When people make a decision about driving a car, they factor in speed and cost. In urban centres transit can beat out driving because the road network is fully utilized. Also in the South Fraser, where there is no rapid transit, express bus service, and limited regular service, driving will almost always be faster than transit.
Taking transit is almost always cheaper than driving a vehicle, but that’s not how people perceiving it. People do not factor in insurance, maintenance, and many of the other hidden costs of a vehicle; only gas, tolls, and parking costs are factored. In the South Fraser, the cost of travel therefore becomes a tossup between auto and transit. Give the fast that transit is slower and perceived as having no cost benefit, it’s no surprise that transit usage is rock bottom in the sub-region.
How can we fix this imbalance? I have to give credit to our local municipal politicians for seeing the light (so to speak) on transit in our region. I think this article from the North Shore News sums it up pretty nice:
All three North Shore mayors agree that TransLink will eventually have to start tolling the region's transportation routes, including the North Shore's major bridges.On the local level, people seems to agree that transit service needs to be improved and it seem like road pricing is on the table as a funding source. With improved transit service and a perceived increase in the cost of driving a vehicle, I believe that we can improve people and goods movement in the region. It is the province that will determine if we have a balanced transportation system, or if we will travel back to transportation planning in the 1960’s.
"Part of our challenge is (dealing with things like) the Evergreen Line. The SkyTrain is a very expensive way to move people; it's very capital-intensive. The interest rates we pay on previous capital projects like the Canada Line are part of how we got here."