extra 4.5 million dollars a year more.

No public sector comparator has been conducted for the RAV.

This is an outrageous disregard for taxpayers and transit users money, said Cunningham. We need an independent public sector comparator done to ensure proper accountability.

The Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD) board is meeting on Wednesday, May 28, 2003 to give final approval to the project.

We are appealing to the GVRDs financial wisdom, said Cunningham. Translink clearly isnt concerned with hiking rates and taxes, but we hope the GVRD board will be.


Gerry Cunningham, CUPE Local 7000 spokesperson at 604.219.9844