The Commission (i.e. the office of the Commissioner) is the independent regulator of TransLink, the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority. It is one of the governing bodies of TransLink.
While members of the Mayors’ Council are elected to office in their respective municipality, each is sworn “to consider the interests of the transportation service region as a whole” in exercising powers under the Act. The Council:
- appoints the Commissioner (and up to two Deputy Commissioners) and the TransLink Board of Directors, subject to processes stipulated in the Act.
- approves or rejects changes to TransLink’s rolling 10-year plan which are proposed by TransLink’s Board: such changes could include new tax rates and other funding measures and are contained in a Supplemental Plan (for more, see About TransLink).
TransLink’s Board of Directors oversees the conduct of TransLink’s business, supervising Management (which is responsible for the day-to-day conduct of the business), and ensuring that all major issues affecting the business and affairs of TransLink are given proper consideration. The Board appoints the Chief Executive Officer, who is responsible for day-to-day leadership and management. A Screening Panel nominates candidates for appointment to the Board and sets directors’ compensation. This Panel, established annually, comprises one individual appointed by each of: the B.C. Minister of Transportation, the Mayors’ Council, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of B.C., the Vancouver Board of Trade, and the Greater Vancouver Gateway Society.
For its part, the Commission:
1. rules on TransLink’s applications for any:
- increase in existing fares* faster than 2% compounded annually (or introduction of a new fare*) which has already been approved by the Mayors' Council. The Commission may hold public hearings, and must try in its ruling to:
- maintain TransLink’s financial sustainability**
- enable it to provide planned services and pursue planned projects
- encourage TransLink to minimize expenses in so doing
- keep fares as low as is reasonably possible.
- increase in fuel tax levied by TransLink, by formally determining if other funding sources are planned to increase fast enough to satisfy a balanced funding formula stated in the Act;
- sale of a major TransLink facility, which is effectively approved unless the Commission objects on grounds of material adverse impact on TransLink’s services and projects.
2. approves TransLink’s processes (and any amendments) for:
- an annual customer satisfaction survey;
- resolution of customers’ complaints;
3. gives opinions to the Mayors' Council on whether:
- the assumptions and parameters in TransLink’s 10-Year plan (its 3-year Base Plan and 7-year Outlook) are reasonable (in a report due annually at August-end, also given to TransLink);
- the assumptions and parameters in any Supplemental Plans (which involve new or extra funding) are reasonable (in a report due 30 days after receipt from TransLink, which may be at any time in the year);
- TransLink has operated according to its 10-year plan over the past year (in a Commission annual report due April-end).
* i.e. short term fares (transit service passes that are valid for less than 3 days)
**The TransLink Board, with a 2/3 majority vote, may raise transit fares without the Commission's approval, and even if not in its strategic plan, if the board determines it necessary to meet debt obligations.