Thursday, August 17, 2017

In Conversation: Third Annual Transit Report Card on BIV Radio

2017 Transit Report Card of Major Canadian Regions

Earlier this week, I chatted with Kirk LaPointe and Tyler Orton on Business In Vancouver Radio about the third annual Transit Report Card of Major Canadian Regions which was released on Monday.

We talked about the metrics in the report card, and how transit service in Canada’s major regions compared. The conversation shifted focus to transit service in Metro Vancouver, and how counter to popular conception, TransLink is actually one of the most efficient agencies evaluated in the report card as evident by its Passenger Trip Intensity score. The higher the score, the more closely aligned transit service provided is to demand.

We also chatted about the importance of the bus network in Metro Vancouver, and that while Surrey LRT and the Broadway SkyTrain extension are the focus of attention, more than $550 million is also being proposed for investment in capital improvements and operating costs over a 10-year period to improve bus service, and increase the number of B-Line routes. This has begun with phase one of the Mayors’ plan now being rolled out.

You can listen to the whole interview on the Roundhouse Radio website. The conversation starts around the 35 minute mark.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Evening Event Coming to Downtown Langley: Dueling Pianos and Local Craft Beer

Dueling Pianos in the Plaza

Downtown Langley is the heart of our community. One of the areas that both Langley City and the Downtown Langley Business Association have been enhancing is the number of events and activities happening in our core. Whether it is one of the many Saturday events such as the Arts Alive festival or the McBurney Plaza Summer Series, or the weekday Lunch & Lounge, there is an ever increasing list of positive things to do during the day.

By programming our public spaces, it not only builds a strong sense of community, but reduces negative activity (at a fraction of the cost of increased policing.)

While events and activities are increasing during the day in our downtown, the evening is a different story. The City and the merchants are aware of this, and I’m happy to announce that on Saturday, September 9th, an evening event is coming to McBurney Plaza!

Join us in McBurney Plaza for a memorable evening of live entertainment, craft beer, local wine, and delicious street food. Take in the soulful music of Sean Michael Simpson after a quick stop at the Vagabond Bar Truck. Keep your eye out for award winning Magician Travis Bernhardt who will be roaming through the crowd to give you a front row seat to his jaw dropping illusions. Be sure to find a spot near the main stage for the main event, a dueling pianos show, Vegas style! This all request show includes pop, rock, country and comedy. It’s sure to have you singing along to all your favourite songs.

Dueling Pianos in the Plaza is a 19+ event. To purchase your ticket, visit https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/dueling-pianos-in-the-plaza-tickets-36904595639.

All ticket sales proceeds to benefit Langley City Sports - Activities for Children.

This event takes place from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm, and will be the first of a series of evening events that are in the works for our downtown.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Transit Report Card released. Montreal transit continues to lead in the nation; Toronto and Ottawa transit grades drop

2017 Transit Report Card of Major Canadian Regions

The third annual Transit Report Card of Major Canadian Regions was released today, and the results are mixed. While some regions increased their transit grades, other regions saw their overall score drop.

Transit service in Canada’s major regions has not been able to keep up with population growth. Under-investment by all levels of government has resulted in overcrowding in some areas, and lack of service in others.

“Whether it's elementary school students or transit systems, by the time you get three years of grades you can begin to see the trends. Nathan Pachal has again provided - for Canada's transit networks - the comparisons, the grades and the trends,” says Gordon Price, Fellow at the SFU Centre for Dialogue.

Service hours per capita, transit service per person, has been declining steadily over the last three years reported. The good news, though, is that transit agencies have been doing more with less. Passenger Trip Intensity, a measure of efficiency, has been increasing year over year.

Transit service in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area and the Ottawa region received “C” grades, dropping from their previous “B” grade. In Toronto, this was due to a drop in transit services hours per capita. In Ottawa, it was due to a decline in Passenger Trip Intensity.

Transit agencies have optimized service every year since the annual transit report card was first published, but there is only so much juice you can squeeze from an orange.

Recently, the federal government and provincial governments have increased investment in renewing transit throughout the country. With this renewed investment, the negative trend should start to reverse.

"Great transit is crucial for building happy, healthy regions,” says Charles Montgomery, award-winning Canadian writer and urbanist. “The Transit Report Card provides a critical view of the state of Canadian transit service. It's a call to action for better transit service in our bigger regions.”

Public transit drives economic growth and prosperity; it also makes people happier and healthier. As shown in this year’s report card, transit service in Canada needs renewed investment.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Langley City getting good value for money from TransLink in 2016

One of the common comments I hear from people in Langley is that transit service is subpar. While transit service is currently subpar in the Township of Langley, especially in Willoughby and Walnut Grove, the same can’t be said in Langley City.

Langley City had a population of 25,888 in 2016, and is served by 14 bus routes. One route, the 502 which runs along Fraser Highway, is part of the frequent transit network. This means 15 minute or better frequency all-day, every-day, with 5 minute frequency during peak periods. Most other routes through Langley City run every 30 minutes, with more frequent service during peak period.

A map of the bus routes in and around Langley City.

To put this into perspective, my hometown of Vernon with a population of 48,073 is served by 8 transit route with the most frequent routes running every 30 minutes.

In 2016, Langley City residents contributed $2.7 million in property tax to TransLink. TransLink also collected a portion of gas tax. While I don’t have the gas tax numbers from Langley City, it is likely in the neighbourhood of $3 million based on the ratio of taxation collected by the agency. So about $6 million in revenue was collected from Langley City residents in 2016. What services did we receive?

Langley City received $759,313 directly from TransLink in 2016. This money was used to maintain the major road network which includes 200 Street, and to fund portions of other projects such as 203 Street.

The follow list shows the transit routes that serve Langley City and their 2016 operating costs:
320: $3.2 million
342: $1.9 million
364: $1.6 million
395: $0.4 million
501: $2.5 million
502: $4.3 million
503: $2.4 million
531: $1.3 million
595: $1.2 million
C60: $0.3 million
C61: $0.3 million
C62: $0.7 million
C63: $0.3 million
C64: $0.3 million

This totals to around $20 million in bus service provided through Langley City. These routes also serve the Township, Surrey, and White Rock. The numbers shows that we are getting a good deal when it comes to transit service through Langley City.

A new Fraser Highway B-Line is coming in the next few years which will go to Downtown Langley. Rail rapid transit is also in the works to Downtown Langley.

Langley City is a regional centre in Metro Vancouver, and this is evident in the level of transit service we receive in our community.