Saturday, May 17, 2008

Kevin Falcon

On Friday both the Langley Times and the Langley Advance carried letters from Kevin Falcon, Minister of Transportation. The letters promise a study of light rail and other options. While South Fraser OnTrax certainly welcomes such a study, we would like to see some time lines for this study, along with a scope of work and methodology.

We hope that this will be an independent study and not any self-fulfilling prophecy that is driven by past decisions. But with public awareness and press coverage for light rail at an all-time high, we can appreciate that the Ministry will need to be open and transparent heading into a provincial election in another year. Not that we are suggesting that he has not been transparent in the past. But well-meaning staff can sometimes sideline forward-thinking solutions.

Some 14+ communities across North America have scrapped plans for rapid bus service (which TransLink is currently embracing going forward). The rapid bus or Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) has failed to attract "choice riders" (people that can drive cars if they wish). So these communities are switching to light rail, which their studies have proved will be attractive to those with cars. Therefore, SFOT is hoping that this promised study will include a look at those communities that have decided to dump rapid bus service.

The Minister mentions farmlands or the ALR. We have a simple solution. Give us service on the old Interurban like just from Langley to Surrey as a test case. Add Abbotsford and other communities when we are approaching proper ridership demands for that. It would be fairly inexpensive as compared with other options, and would begin to solve some problems south of the Fraser.


Light Rail Guy said...

In no way will Kevin Falcon allow an independent study for light rail in the valley. This is because what is good for the valley is also good for Vancouver.

Vancouver wants $150 million/km. to $250 million/km. subways; LRT operating as an interurban could be built for as little as $10 million/km - Just do the math.

Here lies the problem facing the SkyTrain/metro/subway lobby: how long will valley politicos keep acting as stooges for provincial and Vancouver city politicians?

As long as valley politicos, at all three levels of government, keep supporting the status quo (building with SkyTrain light metro), Vancouver will get expensive subways and the valley NADA!

But do I here the winds of change? Will transit be a hot political issue next election? If it is, watch for Falcon to change feathers and especially watch for the next Vancouver stooge, wee Arthur Griffiths, to be the next transportation minister.

You have heard it here first!

Grumpy said...

Where has Rapid Bus worked?

Not Adelaide, where after 15 years of operation, BRT showed no ridership increase when compared to regular bus.

Not Essen, where BRT ridership stagnated when compared to adjacent LRT lines.

Not Ottawa, where ridership plummeted 17% after the BRT busways opened.

The List goes on.

In Adelaide and Ottawa, LRT is now being planned and built. Essen will reconvert BRT to LRT when the equipment becomes life expired.

Just where has BRT worked?