Your Insights on Funding for TransLink

Just two-thirds of Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley residents (66%) are aware of TransLink’s current budget issue. A significant majority (72%) are in favour of TransLink acquiring new funding (39% support new funding alone and 33% reducing some services and acquiring some new funding).

Vancouver, BC – A recent Insights West online poll surveyed 441 Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley adults regarding TransLink’s budgetary issues and found that only two-thirds of residents (66%) are aware of the projected budget shortfall in 2013 and 2014, even when prompted with a short description of the issue in the survey. Even among weekly transit riders, only 69% claim awareness.

Further, among those aware, familiarity with the details of the issue appears to be weak; only 21% of those aware are very familiar, 62% are somewhat familiar and the remaining 18% report only having heard about the issue and are not familiar with it at all. This translates into just 54% of all Metro Vancouver/Fraser Valley adult residents being aware of and familiar (very or somewhat) with the issue and just 14% being aware and very familiar.

Concern about the issue is present, if somewhat muted; while nearly eight-in-ten (79%) indicate they are concerned, only 33% are very concerned (11% are not very concerned, 5% are not at all concerned and 5% are unsure). Concern is only slightly more heightened among weekly TransLink users (84% concerned, 37% very concerned).

When given a choice if TransLink should reduce services or acquire new funding in order to prevent the shortfall, a surprisingly strong level of support exists for new funding sources. Only 12% vote for reducing services in isolation, whereas 72% agree with TransLink acquiring new funding; this group is split between those who favour only acquiring new funding (39%) and those would like to see a balance between reducing some services and acquiring some new funding (33%). The remaining 16% were unsure.

Not surprisingly, weekly transit riders are less likely to be in favour of services being reduced (6%); 84% believe new funding should be acquired, with the bulk of these supporters (58%) voting for new funding only and a minority (26%) for a balance of service cuts and new funding. The remaining 11% were unsure.

But where will this new funding come from? Insights West’s survey sought to understand which sources would be most favoured by BC residents and found that none of the eight possible sources tested achieved majority support.

“Our results suggest that while residents support the idea of added funding for TransLink, they don’t really like any of the specific alternatives for acquiring that funding that have been put forward,” comments Steve Mossop, President of Insights West. “Metro Vancouver Mayors and TransLink have struggled with the funding options for quite some time now, and the public is divided on which funding source is the best option. However, some alternatives are clearly more disliked than others.”

Of the eight, an increase in transit fares (37% support, 15% strongly) and new road or bridge tolls (36% support, 10% strongly), received the highest level of support followed by a new vehicle levy (33% support; 7% strongly). There is relatively less support among residents for a new carbon tax (26% support; 19% strongly), new taxation of vehicles based on distance travelled (26% support; 6% strongly), a new fuel tax (22% support, 5% strongly), and an increase in property taxes (20% support, 4% strongly). An increase in sales tax (17% support; 3% strongly) is the least favoured.

Weekly transit riders are naturally less likely to support the increase in transit fares (19% support; 4% strongly) whereas they are more likely to support all other sources of funding. In particular, support is higher among weekly transit riders for sources that specifically target vehicle owners such as a new vehicle levy (60% support, 17% strongly), new road or bridge tolls (45% support, 15% strongly), a new regional carbon tax (45% support; 11% strongly), a new fuel tax (44% support, 13% strongly) and new taxation of vehicles based on distance travelled (37% support, 11% strongly).

About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary and has eight full-time and five part-time employees.

Results are based on an online study conducted from March 2nd – 13th, 2013, among 441 residents of Metro Vancouver/Fraser Valley aged 18+ who are Your Insights panel members. YourInsights.ca is Insights West’s in-house access panel offering on-demand samples for both clients and research suppliers looking for Western Canadian populations. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for Metro Vancouver/Fraser Valley for age and gender. While statistical margins of error are arguably not applicable to online panels/online studies of this nature, we have assumed that the same margins of error apply as if it were a true unweighted random probability sample with a margin of error of +/- 4.7 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty. To view the detailed data tabulations, click here.

For further information, please contact:

Steve Mossop
President, Insights West
778-891-4762
stevemossop@insightswest.com