Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Wilderness Committee calls for Rapid Bus Service to Relieve Patullo Congestion Immediately

with 5 comments

Press Release

Vancouver, BC — “The solution to the congestion being caused by last weekend’s Patullo Bridge fire is immediate action to increase capacity on our public transit system,” says Wilderness Committee Healthy Communities Campaigner Ben West. “Public transit moves more people per lane and per dollar spent than cars, and we need to take advantage of that right now.”

The Patullo Bridge between Surrey and New Westminster will not re-open for at least a month, resulting in even more traffic being caught in the bottlenecks leading onto the Port Mann Bridge and the other congested areas throughout the region.

According to the Livable Region Coalition’s Eric Doherty, “TransLink and the City of Surrey could easily put a ‘queue jumper’ lane from beyond 104th Ave. to the Port Mann Bridge approach to allow buses to pass quickly through bottleneck points up the road from the bridge. Temporary transit queue jumper lanes have already been used on Broadway during the Canada line construction.”

“We need rapid bus service throughout the region. Our governments must act cooperatively and quickly to get more buses moving across the Fraser River. We don’t need more studies; we need to stick to our existing regional growth strategy which means investing in public transit immediately and strategically,” said West.

The Livable Region Strategic Plan, Metro Vancouver’s regional growth strategy, called for 1900 buses to be in service by 2006. TransLink’s five year strategic plan called for 1600 buses by 2006 but even now there are only 1100 in operation. The More Buses Now campaign organized by the Canadian Auto Workers union is calling for more buses immediately with 500 more buses in place by 2012. The BC government’s transit plan currently wouldn’t have these buses in place until 2020.

“Now that there are serious concerns about the financing of the Gateway highway project because of the financial crisis it’s more important than ever that we invest our precious tax dollars in transit-based solutions that genuinely help us get around, and are also good for the environment and could be in place many years before new highways could be built,” West said.

Written by Stephen Rees

January 21, 2009 at 9:49 am

Posted in transit

5 Responses

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  1. Of course it’s a good idea in theory, but how successful will it be if TransLink can’t even boost Skytrain numbers in a situation like this? There’s obviously a segment of our society who absolutely refuses to ride transit, and whatever the reason is, adding transit won’t change that fact.

    Gordon Price was on CBC yesterday and was absolutely correct: toll what we have now. Then add transit service.

    Steve

    January 21, 2009 at 10:05 am

  2. No it is the wrong way round. We must provide people with a real alternative first and then start tolling. Monday was, as I point out in another post, the day when people began to realise that they will have to switch modes – not just routes. Translink and the City of New Westminster are helping by finally getting around to increasing parking near a couple of SkyTrain stations, something they have always resisted up to now.

    Stephen Rees

    January 21, 2009 at 11:47 am

  3. First, I doubt RapidBus would attract much ridership as it hasn’t elsewhere. The present problem is that for the vast majority using the Putallo, SkyTrain is not a transit solution.

    For many, SkyTrain only provides a part journey and when one counts long waits waitng for buses, transfer, etc., staying with ones car is a better option – even in gridlock.

    As for tolls – political suicide for any politicians to promote this and as Stephen has pointed out, we must have a real alternative first or what the car owner percieves as a real alternative. Study after study in transit friendly Europe also points to the fact that a recognised and use-friendly transit alternatives must be in operation before one adds tolls, congestion charges etc.

    zweisystem

    January 21, 2009 at 12:21 pm

  4. While it is true there is a segment of the population that will refuse to use transit, this segment is relatively small. Probably around 20%. For the rest of people, they will use whatever works for them in there daily lives. SkyTrain numbers did increase by 22%, which is significant.

    Burnaby is a good example of this. Transit commuting increased from 16% to 25% between 1996 and 2006, from 13,000 to 23,000 people per day.

    Richard

    January 21, 2009 at 1:39 pm

  5. Veolia transport, one of the biggest transit management company in the world (I am not working for them neither do I own shares) has something called transportation-on-demand check: http://www.veolia-transport.com/en/transport-innovation/easybus.aspx for people who don’t live near a transit line. I read once that some commuters use that service daily. This would be efficient for all parties concerned. Yet in the case of an emergency like the closure of a bridge or major road even them wouldn’t likely be able to help an unusual number of last minute customers as they only have so many vans and drivers..their site has info on all their transportation systems (even bikes now!) and is quite interesting. I got to know them because they have managed since the late 19th century the transit system in Bordeaux, where I used to live (they may loose the contract this year to Keolis, another transit management company, owned by the French National railways)

    Red frog

    January 21, 2009 at 2:29 pm


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