Bloggers offer expertise and research on two very hot topics

TransLink and rising gas prices are the top of mind issues for many Lower Mainland residents.

One of the great opportunities afforded by the internet is the chance for people with expertise and research capabilities to put forward for all to see some very interesting information that would otherwise be ignored.

Daryl Dela Cruz, a 19-year-old Surrey resident who is at present studying in Japan, posted a very interesting study of the salaries paid to transit CEOs in other regions. He pointed out that, in Metro Toronto for example, there are several transit systems which operate quite independently of each other. When all the CEO’s salaries are taken together, the high amount collected by TransLink’s CEO don’t seem quite so outrageous.

The same is the case in Seattle, and in addition to paying out plenty to leaders, the Greater Seattle transit system isn’t nearly as seamless as ours is.

I have run into this firsthand. It’s hard as a rider to go from Snohomish Country, a very fast-growing area just north of Seattle, to downtown Seattle by bus — because there are two completely different transit systems.

In addition, Sound Transit offers regional services, which do connect to the bus operations in the various counties. However, because they are all run very independently, and have their own CEOs and structures, there are some significant inefficiencies.

TransLink, by contrast, follows up on the example set by all its predecessors, going back to the B.C. Electric Railway, by offering a regional service that transcends municipal boundaries. Its only failing in that regard is its lack of involvement in the Fraser Valley, where there is a separate bus system with one obscure connection to TransLink buses in Aldergrove. West Coast Express does go to Mission, and Mission contributes to its costs, but that’s the extent of TransLink service to the Fraser Valley.

Readers who are interested in finding out more about salaries paid to various CEOs can find his blog at https://darylvsworld.wordpress.com/2015/02/23/referendum-myths-translink-exec-pay//

A follow-up to last week’s column on gas prices also involves an enlightening blog.

Reader Blair King is a chemist who has published a very perceptive blog on the reasons that gas prices often do not seem to reflect the ups and down of crude oil prices.

It can be found here: http://achemistinlangley.blogspot.ca/2015/02/a-primer-on-gasoline-and-diesel-prices.html.

In addition, he pointed out to me in a Twitter conversation that in the Lower Mainland, some of the gasoline sold at retail outlets is bought on the spot market, and thus the wholesale price is higher than it would otherwise be. By contrast, he says that much of the gas retailed in the Bellingham area is bought via long-term contracts, and thus wholesales at a lower price. The fact that there are several major refineries in northwest Washington may also have something to do with that.

Some of the gas we buy in this area is refined at those U.S. refineries.

He explains those factors very well. It doesn’t make me too confident that we will see lower gas prices at the pump anytime soon.