TransLink says it pays employees based on government compensation guidelines, in response to criticism from the Canadian Taxpayers' Federation over salary and policing costs.

The transportation authority's 2012 financial statement shows a 14 per cent increase in the number of employees making over $100,000 dollars.

Jordan Bateman, director of the B.C. Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) says salaries for top officials and transit police are way too high.

The four top executives at TransLink all received pay raises last year, he noted:

  2011 2012 With pension and benefits
CEO Ian Jarvis  $382,954   $394,730   $438,700
COO Doug Kelsey   $329,936   $336,729   $377,054
CFO Cathy McLay   $285,481   $294,877   $330,753
EVP Bob Paddon   $244,699   $273,889   $307,857

"These executives claim that the system is running out of money and that they are a wonderful waste-less, efficient machine and they're giving themselves more and more money," said Bateman. 

"So how do they have the moral authority to ask taxpayers to dig deeper for a $23 billion transit plan when they aren't spending what we're already giving them efficiently?"

While the total bill for staff making less than $75,000 a year stayed consistent at $15.4 million last year, the cost for those making more than $75,000 jumped 18 per cent, from $33.5 million to $39.5 million, the CTF noted.

The numbers include the Transit Police, which saw 58 of its 166 members - 35 per cent - take home more than $100,000 in 2012.

The CTF says two-thirds of the Transit Police amount to "grossly overpaid fare checkers."


But TransLink says its executive compensation structure meets government guidelines.

"Although TransLink is not a Crown corporation, it acts prudently within government compensation guidelines," said spokesperson Jiana Ling.

"We have risen to the challenge of managing costs and fighting inefficiencies. Since 2009, we've reduced the number of executives from 22 to nine," she added.  

Bateman is calling on TransLink to freeze salaries for top executives and to replace transit police with cheaper transit security once the Compass Card comes into effect.  

But Translink is also drawing fire from commuters over changes to the fare system under the Compass Card program.

In 2012, TransLink recorded an overall loss of $9.4 million. The company is now looking to turn SkyTrain stations into commercial hubs as a means to generate revenue.