Stephen Rees's blog

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

Transit Reliability

with 27 comments

I had the experience today of what “reliability” means in transit – and why connections (or transfers if you prefer) are so critical. The issue is not so much overall journey time, though that is of course significant, as the predictability of the arrival time. How much time does one allow for a journey, especially if there is an appointment at the other end, and how much slack do you build into your schedule in case things go sideways.

Actually time is significant when it comes to mode choice. The journey I am about to describe is one that I make regularly by car – and I normally allow 30 minutes each way. Of course there is a variation of plus or minus five minutes depending on traffic, and some times of day are worth avoiding – or checking with AM730 before deciding a route. At one time it seemed to me that the freeway was faster – but the congestion at the Steveston Highway intersection, as well as the inevitable line-up for the bridge doubled that variability factor. Arterial streets may be slower but they are more dependable.

The big doubt factor at present is the potential for icy road surfaces. Having spun out once before I am now much more reluctant to drive when the temperature drops. Today it turned out I need not have been concerned, but having written so much about transit I felt that it was a good reason to test some of the theories. In general, the need to include other stops on the way (pick up some milk, collect the shoes from the repairer, drop off the DVDs at the library – that kind of thing) make transit even less attractive. For one thing, all it takes is somebody slow ahead of you at the check out and your transfer expires.

I find making connections irksome. One on a trip I can deal with, two is near my tolerance level. The Translink real time bus map is a boon – at least when starting the journey. Of course it helps if you are close to the bus stop. Knowing that the bus is on its way is one thing: seeing it depart from the stop just as you arrive breathless at the corner is something else. If you able to use the “where’s my bus” feature on Translink’s web site  then at least you know where the bus is. However, to be able to do that on a mobile device you need something other than a Nokia smart phone: I am told that Androids and iOS work well.

King ED at Valley

I know I left the apartment at 10:00 and the bus was due at 10:09 but the faresaver validation expires 11:48 – which, with 90 minutes validity, makes boarding time 10:22. I checked the schedule and the service is supposed to be every ten minutes 10:00, 10:09, 10:20. So it seems I just missed the 10:09 and the following bus was a bit late – and got later due to extended dwell times at two stops to deploy the ramp. Similarly getting down to the lower level platform at King Edward – after crossing both Cambie and King Edward, then waiting while an airport train went through, made the connection the longest the schedule allows.

Not my bus

It is a fair trek from the Canada Line to the #403/#404 stop outside Richmond Centre or “Brighouse Stn Bay 7” as Translink would have it. I did that quite quickly as this bus was waiting there – and I hoped it would be the #403. Of course, with all the muck on the back of the bus obscuring the route number I was almost aboard before I determined it was a #410. And another one of those came and went before the #403 showed up. I got to No 4 and Steveston at 11:30 – or a ninety minute door to door trip compared to the Translink trip planner’s estimate of an hour (stop to stop).

Brighouse Station is the terminus of the Canada Line but is still an on street exchange around the intersection of Cook and No 3. The southbound connection – again crossing two busy streets – is around 350 metres, as the bus stop is far side of the intersection and is long enough for two arctics from the B Line days.

Coming back I did much better. I left the house as soon as I saw the bus pass Shell Road on the map (which meant I simply cut power to the PC and did not shut down properly) so I arrived at the stop as the bus did. The northbound #403 bus stop is on the same side of No 3 Road as the station but is still more than three bus lengths from the entrance. There was a train waiting to leave.

Stopped before Lansdowne Station

The Canada Line has some odd features in its operations – including slow orders through switches and around curves. The picture shows a stationary outbound service, stopped short of Lansdowne station waiting for the inbound service to open its doors in the station before proceeding. This seems to be taking caution a little too far to me, but seemingly is a regular feature as that had been noticeable on the way down. I also noticed people boarding the southbound train to get a seat for the northbound journey even at midday. This says a lot about the trade off that people make between speed and comfort and suggests that passengers place a much higher value on a seat than transit planners who like to maximize capacity at the expense of seating. Plus of course space for bikes and mobility devices.

When I got off the train at King Edward I had positioned myself to be opposite the exit – which was just as well as a #25 was pulling up to the stop as I got to the top of the escalator. The operator was going to end his shift at Granville Street, so was not hanging around at the stop for stragglers.

Forward view Nova LFS

Of course, you have to be willing to give up this seat – which actually faces inward, not forward – if a priority passenger wants it. But the view on the Nova LFS is better than the New Flyer low floor – and the windscreen far cleaner than a Canada Line train.

Return journey 45 minutes door to door compared to the 90 minute outward leg. Which shows how much time can be saved by making connections (transfers) properly.

Now one round trip is simply an anecdote, not data. But it illustrates how in transit the devil is always in the details. Cheaping out on stations on the Canada line – not having entrances on each corner of the intersection, not having a convenient off street bus loop – makes the overall journey much less convenient than it could be. It sends a strong message to the passenger – that your time is not considered valuable. Removing a direct bus service and inserting two connections means much more than just a slightly longer journey: the #480 used to connect my house to UBC with no transfers, so it was indeed competitive with the car when you consider that you can use the time seated on a bus to read – not something you ought to be doing when driving.

I am sure that everyone who reads this blog entry will have similar stories. But it is going to take a real culture change here to make that experience different. The Mayors are still pursuing imaginary administrative savings – actually I think it is just pique that the Province imposed an auditor on them and not the regional transportation agency. They forget of course that there is a transit commissioner, who has been on the same trail for a while now. But let’s make it all about money – not value for money.

Written by Stephen Rees

January 19, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Posted in transit

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27 Responses

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  1. Your experience is exactly why some people say that every transfer chops a huge percentage off your potential passenger count. I think trying to use a blanket rule like that is wrong, however. I listened to people like that before Canada Line opened and foolishly predicted that the additional transfers would keep ridership below official estimates. Of course the opposite actually happened. Despite more transferring passenger counts on the line quickly exceeded all estimates.

    There are good reasons, of course. Transferring to a fast, high frequency service costs little time and may, if your journey is long enough, save time. The train is also very reliable. I’ve only been stuck in a Canada Line tunnel once and the delay was less than 5 minutes. Yes I’ve suffered much longer Expo Line delays in the past, but very infrequently.

    I incurred worse this afternoon because the elevator took too long to arrive. I was running down the stairs at Waterfront as the train pulled away. Now a 3 minute delay, even when running late, is no big deal unless it causes further delays. I wound up on the stairs at another station when I heard my bus pulling away. So a 30 second delay waiting for an elevator caused me to miss my bus.

    My example shows that it’s the transfer from a fast, frequent service to a relatively infrequent service that does all the damage, where some idiot holding the door of the train can cause a long wait for a bus later on. Since most passengers need a bus in addition to the train, why doesn’t that deter passengers? I think it’s because people assume some of the blame for missed transfers. They think about all the reasons why they weren’t on the train that left just 3 minutes earlier. That extra minute spent talking instead of packing up, that trip to the washroom, little things that caused a delay that didn’t seem important at the time, but wound up causing the missed transfer later on.

    Transfers from low frequency to low frequency, on the other hand, are psychologically the fault of the transit operator. They need to run more buses! They need to make sure they arrive at my transfer point in the right order and right distance apart. My bus is always late! It’s easy to blame the bus system instead of ourselves. Of course there is often some truth in the matter too. I used to live near a major street where it was normal to see 3 buses travelling on each other’s bumpers when they were supposed to be 12 minutes apart. That kind of thing drives people crazy and leads to serious trust issues.

    Canada Line arrives every 3 minutes plus or minus a half minute here and there and journey time is almost never more than 2 minutes more than scheduled. People can count on it and that’s why it’s more popular than the direct buses it replaced despite the added transfers for many.

    David

    January 20, 2012 at 12:30 am

  2. David,

    I thinq you have expressed the problem . . . it isn’t the TX scheduling, it’s passenger expectations.

    How can planners possibly factor in your need to go to the bathroom or being delayed on the elevator?

    What’s the hurry, anyway?

    We are confronted every minute by high energy PR intent on conditioning us to accept something we do not need and cannot afford: of course the Canada Line is user optimum. Like I said, so where the life boats on the Titanic.

    If we would just settle down and accept the city for what it is, rather than looking, enviously, at other city’s shiny gadgets we may, after all, have no need to go to the bathroom in a hurry! “The fault lies, dear David, not in our stars, but in ourselves!

    . . . psychologically (its) “the fault of the transit operator . . .” come on, that’s nonsense!

    Roger Kemble

    January 20, 2012 at 3:21 am

  3. I have to agree with Mr. Kemble.
    As far as I can remember passengers holding the door of the rapid transit in Vancouver only happens here. It isn’t easy to do on many other rapid transit systems as their door close with way more strength, but also because their transit culture is different.
    When the door start closing people stand back..another train will be there in a few minutes.

    It is also likely due to the absence of a driver that monitors the platform and, more importantly, the absence of platform screen doors.
    SkyTrain/Canada Line and the Docklands Light Rail in London are the only automated system I have seen that DON’T have these sliding doors on platforms.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ligne-13-invalides-portes-a.jpg .

    When a bus is really full the driver close the front door even if people are banging on it..full is full..
    On the long buses the drivers are quick to object if one does hold the back doors after he/she close it.

    Red frog

    January 20, 2012 at 12:44 pm

  4. Hey, common Stephen, gimme a break! “The “do not make trips” option is one that is firmly rejected.” Of course it was, and so it should be! Who said that anyway? We are looking for an equitable modal split: walking, biking, cabs and trams.

    Attempts to create a place – say Kitsilano – that no-one ever needs to leave, will firstly be doomed to failure, but secondly neglects to recognize why people move to cities in the first place.” What’s all this extreme hyperbole? Are you are pulling my leg?

    I am premature posting Vancouver: Re-boot. In my haste to gauge feedback: I did not expect black-white/all-or-nothing! Nor would I have expected such declamatory certitude had I been at the meeting!

    Why do people move to cities? Good heaven’s how do I know? Do you know? Surely, there are as many reasons as there people.

    I know why I lived on Kits Point for 14 years: to take a summer swim before brek among other, perhaps less trivial, reasons.

    What are you proposing Stephen? Go under ground or fly over: shiny trinket all the way down?

    I must say the 1962 Seattle World Fair monorail was exciting . . . but it soon wore off.

    Replicating the Canada Line all over: Broadway and Fourth and Cornwall? The work the miracle at Champlain. Nix to that: more disgruntled merchants more adolescent excitement over shiny trinkets NOT!

    Vancouver is blessed with many, virtually, self contained urban villages: all they need is a little push. Kits has self-sufficient amenities. Anyone, who wishes, may spend their lives there, why not: and peripatetic wanders have a pad to come home to if that’s the way they live!

    But I don’t want to plan for “self-sufficiency”. I want decrepit Heather Pavilion fixed up to be The Vancouver Healthy Village Center, and so on . . .

    On campus I would like to see University Village become a classical town center: yunno, town and gown, Oxford and Cambridge.

    In 1952 the town was replete in clickity-clack tramcars ready to take me to Abbotsford or Steveston and all stops between. There were buses too: very convenient. I don’t want to be sold off to Bombardier, Lavalin or Metro Hong Kong. Making our own trams at home beats the FIRE economy!

    Street level TX does frequent stops, redirected as necessary. Shiny trinkets don’t.

    Roger Kemble

    January 20, 2012 at 5:52 pm

  5. Complain is more on the impediment put on Transfer by Translink than on lack of reliability (all the bus and train were looking running on schedule according this post account).

    There is 2 folds in the transfer, a time/space problem, Stephen focuses on one side, the spatial one

    the “geography” of the connection
    bus 25 East bound stop at the SE corner of Cambie#25 when the station entrance is at the NW -> 2 very large street to cross: one too much…easy to fix by relocating the 25 bus stop on the SW corner of the interstection.
    In 2 years, Not only Translink has not done that, but where connection was good, it has simply destroyed it:

    “Brighouse Stn Bay 7” is a fair “treck” from the subway entrance because Translink has removed all the real Southbound stop connecting with Canada line, be Brighouse, Landsowne and Aberdeen, and renamed the other “connection”:
    It is not only insulting the common sense, but show a complete lack of respect for the transit user.

    David focuses on the “timing”: I agree he has expressed well the problem, but I don’t think “more bus” is the solution (not the realistic one at least!)-why below

    On the timely connection

    As you could now on late evening Canada line run every 20mn on its branches. and try to do the journey Richmond YVR or reverse late night:

    usually, when a train coming from one of the branches, be YVR or Richmond, arrives at Bridgeport, one mn later a train coming from Vancouver enter the station: It could make a perfect connection for (YVR-brighouse or reverse trip)…if this train was going to the other branch…it doesn’t…and you will have to wait 11mn where the transfer could have been timed at 1-2mn.
    I don’t see any other reason other than pure sadism to this state of operation.

    But if you think the above is bad enough translink gonna add insult to injury for people in need to transfer from the Canada line to the 410 (remember on the South/West bound, Translink has suppressed the bus stop)-Aberdeen is the station of choice:

    arrival time of the SB train at Aberdeen: 00:16 00:36 …
    Departure time of the bus 410 EB: 00:14 00:34 …

    Yes Roger, it is a schedule problem and here I can’t imagine any other reason than deliberated sadism from Translink. Do you have any other reason?

    After literally wrecking the Canada line connection, like they did in Richmond, How they can dare to come to us claiming more money?

    I don’t believe Translink needs more bus (and more money) to improve the situation (connection problem), and more generally I don’t see why Translink could need more money to imrpove the bus service in Richmond
    (see my opinion on it at http://voony.wordpress.com/2011/07/19/bus-410-express/ and http://voony.wordpress.com/2011/09/02/a-richmond-transit-plan-the-local-view/)

    Voony

    January 20, 2012 at 8:59 pm

  6. Commuting home to North Burnaby, it seems like 50% of the time, a M line train pulls out of Commercial Drive just as I’m crossing over the BNSF tracks… It’s only a 5 minute wait, but compared to Burrard, where the trains are (in theory) 108 seconds apart, it seems like an eternity. re Holding door, last Tuesday night, we barely made it off a MK-1 Train at Broadway; dawdlers and door blockers almost made us take an unwanted trip to Nanaimo.

    re Transfers, in early December we took transit from N. Burnaby to 240th St in Maple Ridge. M line, 169, 710. Two Hours! The transfers were OK, scheduled under 10 minutes and made with no problem… but that 701.. meanders through the streets of “Ridge Meadows”… and stopped for a glacially slow freight train on Harris Rd for what seemed like an eternity. 42 stops, I think we stopped at almost all of them… My brother, when picking us up to complete the trip, asked how far the 701 went beyond 240th… No idea, I said.. it may fall off the end of the earth!

    The Other David

    January 21, 2012 at 12:44 am

  7. As far as I’m concerned, Translink’s “Next Bus” web site is the “Killer App” for smartphones that truly justifies having one.

    Sean Nelson

    January 21, 2012 at 6:33 pm

  8. http://m.translink.ca/ works on “home computers” too, so you can plan when to walk out the door… though on the return trip you takes your chances (the 130 from the Hastings/Willingdon Safeway has a scheduled interval that can be 2 minutes, or 11 minutes… even on weekdays, catching the 130 s/b from the Safeway can be 21 minutes if you are unfortunate…
    6:31pm 6:37pm 6:46pm 7:01pm 7:22pm 7:33pm

    The Other David

    January 21, 2012 at 7:53 pm

  9. I agree that the Next Bus app is worth an awful lot in terms of mobility in the region. Particularly with good bus routes such as the 410 with bad clumping problems: http://nb.translink.ca/Map/Route/410

    This has made transit to/from work a whole lot more reliable without really changing anything… (smart use of technology).

    But there’s still something to be said for having most of your necessary destinations in walkable/bikeable access within your own community and the rest somewhere along a SkyTrain line or similar. (and a transit pass in your pocket).

    Andrew

    January 22, 2012 at 12:40 am

  10. I am looking at a diagram of movement in Vancouver. A couple of things stand out.

    1. The Canada Line does not serve Vancouver as it traverses one of the least populated areas. It was built for the 2011 Olympics (probably with no other consideration).

    Land-lift may change that but the outcome depends on speculation, not future growth in its catchment: land speculation will exacerbate, an already, affordability issue.

    Evidently the line is, currently, well used serving, I conjecture, Richmond commuters and YVR.

    Taxicabs and jitneys previously served mobility to YVR somewhat. The major mode was SOV: it still is! On any given day parking lots are full as YVR serves Metro, not just the city.

    Who benefits from land-lift is a non-starter: obviously the taxpayer since their penny went into the excavation.

    2. Mount Pleasant. Broadway @ Main, is the epicenter of movement within the city. During the academic year that intensifies to and fro UBC an SFU.

    To my surprise Vancouver is very much decentralized (apparently, by happenchance more than design) and that may be the reason despite intensive discourse and planning vehicular movement never improves.

    This may be the reason downtown traffic is abating: not for lack of SOV usage: rather commuters have other destinations.

    May I suggest Vancouver’s TX conversation needs take another direction before we waste more billions of federal/provincial tax money on more white elephants?

    Roger Kemble

    January 23, 2012 at 4:56 am

  11. Roger – it would help a lot if you would provide some source – preferably a URL – for your “diagram”.

    Loadings on the Richmond branch of the Canada Line are much heavier than YVR, but the agreement to YVR funding was that they get 50% of the service. There are no “jitneys”. Shuttle buses serve the hotels, park and fly lots and so on. Parking lots at YVR are not as full as they once were as car traffic has fallen since the line opened and air travel has not yet recovered from the recession.

    Travel by car to downtown has fallen significantly – and the region has long been “everywhere to everywhere”. The plan was for regional town centres but employment did not move to them but rather to the suburban office parks which were never part of any plan – regional or municipal. As with many places in North America, development proceeds through OCP amendments and zoning changes, not following plans.

    Stephen Rees

    January 23, 2012 at 7:10 am

  12. Stephen,

    Thanqxz for asking . . .

    It was posted twice earlier, on this blog.

    Click on this URL . . .
    http://www.theyorkshirelad.ca/1yorkshirelad/vancouver.re-boot/Vancouver.re-boot.html
    . . . if you are interested, for regular up-dates. Scroll down to Re-boot the transportation system, of course.

    Note the convergence of all lines at Broadway and Main.

    Still a work in process . . . please feel free to rip my assumptions to shreds!

    If My Morning Jacket becomes tiresome there is a click off top left.

    Roger Kemble

    January 23, 2012 at 7:30 am

  13. Stephen,

    Thanqxz for the comments.

    By jitneys I was referring to the hotel buses.

    YVR parking reduced. Why? Less economic activity as you imply and less airborne traffic.

    IMHO less exporting of our raw resources and more import substitution may appear unrelated but well-paying jobs are really what I am driving at.

    Needless to say I see a direct relationship between self-sustaining autonomous quartiers and those huge container ships I see out in the Straits.

    Roger Kemble

    January 23, 2012 at 8:47 am

  14. PSParking lots at YVR are not as full as they once were as car traffic has fallen since the line opened and air travel has not yet recovered from the recession.
    Travel by car to downtown has fallen significantly – and the region has long been “everywhere to everywhere”

    And my thesis, that it is never coming back . . .

    Roger Kemble

    January 23, 2012 at 8:57 am

  15. @Roger Kemble:

    “The Canada Line does not serve Vancouver as it traverses one of the least populated areas. … jitneys previously served mobility to YVR somewhat.”

    The same could be said of the Expo and Millennium lines. But all those lines carrying many hundreds of thousands of people into and out of Vancouver every day do have a real benefit compared to the alternative – congestion caused by more cars and buses using precious fossil fuels and spewing pollution and greenhouse gases.

    And – having a fast, reliable link to the airport serves Vancouver well. You only have to look at the number of baggage-toting passengers riding the Canada Line into and out of the city to see this. Yes, it’s fewer riders than the south-of-Fraser commuters, but it’s still quite significant because it’s a steady stream of passengers all day long. As a Vancouver tax payer I’m very grateful for that link.

    And if by “Jitneys” you really mean hotel buses – then they serve people from out of town, not Vancouverites.

    Sean Nelson

    January 23, 2012 at 9:08 am

  16. @ Sean Nelson

    The same could be said of the Expo and Millennium lines. But all those lines carrying many hundreds of thousands of people into and out of Vancouver every day do have a real benefit compared to the alternative – congestion caused by more cars and buses using precious fossil fuels and spewing pollution and greenhouse gases.

    Yes, Sean I do say that. The lifeboats on the sinking Titanic were full too because of the insitu inevitability of its situation.

    I am not advocating more cars and busses!

    These lines, are grotesquely out of whack with their catchments, best served by surface, emission free tramcars, frequent stops that sometimes may have to be re-routed as contiguous development changes: inevitable considering the areas affected.

    Ridership is up because, as Titanic, there is no alternative. To make the line look well-used: schedule fewer trips.

    As for the, now well worn, “fossil fuels and spewing pollution and greenhouse gases” . . . http://rt.com/news/carbon-canada-effect-kyoto-773/ . . . if you are still hanging your hat on that canard, I cannot help you.

    There is a greater picture than wasting billions on trendy gadgets . . .

    Roger Kemble

    January 23, 2012 at 11:08 am

  17. Roger,
    Were you serious about that last link? The numer of scientists who do not think carbon dioxide contributes to global warming is pretty small and most are considered cranks.

    rico

    January 23, 2012 at 12:58 pm

  18. @Roger Kemble –> “As for the, now well worn, “fossil fuels and spewing pollution and greenhouse gases” . . . if you are still hanging your hat on that canard, I cannot help you.”

    Even for those who deny global warming there are plenty of other compelling reasons to reduce fossil fuel use. And frankly I really don’t have any faith in the judgement of those who flatly deny even the possibility of global warming.

    “Trams” or not, the region also needs high capacity transit backbones, and we have Skytrain. It works well, is cheap to operate, and as a user I find it far more pleasant to use than a subway. It wouldn’t serve the region well if it ONLY benefited residents of the City of Vancouver. We’re all in this together.

    Sean Nelson

    January 23, 2012 at 7:06 pm

  19. 1/ “The Canada Line does not serve Vancouver as it traverses one of the least populated areas”

    Yes, that is right: that is the reason why bus #15 is still running there. It is the essence of a regional Transit line…it doesn’t serve a local purpose.

    It is what some parochial interests have some difficulties to grasp: Thought that the Canada line is mostly in Vancouver, and doesn’t venture SoF: it serves much better the Richmond And SoF interests than the Vancouver’ ones. It serves also the airport goer pretty well.

    I have read that the mode share for airport is 17% for the train…it is as good as the train to CDG-Paris…so it is very impressive: It provides the trip reliability the bus/jitney/cab can’t and this can explain that.

    Have a reliable accessible airport serve the regional economy well (not only Richmond, or the guy checking your luggage)

    2/ For transit, I suggest the epicenter, is Broadway#Commercial, Broadway#Cambie, and Waterfront.
    Waterfront should be the epicenter because it where there the major connection- WCE and seabus- but my god-feeling tells me that nowadays Broadway#Cambie is more busy, at least look like, and anyway is poised to be the future Transit “epicenter” of the region with the extension of the Millenium line to Cambie.

    Voony

    January 23, 2012 at 10:28 pm

  20. @Sean Nelson
    I certainly hope SkyTrain is, as you say, cheap to operate, but TransLink doesn’t let us see their books so the only way to learn anything is to try to find similar operations elsewhere that do report their income and expenses.

    On the other side of the Rockies the books are open and driver salaries are only a small percentage of operating expenses. Combined with sharply lower borrowing costs it’s rather easy to come to the conclusion that systems with drivers actually cost less to operate than automated ones. Here in BC we’d never want to admit that of course.

    I’m glad to see Canada Line is well used because it’s costing us a lot more than most people realize. Again the books are closed and the contracts secret, but it’s easy to do some really basic math and figure out what it must be costing. The public put in $1.35 billion and the private sector put in somewhere between $700M and $1.2B depending on who you listen to. Let’s say it’s $750M. The private sector expects a return on its capital. A doubling in value every decade is pretty slow growth for large scale investors. So over a span of 30 years the operators of Canada Line are expecting to get back at least $3 Billion over and above actual operating expenses. That’s a minimum of $2.25 billion in profit over 30 years coming from taxpayer pockets. There are whispers around town that the actual amount being paid to ProTransBC is much higher, but they’re just whispers.

    @Voony
    Thank you for reiterating the point about the SkyTrain lines being regional in nature. I’ve long contended that those who complain about Vancouver getting all the rapid transit lines simply don’t get it. The main beneficiaries of high speed, limited stop service are long distance commuters. For many trips within the city its faster to take a direct bus than to use a cross town bus and transfer to Canada Line.

    David

    January 24, 2012 at 12:57 am

  21. @ Vooney

    If by referring to “some parochial interests” you are referring to me, say so?

    I recognize the overwhelming consensus for “Rotem” technology but there is a more fecund approach to regional growth: i.e. autonomous new towns. The monolithic agreement with your mental singularity tells me, beware!

    Closed minds already and we haven’t even started!

    You’d be smart, Vonny, to consider all options. Nothing is going to happen, anyway, for a very long time.

    You have so many spurious expectations (minimum of $2.25 billion in profit over 30 years) I don’t know where to begin other than to say dream on! (30 years, who’ll remember? Who’ll care?)

    You say, “. . . that is the reason why bus #15 is still running there. It is the essence of a regional Transit line… it doesn’t serve a local purpose.” Why, then, have four (potentially five) stations in the city?

    The most egregious condition to come out of the Vancouver component of the Canada line is, “Land-lift”: i.e. speculator inflation . . . http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/housing/vancouver-among-worlds-least-affordable-housing-markets/article2311279/
    . . . driving Vancouver’s housing prices further into the stratosphere.

    My personal view is, inflated real estate will drive the city into decades of stagnation: we wont be able to afford the no 10 bus, let alone shiny trinkets!

    I, incidentally Mayor Corrigan (Evergree NOT) too, don’t have difficulty comprehending your regional quest so why do you thinq I do? Must we all march lock-step? Mercy me, we’re not in the army!

    That everyone on this blog are in lock-step agreement over one official approach should raise concerns. Your views are cast in stone and that bodes ill for the region.

    Give yourself a break Voony. Open up, its a big world . . .

    Roger Kemble

    January 24, 2012 at 5:25 am

  22. @ Sean Nelson

    I am not, Sean, a fan of Mr. Harper but . . .
    http://modernsurvivalblog.com/weather-preparedness/arctic-sea-ice-to-expand-for-a-decade/
    . . .Yup, that canard.

    Even for those who deny global warming there are plenty of other compelling reasons to reduce fossil fuel use.” Absolutely, you bet!

    When I lived in DF in the late ‘90’s the IMECA reading (trace air borne solids) . . .
    http://www.calidadaire.df.gob.mx/calidadaire/index.php
    . . . was frequently over 100 (100 being unacceptable: 200, the schools closed).

    Today’s, @ 0630 hrs, Noreste reading appears to be 100 regular! Sigh of relief.

    We could use something like that in Vancouver.

    On AGW: “And frankly I really don’t have any faith in the judgement of those who flatly deny even the possibility of global warming.” And nor do I Sean. Earth’s temperature is in constant flux . . . http://rt.com/news/carbon-canada-effect-kyoto-773/
    . . . and carbon credits just shift the blame: paying to pollute doesn’t stop pollution!

    The Mediaeval Warm . . . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1rj00BoItw&feature=player_embe%20dded#!
    . . . was far warmer than it is today and there wasn’t a CO² belching 1956 Buick in sight!

    And no . . . http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/ . . . the polar bears are not stranded!

    Sort gets tiresome after a while doesn’t it . . . especially the petulant name-calling and the pompous caste-in-stone know-it-alls!

    There are other TX means yunno, less expensive, more community responsive, and don’t forget goods and emergencies.

    “Trams” or not, the region also needs high capacity transit backbones, and we have Skytrain”. Yup!

    The presence of the expensive, unresponsive, inflexible Expo Line is good reason to reject it!

    Personally, and keep in mind all gossip on this blog is personal.

    The best TX is no TX”: by that I mean time spent in transit is time wasted no matter the modal split. Ergo follow the UK/Euro self-contained, new town approach.

    Roger Kemble

    January 24, 2012 at 6:26 am

  23. The New Town approach in the UK at least has been abandoned – and for some long time. While the initial hope was that they would be “self contained” they have never performed that way. Basically, London stopped growing geographically due to the Green Belt. So the growth simply leapfrogged over that and continued beyond it. All the New Towns around London were on main line railways with fast direct services to central London. In fact, I was commissioned to do a study for the Standing Conference on London and South East Regional Planning (a local government body) in the mid 1970s, which examined the capacity of the railway lines to absorb more traffic, to determine where the growth could go. The national government was at that time still attempting to divert growth to the other regions, where unemployment was high due to the decline of traditional industries such as mining and steel making. While they did manage to relocate some government functions, such as driver and vehicle licensing, or National Savings, the private sector (especially the all important financial sector) declined to follow, even with significant inducements. So Bracknell, Basildon, Crawley, Hemel Hempstead, Stevenage, Milton Keynes and the rest all became essentially commuter towns. Of course in Britain “commuter rail” is fast, frequent and runs all day and every day. New Towns in the other regions failed spectacularly – Cumbernauld being one of the test cases studied in planning schools.

    By the way, when you put lots of links in a comment, it triggers an automatic diversion to the moderation queue as an anti-spam measure. Not that I discourage such links – quite the opposite – but you might become concerned if your post does not appear quickly.

    Stephen Rees

    January 24, 2012 at 7:37 am

  24. Cumbernauld being one of the test cases studied in planning schools.” Thanqxz Stephen: very interesting.

    I’m not surprised Cumbernault failed: topog alone was enough to do it in (did me in)!

    Even though I was a fan of Jimmy Sterling Runcorn (grotesque: did you visit?) was, rightly, blown up. I enjoyed his one-off Olivetti at Hazelmere, though.

    I’m sorry: the new town policy could have worked if not, as you say, for a change in government.

    Since I see no advantages in Translink’s present TX policy I’d like to see it try another approach. Perhaps on a much less ambitious scale City/Metro urban villages can do better.

    Any policy has to be better than the potential for sprawl the Canada line services.

    Roger Kemble

    January 24, 2012 at 8:17 am

  25. I lived in Runcorn in 1970-1 before James Stirling’s disaster was built. The rules of New Towns did not permit me to reside in the New Town itself. But somehow strings were pulled at the local municipality and I got a Council Flat in Churchill Mansions (now a “freehold” building) – adjacent to the Mersey bridge and the Manchester Ship Canal. That lasted about six months before I, mercifully, got a transfer back to London. The New Town was admitted later to have been completely unnecessary.

    The policy at Translink is irrelevant as they have no funding to make it a reality. Whatever the staff or the politicians might want to do is at the mercy of the provincial government. There is no “regional transportation authority” and never was. Any more than BC Ferries is a company capable of making its own decisions.

    Stephen Rees

    January 24, 2012 at 10:30 am

  26. Roger, I was not referring at you when mentioning to “some parochial interests”: but some other people justifying the prioritization of transit line on the number of km of track layout in one city vs another.

    On the topic, I have written this:
    http://voony.wordpress.com/2012/01/25/the-future-of-metro-vancouver-lie-in-chilliwack/

    When I say the canada line serves regional interest, it needs to connect to some structuring transit line, like 49 or 41, (i have also noticed them in your map), major bus loop like Marine drive…,

    Broadway start to be a destination…now I am unconvinced by the relevance of Olympic village (at least as of today), and am not expecting other station like 57th or Cambie village will open in our life time.

    Voony

    January 25, 2012 at 1:57 am

  27. Good morning Voony.

    G & M reports (Jan. 24), Vancouver is the most expensive city in the world (C$100.00 hot dogs) to live in.

    CBC evening news yesterday had a clip showing a throng of Chinese buyers looking over local condos, commenting, Vancouver is in for another good year: meaning more real estate sales, rising prices.

    Evidently 2012 is the Chinese Year of the Dragon: a lucky year!

    Understanding that hard facts are trumped by perceptions, my reading, watching telly and various stats is that China has a major problem retrieving hard currencies owed to them by the US: ergo they are buying up tangible assets as a currency hedge (Vancouver being an easy mark!).

    That means a continuation, indefinitely, of the bubble in condo sales, but not necessarily an increase of population.

    I also read that China has built many ecologically sensitive . . .

    . . . cities: so far void of population!

    POTUS Obama, last nite, gave another one of his rousing change we can believe in homilies. He speaks for what was once our major trading partner.

    Perhaps he is speaking to our benefit but watching the expression of anxiety on Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s face, I doubt it!

    Metro, Vancouver, the Canada Line, Cambie Village: ummmmm, we are in for interesting times.

    Roger Kemble

    January 25, 2012 at 4:08 am


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