Canada Line subsidy will be felt for years to come
Charlie Smith in the Georgia Straight forecasts “bad news for taxpayers and transit riders.”
it might take until 2013 before the Canada Line generates 100,000 riders per day
He adds that peak oil will also add to Translink’s woes and rehearses the history of the decision. But what caught my eye was a comment beneath his article
A quick search on the internet shows that the 98 B-Line has approximately 18,000 boardings daily or 9,000 passengers daily:
The annual revenue from the 98 B-Line might be $20 million if you really push it and do some creative accounting, and maybe 10% of this $2,000 million is left over after paying for the light bulbs at the stations, security costs and other operating costs for the RAV Line.
Now I am impressed when a comment not only provides statistics – but also a source and a link where it can be verified. The “briefing note” itself is undated – but it seems to be from around 2003. Now while I applaud the anonymous “Vancouver Resident” for his research skills, the math used is based on a false premise. The Canada Line replaces a lot more bus service than the B-Line. Every express bus from south of the Fraser will be short turned at the new Bridgeport Station. It would not be hard at all to go look up the Translink web page and get the list of truncated services. (I find hard to take that this represents “increased choice” that this release claims: it is a forced transfer.)
· #311 Scottsdale
· #351 Crescent Beach
· #352 Ocean Park
· #354 White Rock Centre / White Rock South
· #601 South Delta / Boundary Bay
· #602 Tsawwassen Heights
· #603 Beach Grove
· #604 English Bluff
· #620 Tsawwassen Ferry
I poked about a bit – including on the one designed to inform about Richmond changes – but I do know that the following routes will cease to run
- #488 Garden City
- #490 Steveston
- #491 One Road
- #492 Two Road
- #496 Railway
These routes appeared at the first sheet change after the B-Line was introduced, as Vancouver passengers were filling all the buses and preventing Richmond commuters from getting home. Some duplicate parts of the B Line route on Granville – some run on Oak Street.
And, of course, there will be some people who used to use the #15 on Cambie itself.
Now all of these buses carry passengers – but I do not know how many and I am not at all sure I would believe Translink’s data – even if I could find it. But certainly a goodly percentage of passengers on the Canada Line on September 7 and thereafter will be people who used these buses. So “Vancouver Resident’s” calculations need to be revised.
But the second assumption about revenue is also misplaced – because you do not pay a fare to ride a bus route or a train line but a transit system – and on weekday daytimes you have to pay more depending on how much of the system you want to use. So there is no way to determine how much revenue the B line now collects – because many people who board the bus have a pass or a transfer.
Thirdly, there will be some people who will now start to use transit because there is now a train. It has to be said that there is a demographic difference in Vancouver between bus passengers and SkyTrain passengers. Males between the ages of 20 and 50 – especially in higher income brackets – who would not be seen dead on a bus will happily board a train. And the new route will make some journeys that previously required transfers – or slow rides – will be faster for some. So that will attract additional transit passengers. Though I will be very surprised indeed if it makes a significant difference to the overall share that transit takes of the region’s transport market. Because that forced transfer – and the routing along Cambie – will also deter some users, and they may well decide to drive instead. Because while the train may be faster than the bus it is the overall journey time (door to door) , its comfort and convenience, that will count.
All of which seems a bit long to add to the comments section on the Straight’s page.