Thursday, April 03, 2008

Vancouver BC Translink : Lousy Bus service, Skytrain service

Where's the improved bus and Skytrain service now that we're paying higher fares???
Skytrain passengers walk beside tracks to Columbia Station after skytrain breakdown
TransLink reports an $87 million surplus in their 2007 financial report, giving the transit authority an accumulated surplus fund of $408 million. But don't expect any break in fares anytime soon.

Dale Parker, Chair of the TransLink board of directors, says the excess money is already alloted for the future. "We have to avoid thinking about this as a 'surplus,'" because that fund is already spoken for, either in terms of sustaining the expansion TransLink has put in place or starting the next round of transit service and road improvements to meet demands over the coming years.

TransLink says additional revenue outweighed the rising cost of operating transit last year. The report shows $301 million has been added to the surplus fund since 2005. TransLink says they'll be drawing on their surplus fund (currently at $408 million) beginning in 2009.

Translink says revenue increased as more riders bought two and three zone passes, because of the high cost of gas. Additional revenue was also generated by parking related taxes bringing in $5 million more than budgeted for.

Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan says TransLink has a bad habit of charging more tax than necessary. "That happens over and over again, I mean they've had surpluses in the past you'll remember because they got a windfall in the rise in property assessments."

Corrigan also says if some of the surplus was due to undelivered service , that's not really a saving because the public was inconvienced.

FIDO Overcharging on Fido to Fido Service? Ripoff alert

After receiving a couple of huge FIDO cell phone bills recently, I phoned customer service to inquire about some calls that were listed on the statements. I have the cheap 50 minutes + free Fido-to-Fido (F2F) plan. Apparently I was charged an extra $170 for calls to other local Fido users that should have been free.

After spending 30 minutes on the phone to FIDO Customer Service going over each call that should have been free, I was told that YES, they do have a technical problem with overcharging for Fido to Fido calls, and YES they are working to find a solution, and NO you will not automatically get a refund unless you phone them up and basically do what I did, and go through each phone number that you were billed for to find out if they were a FIDO customer.

Anybody else run into a similar problem? Or have you even noticed that you're being overcharged?

You can file a complaint with the CRTC HERE ,

but it doesn't look like they'll be very helpful, as they suggest discussing problems with your provider first. Maybe a class action lawsuit would be the best thing to resolve FIDO's service problems...


How to make Paneer: Indian cheese you can easily make at home

Paneer is an Indian cheese which is used in many recipes for appetizers, main courses and desserts. It does not melt when heated. Paneer is very easy to make at home. Try this easy to follow recipe. Using whole milk, paneer contains about 20 - 25% fat. (To make a low fat version, try using 2% milk). Unlike most cheeses, paneer is also low sodium, unless you add salt when making it...

Here's another instructional video on how to make Paneer (but use lemon or lime juice instead of vinegar!):