Monday, December 20, 2010

Fraser Valley Transit Study Released - Transit Service in Abbotsford Sucks!

Without much fanfare, the Strategic Review of Transit in the Fraser Valley Report was released last Thursday. For those that remember, Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon promised in 2008 to study the Interurban from Delta to Chilliwack. This changed to a long-term study of transit in the Fraser Valley Regional District. The report does not recommend any rail based transit beyond the West Coast Express in Mission. What does the report recommend? Express Buses that connect Abbotsford to Metro Vancouver. I invite you to read the full report for the list of local community transit investments, but I wanted to point on some key findings.

First is the amount of transit service hours in the Fraser Valley. The Fraser Valley has the least amount of service hours of any large region in BC. In Kelowna and Kamloops, there is 1.75 service hours of transit per capita. In Metro Vancouver, there is 2.5 service hours per capita. The Fraser Valley has 0.4 service hours per capita. Of course, you get what you pay for. While the average taxpayer contributes $26 dollar per year to transit via property tax in Kelowna and Kamloops, in Abbotsford they pay $14 and in Chilliwack $9. Transit is cost shared almost 50/50 with the Province, so you can do that math. In Metro Vancouver where there is no help from the Province, the average taxpayer contributes $130 per year to transit. So with only $30 of transit tax per capita in Abbotsford, it's no surprise that transit sucks there.

Step one is for the local government to bite the bullet and pay for their fair share of transit. We can talk about the rest of the recommendation if that happens.

Also interesting are the travel patterns. There is a strong link between Langley and Abbotsford. In fact, it is stronger than the link between Vancouver and Langley.

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