NEWS

TransLink interim CEO Doug Allen 1 month later

03/14/2015 12:33 EDT | Updated 05/14/2015 05:59 EDT
Doug Allen, took control of Metro Vancouver's transit authority a month ago with one key task as interim CEO: to restore public confidence in TransLink while the organization searches for a new leader.

On the Coast asked Allen for a progress report in advance of the transit referendum ballots, which will start arriving in residents's mailboxes next week.

SkyTrain fare gates are almost three years overdue. When will they be ready?

The U-Pass is well under way with Phase 1. We've got about 1,500 students using the U-Pass now. We've got Phase 2 coming. That will be another 800, and we'll probably have quite a few more when we get through Phase 3.

With respect to the general public, we will do that when we're ready — when we're quite confident that we'll be successful. That's why I'm getting briefed on every aspect now.

Chicago's transit authority held back payments to Cubic, the company responsible for the Compass system, because of technical failures and poor customer service. Have you considered taking that kind of action?

Cubic's done work all over the world, not just Chicago. But the one that I think is closest to us is Sydney, Australia.

They're a little further along than us in terms of implementation, so we're spending some time talking to Sydney to make sure we understand what's ahead.

The other major public trust issue is what you get paid. Do you think executive compensation should be decreased at TransLink?

I think what you find with a lot of public bodies, and we're one of those, when we deal with executive compensation we do a lot of comparisons with a lot of other public bodies in B.C. and with authorities elsewhere in the country.

My sense of that is there's a very good process in place to deal with that, and my job is to ensure, at least during my tenure, that such a process remains.

Where do you think you could save money in the Transit Police budget?

The first week or so I was in, I asked them to see if they could find a way to provide police services on the Evergreen line when it opens in 2016, and their answer was that they could.

I'm expecting them to do it within their current budget and their current labour force.

What governance structure do you think would be ideal for TransLink?

My job is to lead this company and that's what I'm doing, and I'm doing it with the current governance structure as it stands.

I am trying to build public confidence on every front, and it includes that I'm accessible not only to customers and stakeholders but the media. And I am meeting with employees everywhere to get good ideas.

When it comes to efficiency, to you see any wiggle room at all?

All I can say is when I looked at Transit and what it did extracting efficiencies in the past, there's about 240 million in efficiencies extracted in the last 30 years, and my job is to get more. 

If the vote goes no, how will you interpret what that result says about TransLink?

I'm working on running and leading the business.

I'll let the mayor's council and the board deal with the campaign, and I'll let the voters see this as they see fit.

MORE:cbcNews