Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Please Do Not Take Transit

Before you attack us, we here at South Fraser OnTrax are not saying this, TransLink is! Yes, the very people that should be advocating for people to take transit have a new advertising campaign that was written up in today's Vancouver Sun. Maybe the ad campaign that encourages people to carpool and cycle to help them deal with high gasoline prices is related to our overcrowded and inadequate transit services? Some quotes from the article...

"Our problem -- and it's a nice one to have -- is that people want more than what we have to give and we're trying to expand the system."

Ridership: With the region's limited supply of roads and expanding population, one of TransLink's prime goals is to provide alternatives to the single-occupant vehicle. Between 2003 and 2007, the number of revenue passengers per capita, a standard measure in the transit field, grew 13.4 per cent. Last year, for every resident of the region, 76.5 paying trips were recorded.

Satisfaction: Overcrowding and insufficient service were the reasons, according to TransLink, that last year less than half of riders surveyed rated the system as "good to excellent." In 2004, the average rating out of 10 was 7.5 and that declined to 7.1 in 2007.

So of the people using the system, many we know don't have cars, rate the system 7.5 out of 10. Just imagine what the people with vehicles that TransLink's primary goal is to coax them out of their cars think of the system!

TransLink should be providing the product that the public wants. In the South Fraser region we want true light rail to connect us to our other SF neighbours, with a connection to SkyTrain. The drivers of single occupancy vehicles (SOV's) want this as well. Smart marketing would be to give the people the product they desire. Build it and the SOV operators will come. Use these advertising dollars to complete the studies to make that happen.

Today's Stephen Rees's Blog may provide you with some additional insight and thoughts. Stephen mentions the Golden Ears Bridge and how it leaped ahead on the project list thanks to tolling. But this project also jumped over the replacement of the 100 year old railroad bridge in New Westminster to an inter-modal bridge that would ease heavy rail freight traffic in the South Fraser and possibly allow for high-speed Amtrak passenger rail service to Seattle. The replacement of the Pattullo Bridge was also bypassed.

The New West rail bridge and the Pattulo were listed as #1 and #2 priority infrastructure projects under the Gateway plans. You can access massive amounts of reports and PowerPoint presentations on these bridge replacements on the net from 2000 - 2008. So if Gateway is so critical to our success, why have these two bridges been ignored and why haven't we focused on increasing passenger rail success by replacing this New Westminster rail bridge with a modern inter-modal one?

Paul Hillsdon has some great Interurban information on his Blog. Check it out!


Light Rail Guy said...

Don't take transit, from TransLink, sounds like the agency has completely failed as a transit provider. But, hey - RAV/Canada Line will take 100,000 cars; or 200,000 cars of the road, depending who you talk to.

TransLink is so incompetent, they could not even plan for an outhouse, let understand its function.

Joe Zaccaria said...

It's certainly a disjointed system as TransLink's mandate is to also promote car pooling and cycling. But they have no real budget to make those things happen in a big way like in other places. These places invest in the vans or partner with private companies to provide a service. They build complete roads instead of bike lanes that abruptly end take you nowhere. But it all takes an investment for it to work.