TransLink beefs up security after FareSavers theft

Former shredding contractor employees accused of theft, fraud

A decision to save almost $10,000 may have cost TransLink more than $150,000.

Vancouver's James Gordon Hemenway, 40, and Surrey's Patrick Robert Pearce Parry, 46, are scheduled to appear in Vancouver Provincial Court Jan. 10. The former employees of shredding contractor Urban Impact Recycling are accused of theft and fraud over $5,000.

article continues below

Transit Police announced the charges Oct. 25, claiming 80,000 FareSaver tickets worth $153,000 were stolen from a Richmond warehouse. The alleged offence date was June 30, 2010.

Email correspondence obtained via a Freedom of Information request shows FareDealer administration supervisor Yvonne Scott opted for offsite shredding of 30 skids (weighing 1,500-pounds each) of old FareSavers after the April 1, 2010 fare increase. The cost for a book of 10 concession tickets rose $1 to $17, while threezone tickets were hiked by $4 to $42.

A June 16, 2010 email to Scott said items were previously taken to a secure shredder and placed in a holding area before shredding within 24 to 36 hours. The shredding company issued a letter stating the job was complete and secure. The sender's name was censored by TransLink to protect a third party's business interests.

"The cost of providing this service for shredding 30 skids is $8,220," said the email to Scott. "We discussed possibly having the truck come to our building and provide shredding onsite. The cost for providing this service would be $16,905."

Scott replied: "Please send offsite, we don't have $17K in the budget for this. I assume you use this company regularly (and) are comfortable with the security processes they have in place?"

TransLink issued a June 23, 2010 work order for $7,124. A discrepancy was apparent almost seven months later. "They picked up 29 skids of old product on June 30th, does this mean that they are not all shredded yet?" Scott said in a Jan. 19, 2011 email to a person whose name was censored. "The attached only totals 10 skids was done in Oct., Nov., and Dec."

An April 1, 2011 confidential TransLink Fare Media Destruction Procedures memo said FareSavers and DayPasses are shipped from the United Kingdom to an offsite storage facility.

New security procedures were enacted Jan. 1, 2011 to destroy a large quantity of "live product" after a fare increase. TransLink must now procure an onsite shredding company to verify destruction and a Transit Police officer is required on-scene. "Should onsite shredding not be available, a TransLink employee and a Transit Police member will attend the offsite destruction to verify the destruction and the inventory on-hand against FareDealer records," said the memo. "In no case will shredding begin if the inventory is not reconciled."

TransLink chief operating officer Doug Kelsey did not respond to an interview request.

TransLink took an extra $10.1 million after the FareSavers price increase, but fares accounted for less than a third of its nearly $1.4 billion 2010 revenue. Almost $690 million came from gas, property and parking taxes and the B.C. Hydro levy.

Read Related Topics

Popular Vancouver Courier

Sign Up For Our e-Newsletter!
Find the Vancouver Courier Newspaper