08/12/2013 20:17 EDT | Updated 10/12/2013 05:12 EDT

TransLink seeks to boost SkyTrain retail revenue

TransLink officials say they are looking to turn SkyTrain stations into commercial hubs as a means to generate revenue.

"TransLink is open for business," said Doug Kelsey, TransLink's chief operating officer.

Kelsey agrees that compared to other cities, Vancouver isn't doing enough to maximize transit hubs for their real estate value.

TransLink makes less than $700,000 a year off of its retail spaces, compared to Toronto's $4 million.

"If we can do things together, instead of us running a train system, and a developer doing an independent development, I think it's in the customers' [interest]," Kelsey said.

"You start leveraging the full footprint in the stations and around the stations," he added.

Kelsey says there are already 30 development projects in the pipeline.

Some local politicians, including Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts, have been calling on TransLink to make better use of the real estate around transit hubs.

Earlier this year, the chair of TransLink's Mayors’ Council said he was frustrated with the province's inaction on funding proposals for the public transit system.

Meanwhile, TransLink announced cuts to some of its discount programs as of next year, such as the Employer Pass Program, and free travel for family members of monthly pass holders on Sundays and holidays.

In 2012, TransLink recorded a loss of $9.4 million.