10/17/2012 08:24 EDT | Updated 12/17/2012 05:12 EST

Transit unions argue savings found in TransLink audit will worsen service

VICTORIA - Several transit unions are panning a provincial audit of Metro Vancouver's transportation authority that has identified $41 million more in potential annual savings.

B.C. Transportation Minister Mary Polak released the TransLink audit Tuesday saying the additional cash boosts savings to $139 million per year but said that's still not enough to meet future expansion needs.

Officials with TransLink's two largest unions say none of its members were consulted for the audit and argue the proposed savings will only lead to worse bus, SkyTrain and SeaBus service.

Canadian Auto Workers Local 111 President Don MacLeod, who represents more than 3,500 transit operators, contends the audit's recommendations will mean fewer buses running on fewer routes.

CAW Local 2200 president Joe Elworthy says SeaBus and maintenance workers are already losing 60 positions, and that's before the recommendations have even been considered.

The regional transit authority has been developing a 30-year transportation strategy and its officials and local mayors are still determining how to pay for it.