Monday, July 10, 2017

More details on transit expansion plan for Metro Vancouver. Moving forward will require province to provide long-term, stable funding.

During the recent provincial election campaign, the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation —responsible for approving TransLink’s plans, funding, and major projects— launched a #CureCongestion 90-Day Action Plan to get the provincial government to confirm stable, long-term funding for transit expansion and other regional transportation priorities in Metro Vancouver.

The key items that the Mayors’ Council wants to see action on by the province are:

  1. Formal approval of funding for Pattullo Bridge Replacement Project by the end of July
  2. Formal approval of 40% provincial funding for 10-Year Vision by September
  3. Formal elimination of referendum requirement for regional transportation funding by September
  4. New Development Levy for transportation approved in the fall 2017 legislative session
  5. Develop fair regional funding strategy to provide long-term stability for regional transportation projects by the end of September

Transportation and transit was one of the major issues during the last election campaign, and I expect that the top four action items will occur. The big question is will the NDP government approve a long-term funding strategy to pay for regional transportation projects in Metro Vancouver, or will history repeat itself? Previous NDP and Liberal governments have not approved long-term, stable funding.

TransLink’s 10-Year Vision is being delivered in three-phases. Phase one is currently underway, and phase two is currently in development. The Mayors’ Council has recently released more information about the proposed phase two transit service expansion plan.

The following table shows an outline of transit service expansion as currently being delivered and planned.

10-Year Vision Transit Expansion Plan. Select table to enlarge.

In the currently funded phase one, TransLink is delivering 210,000 new hours of bus service in 2017, 36,000 additional hours in 2018, and 148,000 additional hours in 2019. As part of phase two, the plan is for TransLink to deliver 139,000 more bus service hours in 2020 and 80,000 in 2021. This is a significant increase in bus service for Metro Vancouver.

Around 25% of those additional bus service hours are just to deal with increased congestion in our region. These hours will help maintain existing bus schedules. This shows a real example of the cost of congestion in Metro Vancouver.

HandyDART service will also see increased service. This year, HandyDART trips expanded by 85,500 or 8% over 2016. This will increase an additional 4% in 2017, followed by an additional 3% ever year. Phase two will ensure HandyDART expansion continues until at least 2021.

The SkyTrain system is aging and needs to be modernized. Phase two continues the work required to keep the system in a state of good repair. In phase one, 28 Expo/Millennium Line car have been purchased. 22 Canada Line car will be purchased in phase one, increasing the size of the fleet by 1.5 times. A new West Coast Express train-set will also be procured.

Phase two will see an additional 86 Expo/Millennium Line SkyTrain cars being purchased which will support the proposed Millennium Line expansion to Arbutus.

Our region has been promised long-term, stable transit and transportation funding for almost two decades. By the end of this year, we will know if this provincial government intends to keep its promise to help improve transit service in our region.


Stephen Rees said...

In the table, SkyTrain cars are listed (with MLTB)

What is MLBE?

Nathan Pachal said...

It's Millennium Line Broadway Expansion to Arbutus