Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Transit Service in Metro Vancouver

With a service area larger than the Toronto Transit Commission or the Société de transport de Montréal, TransLink deliveries world-class service to residents of Metro Vancouver.1 Regions throughout the world look to Metro Vancouver for guidance on how transit services should be delivered. Speaking to the ease of use and breadth of services that TransLink provides, New York Transportation Commission Janette Sadik-Khan once said, while riding our transit system, “I feel like Charlie at the Chocolate Factory. I’ve got a golden ticket!”2

Our region’s investment in transit service over the past decade is paying off; of the major transit agencies in North America per capita, only Toronto and New York carry more people on transit than TransLink.3

Region Population Annual Ridership
Annual Ridership
(per capita)
New York City 19,831,858 3,893,854 196
Greater Toronto  5,583,064 1,003,230 180
Metro Vancouver  2,313,328 363,163 157
Calgary 1,120,225 157,325 140
Montreal 3,824,221 433,710 113
Boston 4,640,802 399,594 86
Washington, DC 5,860,342 456,915 78
San Francisco Bay 6,349,948 476,219 75
Chicago 9,522,434 658,203 69
Philadelphia 6,018,800 336,981 56
Los Angeles 13,052,921 620,903 48
Seattle/Puget Sound Region 3,807,148 175,215 46

When compared to regions of similar size, TransLink ridership surpasses even Portland, Oregon which is a transit leader in the US.

Region Population Annual Ridership
Annual Ridership
(per capita) 
Metro Vancouver 2,313,328 363,163 157
Portland 2,289,800 113,728 50
Denver 2,645,209 86,660 33
Pittsburgh 2,360,733 65,464 28
Cleveland 2,063,535 48,153 23
San Antonio 2,234,003 47,147 21
Orlando 2,223,674 29,364 13
Sacramento 2,196,482 27,281 12
Charlotte 2,296,569 26,412 12
Kansas City 2,038,724 16,507 8
Cincinnati 2,128,603 16,357 8

Because of the investment in transit service in Metro Vancouver, frequent transit service is available in all parts of the region. People who live in Langley can use transit to get from the Carvolth Park and Ride to Downtown Vancouver in about an hour. Because of the Canada Line, a one-way trip from Vancouver to Richmond only takes 25 minutes. The Evergreen Line, which will be complete in 2016, will allow people to travel from Coquitlam Town Centre to Lougheed Town Centre in under 15 minutes. From one end of the region to the other, individuals have multiple transportation options.

Other regions are also seeing the benefit of improved transit. For example, voter-approved funding is allowing Sound Transit in the Seattle region to spend $17.8 billion on improving transit over 15 years.4 In Los Angles, voter-approved sales tax will allow $14 billion to be invested in improving service this decade5 with $26.3 billion to be invested in total to improve transit over the next 30 years.6

While Metro Vancouver has shown the world how to deliver transit service, there is currently no funding to improve transit service in the region. Worse still, according to the independent TransLink Commissioner, transit service will slip to 2005 levels over the next decade even while our region’s population continues to grow.7 In fact without new funding, transit service will deteriorate in our region and we will lose our status as a provider of world-class public transportation.


1South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority. 2009. How big is TransLink’s service area? September 17. Accessed December 27, 2013. http://buzzer.translink.ca/2009/09/how-big-is-translinks-service-area/.

2Janette Sadik-Khan, "Learn from New York" (speech, Vancouver, BC, October 19, 2009)

3American Public Transportation Association. 2012. Public Transportation Ridership Report – Fourth Quarter 2012. March 1. Accessed December 27, 2013. http://www.apta.com/resources/statistics/Documents/Ridership/2012-q4-ridership-APTA.pdf. Canadian Urban Transit Association. 2012. CUTA 2012 Transit Fact Book.

4Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority. 2008. Sound Transit 2. July 10. Accessed December 27, 2013. http://www.soundtransit.org/Documents/pdf/st2/transitexapansion/ST2_Plan_web.pdf.

5Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. 2012. 30/10 Initiative. April. Accessed July 29, 2014. http://www.scribd.com/doc/89890814/30-10-Intiative-Project-Acceleration-Methodologies.

6Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. 2008. Proposed One-Half Cent Sales Tax for Transportation - Outline of Expenditure Categories. August 13. Accessed December 27, 2013. http://media.metro.net/measure_R/documents/expenditure_plan.pdf.

7TransLink Commission. 2013. Report of the Regional Transportation Commissioner On TransLink's 2014 Transportation and Financial Base Plan and Outlook. November 29. Accessed December 27, 2013. http://www.translinkcommission.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Base-Plan-Report-final-.pdf.

No comments: