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TransLink mayors vote for $130-million, middle-of-the-bus-lane plan

October 23rd, 2009 · 22 Comments

Just an update for those not watching other media, but this is what came out of the TransLink Mayors Council meeting today as reported in advance by the region’s hardest-working reporter, Jeff Nagel, and today by the Vancouver Sun’s transportation reporter, Kelly Sinoski.

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  • Joseph Jones

    Higher transit fares = Increasing the disincentive to leave the car at home – especially with all that “free” curbside parking

    How green is my city?

  • FBT

    Joseph,

    If transhit can’t make a break-even business without taxpayer subsidies then people should stay in their cars. The majority of those that live in the lower mainland are quite sick and tired of hearing about their money woes and tax plans.

    There are many other ways to reduce ghgs making the city greener, especially since the majority of ghgs don’t even come from cars.

    2/3 of all ghgs come from other sources, yet cars and the people that drive them are the ones being blamed.

    You’d accomplish a lot more by going after the 66% instead of the 33% but that would get in the way of your ideology now wouldn’t it.

  • Otis Krayola

    FBT,

    How about we cut the subsidies to auto travel, too?

    It bears repeating that TransLink provides regional roads and bridges as well as transit.

  • “If transhit can’t make a break-even business without taxpayer subsidies then people should stay in their cars.”

    (cough) auto industry? (cough)

  • Zweisystem

    A different point of view.

    Metro mayors caved in to TransLink’s slick propaganda campaign, to bad because TransLink and the provincial government will forever treat municipal politicians as mindless patsies. It was time to draw a line in the sand, but regional politicians just didn’t have the stomach for it and continue to be just tax and spend politicians who don’t care about the future.

    It was time to say just NO and let the chip fall where they may! The problem with TransLink isn’t money, it is an ineffectual bureaucracy stuck in the past, squander millions of dollars following a largely discredited transit philosophy based on a few expensive light-metro lines being force fed by buses. Doesn’t work – doesn’t attract the all important motorist from his car. But, no fear, TransLink will continue with this drivel until the public finally compel politicians to change it of be forced out of office.

    Doing the same thing over and over again and wishing for different results has been defined as madness.

    Knowing that they are dealing with rubes, TransLink will be back demanding more money faster than you can say sucker!

  • Not to be too tangential, but…..

    Mr. Nagel’s prodigious output is absolutely amazing.

    .

  • FBT

    I was responding to Joe’s comment about making the city greener.

    That can be accomplished without forcing people out of their cars and into transit.

    Maybe, just maybe you eco-fascists could stay on point but then I guess you may have to admit you’re all full of shit.

  • Otis Krayola

    FBT,

    Maybe if you’d stayed on point, instead of including your opening paragraph screed.

  • “That can be accomplished without forcing people out of their cars and into transit.”

    Nobody is forced to do anything. Some choices are more expensive than others. Will it be T-bone or ground round for dinner tonight? Make a choice, pay the price. But, if you say transit users must shoulder the entire cost of the service, then the same must apply to auto users right? Then we can start to charge pedestrians to use the sidewalk, and cyclists can pay a toll for the few bike lanes in the city… or we can accept that transportation is overall a public good and prioritize our funding schemes according to some kind of cost-benefit analysis that actually does deliver something resembling an equitable solution that takes into account all aspects of a transportation choice.

  • Zweisystem

    The problem with our current transit program is more basic than many want to admit to and certainly TransLink and its well heeled bureaucrats will no admit to.

    In the 21st century, public transit is seen as a products and the product must be appetizing to the consumer. If the ‘transit’ product is poor, the consumer or transit rider will not buy.

    TransLink’s product is extremely poor, so poor that despite the taxpayer now spending over $8 billion on SkyTrain/light-metro (RAV is not SkyTrain) TransLink’s modal share remains at 11% to 12% of the regional population.

    SkyTrain’s high ridership is from the vast volumes of bus passengers cascaded onto the metro; over 80% of SkyTrain’s ridership first takes a bus to the metro.

    Decades ago, this was thought as good transit planning, but not today, where this is now seen as sucking money away from the bus system, when fares are apportioned between bus and metro.

    This also means that TransLink, despite the money spent on light-metro and their own hype and hoopla, has failed to get a noticeable modal shift from car to transit.

    It is a well known fact that motorists just do not leave their cars to take a bus and especially if they are forced to transfer to a metro.

    Then there is the U-Pass, which was conceived to put bums on empty bus seats in Seattle, which is sucking money away from the transit system and creating peak hour chaos on the light-metro and buses. This again hardly will attract the all important motorist from the car.

    So here we have a transit system, with a top-heavy bureaucracy, operating a very expensive metro system which is subsidized by over $230 million annually, which offers deep discounted fares on a at-capacity transit system, which the motorist will not take.

    This is a recipe for a major fiasco and local mayors caved in in correcting this. Sorry to say, by not forcing TransLink’s hand now, means a far more worse transit fiasco after 2010!

    Throwing money at TransLink just postpones the inevitable.

  • FBT

    Chris,

    Yes bike users should pay…..for licenses, registration and insurance. When you do, then you can start comparing apples to apples and stop all that whining that constantly comes from your lobby group.

    Right now if we were to add up the total cost of projects for rapid transit and compare the total to highway work, it would be roughly the same – so to try and say car users are getting far more taxpayer subsidies is not being truthful.

    Those mega transportation projects are also building bike lanes for you folks so remember that when you complain about a new Port Mann or about the Golden Ears bridge in your next post.

    Again, the green movement can’t actually tell the truth because then they’d have to back off all of the extremism and fear-mongering you’re doing.

  • SV

    Does that mean if I insure my bike ICBC will replace it when it’s stolen? Or that the cops will keep a look out when it’s stolen?
    Awesome.

  • East Vancouverite

    How much of the policing budget, fire and ambulance budgets go towards serving the automotive mode as compared to the transit, walking, and cycling modes?

    Those are hidden subsidies that support one mode disproportionately more than others.

    With regards to the transit component of the $130 million dollar Translink plan, I find it appalling that there is now effectively no plan to expand the transit system beyond what is currently on order or in operation. We need SkyTrain to UBC, a whole whack more buses, the streetcar, more Westcoast Express service, Seabus service, SkyTrain capacity, etc. The list is as long as your arm.

    Why not earmark the new money raised by the further planned increases in the carbon tax for each region’s public transportation body? That will be BC Transit in most regional districts, and obviously Translink in ours, and that source of funding could do a lot of good by making actual progress in reducing our environmental footprint while creating jobs and strengthening our local economices.

  • East Vancouverite

    Also, I will enthusiastically licence and insure my bicycle with ICBC as soon as the opportunity exists.

  • “Yes bike users should pay…..for licenses, registration and insurance.”

    At what age will these rules go into effect? 6 years, 10, 16, 21? People of all those ages… and older, use bicycles.

    Unworkable, and unnecesary IMO. Bikes aren’t cars, no point in trying to make cyclists pay good money for a window-dressing program to satiate extremists’ desire to punish sustainable transportation choices.

  • “Right now if we were to add up the total cost of projects for rapid transit and compare the total to highway work, it would be roughly the same – so to try and say car users are getting far more taxpayer subsidies is not being truthful.”

    Suggesting that roadwork is the only cost society pays for car usage is erroneous.

  • “Yes bike users should pay…..for licenses, registration and insurance. When you do, then you can start comparing apples to apples and stop all that whining that constantly comes from your lobby group.”

    Bikes and cars aren’t apples and apples to begin with. Whining is in the eye of the beholder. One might suggest that the car drivers who whinge while enjoying subsidies and preferential treatment across the board are the real whiners.

  • Otis Krayola

    @East Vancouverite,

    It is unfortunate that the provincial ‘Liberal’ government clings to the line that the carbon tax is revenue neutral. They simply cut revenues (taxes) elsewhere in a foolish zero-sum game.

    Would that regions could access the ‘levy’ to offset the staggering capital costs associated with improved infrastructure.

    Progress thwarted by ideology.

  • SV

    “Progress thwarted by ideology”

    Forget “Beautiful British Columbia” I suggest that once the Olympics are over that BC license plates should include this slogan.

  • Cars and guns are regulated and licensed because they are a danger to other people. Motorists kill 400, and injured 28,000 people in BC every year. The health care costs must be enormous.

    Careless cyclists are mainly a danger to themselves thus they require much less regulation. Already with the VPD ticketing for helmets on the Seaside Path, we are looking more and more like a nanny state.

  • Blaffergassted

    Don’t count on SkyTrain or any LRT going to UBC in the next two decades.

    Their new Campus Plan – to be finalized soon – calls for only modest growth over the next 20 years, and it’s not enough to justify a new expensive transit line.

    The 99 B-Line will have to suffice.

  • MB

    Penny foolish, pound tragic.

    No one in power has their eye on the carbon clock. Nor on the approaching sinkhole of maintaining petroleum addiction in the face of increasing prices.

    The money being sunk into Gateway would finance TransLink’s missing 450M for at least six years. And we’d have measureable progress in stabilizing emmisions and shifting urban design and planning to a more human scale.