Thursday, June 1, 2023

Overcrowding a Growing Concern. More Transit Service Needed.

At today's TransLink Mayors' Council on Regional Transportation meeting, we received an update from Kevin Quinn, the organization's CEO.

People at King George SkyTrain Station. Select the image to enlarge.

Back in 2019, transit ridership was at crush-level loads on many transit routes throughout the region; we couldn't keep up with the demand. Well, transit ridership continues to climb in Metro Vancouver, and overcrowding on many routes is occurring again.

The following chart shows transit ridership growth in our region, looking at weekday, weekend, and total journeys.

Transit ridership 2019 to present. Select the chart to enlarge.

In the South of Fraser, which includes Surrey, White Rock, Langley City, and the Township of Langley, ridership is at 115% of 2019 levels. You can see this if you've taken any major bus routes in Langley or Surrey.

Map of percentage of routes overcrowded in peak PM travel periods. Select the map to enlarge.

As shown, overcrowding is a significant concern for routes in Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, and the South of Fraser.

The following image shows an example of what an overcrowded standard 40' long bus is per TransLink's service standards.

Example of overcrowding on a standard 40' bus. Select the image to enlarge.

This continued growth in transit ridership is why the Mayors' Council is working on a new 10-year transit investment vision for Metro Vancouver. Mayors from throughout the region were recently in Ottawa lobbying the feds for more funding for transit. We are also working with the provincial government to get a new deal for transit funding, as we know that the gas tax, a significant transit funding source, is declining. At the local level, we will also need to invest more in property tax and fees we receive from development to help pay for expanding and operating transit services.

The only way we can keep our region moving, as our density and population increases, is to invest in walking, cycling, and transit services. While we have our work cut out for us, I know that the feds, province, and mayors are committed to delivering increased transit service for people in Metro Vancouver.

No comments: