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Can't handle population boom


Did you ride the Skytrain lately during peak hours lately? There's plenty of "ridership" to justify the service. Even on weekends on the Expo line, it's often standing room only. And the Canada line has exceeded ridership expectations from the beginning.

And your statement that Vancouver is the "only city in the world that plans for light rail metro on routes that do not have the ridership to sustain them" is just plain wrong. New York City built it's subway into relatively vacant areas of Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx with an eye to future high-density development, which quickly followed. In Calgary, development followed the construction of its light rail system in the 1960's.

The problem with the Skytrain isn't lack of ridership — just the opposite. In the twenty 25-plus years since Expo line was first built, the high-rise development has been built all along the line, to the point that the system can no longer handle the ridership levels. If you don't believe me, try getting on a downtown bound train during rush hour at Broadway station. It's already a sardine can, and is only going to get worse, especially with a lengthened Millenium line feeding into an already overcrowded Expo line.

— Saltspring49
Europe's got it right

I've lived in the UK; in their major cities, their transit is very (very) good. It's also very busy, but the fact that one can get practically anywhere one needs to in a very short amount of time makes coping with wall-to-wall packed buses or trams worth it.

Beyond the fantastic system of London, even smaller cities in the UK, like Glasgow (Scotland) have great networks. Imagine a train system like the West Coast express that covered all areas of the city and suburbs, with trains arriving every five to twenty minutes, depending on what area one is going to... it was amazing. Of course, we'll never have anything like that, the cost will just be too high.

How does Europe pay for this stuff? Taxes. What do we not want to pay more of? Taxes. It's catch-22. Much as with our education system and health care system, we want things to be better (massively so), but we aren't willing to pay the price. We wish to continue to squeeze proverbial water from the stone. Unfortunately, we have to, as the cost of living in the lower mainland is absolute insanity. There just isn't the tax money in people's pockets, and so our transit system (and other major infrastructure like health and education) will continue to be under-funded.

As a last note, I love my cars (both being of the 'sports car' variety), but if we had working transit, I'd keep my cars for fun only, and gladly take transit.

— Alfie

Look at cheaper options
I am from White Rock and at the moment I have been living in Berlin Germany for the last 8 months, this city has the S-Bahn, U-Bahn, M-Bahn and a Bus system, the S-Bahn is an above ground rail line that services the vast majority of the city and the surrounding areas, connecting all the major areas together, throughout the city is the U-Bahn which is the underground, the M-Bahn is a metro light rail line that run's through the centre of the streets, the M-Bahn and the Buses run 24/7 with reduced times late at night, while the S-Bahn and U-Bahn shut down after 01:15 and start up again at 04:30 on week days and run all night on weekends.

At any point during the day or night you can easily get to the other side of the city using any number of routes or public methods, and it is a big city of over 3 million people. When I tell people that our skytrain shuts down before the bars do on weekends they laugh at how ridiculous it is.

Vancouver needs a comprehensive public transportation system such as this, with rail running from Vancouver to White Rock, Abbotsford, and even Chiliwack, with metro, underground and skytrain tying everything together when you get in to the city. Relying just on buses and skytrain is silly and way too expensive, there are better cheaper options than an elevated above ground rail system that need to be explore and put together in a comprehensive plan that will reduce traffic congestion and peoples reliance on cars to get around as it should be unnecessary but unfortunately it is.

— Steve
Tax the developers

I feel that people are being asked to make an informed decision without giving them all the information needed to make that choice, for instance how are other metropolitan areas around the world funding their transit systems in a successful manner?

The problem with a referendum is that the choices available are four or five choices that have been picked by the same people that have already put forth the same for or five choices that voters are already split on. What is rarely talked about is taxing developers that reap huge profits by building along the SkyTrain routes and raising property taxes along these same routes as these people enjoy a premium benefit by being able to so easily access rapid transit services.

— Denis Polsom, via email

We need accountability

In a private system I would be nervous about accountability when they dont have to answer to the public. Who is to say services wouldn't be cut drastically or fares increased astronomically? I dont think a private system would put the people first but instead, profits. It's not like you could boycott transit, you still have to get to work everyday.

— Kristiina Hayes

LRT to the FV
Remember, the original SkyTrain plans had it in Hope by the year 2000. That failed.

Light rail or the SkyTrain down Fraser Hwy from the last stop in Surrey to Abbotsford, then out the #1 to Chilliwack.

— Doug McLean

Short trip, huge fare
I think the biggest deterrent to using public transit to me is that a trip downtown and back, 2 zones both ways, is $10 !!!!
For $10 I can drive downtown and back, plenty of free parking if you know where.

So they should let us know how they plan to increase ridership when they've driven the prices so far up that it's cheaper and more convenient to drive.

— Alex Price
Get rid of the zone system
I think the biggest thing for me is that it costs less for me to drive, and takes 10 minutes as opposed to 45 on the bus.

I think maybe the zone system could be revised to a distance system or combo? It seems silly to have to pay $4 just to cross Burrard Inlet, or go from Phibbs to Kootenay Loop, or Park Royal to Denman. Perhaps SeaBus rates could be a flat rate no matter what time?

ALSO I don't know how many times I see people get on and not have to pay! Drivers leave the bus (at Phibbs, etc.) and people just walk on not having to show anything cuz the driver isn't there! ALSO get our fare box ratio down to 30% like Seattle by eliminating Perhaps corporate bonuses. Why are they getting so much money (in a system that has so many overcrowding issues) and we have to keep dealing with fare hikes??

— Kristiina Hayes
Why is it so hard to get where I want to go?

UBC student Julienne Cajes has come to expect being passed up at Commercial Drive by the always-packed 99 B-Line bus heading west on Broadway for her morning commute.

“Sometimes the lineup goes all the way into the SkyTrain station by the escalators,” said the 18-year-old first-year arts student who travels from Coquitlam on the SkyTrain to transfer to the B-Line articulated express bus.

Don't force the Upass
How about the bus route 049? It is both used by Langara and UBC students, and some casual stay at home folks. I question the safety limit in regarding to the max passengers a regular TransLink bus is allow to carry. Pushing all the students to pay for the U-Pass is simply dumb and short sighted. Some of the students are more than willing to drive if not being forced to pay an insane price for parking and other fees. The schools can also schedule class in off peak time to offering cheaper parking fees together with the gov. to charge less PST. Together we can solve the problem. Students are important to BC's future. So are the other working tax payers.

— Steven Arthur
There are other routes

Living south of the Fraser has major transport issues. Vast amounts of money has been spent on making sure commercial trucking shaves 10 minutes on their driving time yet we the commuters are often over looked.

The conversation as to where the next rapid transit line should be built is a no brainer.  South of the Fraser and east of Richmond.

Why on earth do the the powers that be continue to try to bring more commuters onto Broadway just to get them to UBC.  Why don't they try 49th, 41st or hey from the Cambie Street SkyTrain station on Marine Drive. The station at Cambie and Marine already has a crossing over the Fraser River. Why not make use of it and extend it down the 99 to King George where it could curve over to the under used King George Station that is with in walking distance to Surrey Memorial Hospital? Then with some brilliant planning and foresight, extend the connection along Fraser Hwy to 200th in Langley. Then in the next century they could extend it north again to connect to Lougheed Hwy then west again to meet with the rapid transit being built out to Port Moody.  Imagine you could do a complete circle through a majority of the Metro Vancouver municipalities.  

The powers that be need to think outside the box of Vancouver.

— Lorraine Bascombe

Just look at Vegas

How about 24/7 express buses like the ones they have on the Vegas strip. Their bus system is just so streamlined. Maybe Vancouver should be looking into other models of running skytrains and bus systems. Just saying. I've used both while down there and both seem like they need revamping. No to privatization that will just mean no accountability and perhaps shoddier services and unserviced buses. Higher fares probably too.

— Elizabeth AndTroy Armstrong
South of the Fraser ignored

As some one who lives south of the Fraser, we are being stiffed to subsidize operations north of the Fraser. There are 1 million people south of Fraser currently about to increase by another 500,000 by 2031.

There needs to be light rail from Abbotsford thru Langley to serve as a core service tying in at Scott Road station. Light rail would serve as the way to minimize urban sprawl and have vertical development along the route which could subsidize station construction with DCCs. Light rail can be built for substantially less than SkyTrain at over $100 million/kilometre and is seismically survivable.

I am willing to pay more taxes for excellent transit, but not the wet dream shoved down our throat by the current TransLink management.

— Lee, via email

It's not us vs. them

How about stop this BS competition with private vehicles.There is enough room on the road for both. Let people decide what they want to take and stop forcing transit on them. The biggest improvement would be 24/7 service on all routes.

— Dan Woycheshen

No more free rides
Start actually charging people to ride the No. 99 B-Line. The fare box at the front is like a vestigial organ. People crowd into the back doors and no one pays. Some of those people are transfers from the Sky Train, but a huge percentage of them are not. The 99 B-Line is the busiest bus route in North America, and it runs on the honour system. That's crazy. I believe Transit is losing millions of dollars in lost revenue on that bus route.

— Johanna McMenemy
Make it user pays, not taxpayers
Interesting how people scream for MORE service but LOWER prices. Who do you expect will pay for more service? Transit should NOT be paid for by taxpayers nor car drivers! It should be 100% USER funded and if that means higher prices, then that's what it means!!!

— Christine Vea
LTR is too expensive

Donald, unfortunately your argument looks purely at the cost to the taxpayer and completely ignores the often vastly different engineering challenges of specific regions.

The Seattle Central Link light rail, for example, cost as much to build (if not more) as the Canada Line. But yet it uses the exact same technology you are claiming we should have used and attracts less than half of the ridership of the Canada Line.

You need to consider the existing infrastructure and geography of a corridor to truly understand what is a realistic approach and cost for implementing rapid transit. If there's a hill that is too steep for a train - a very real possibility when approaching Point Grey and UBC - you might have to dig a trench or tunnel. If there is a major traffic artery that the train line has to cross, you're likely going to have to build a bridge because even traffic signal priority will not mitigate the risk of accidents, not to mention disruption during construction.

These practical realities can easily make a LRT line cost as much as a SkyTrain line depending on the route picked. Recent examples of this can be seen with both the Seattle Central Link and the Calgary West LRT.

Furthermore, Saltspring49 is also correct - you do not sound like someone who has actually uses the SkyTrain much. I use the Canada Line almost daily, and while ridership is not up to the levels of the Expo Line, it is often standing room only unless you get on near a terminus station, especially during peak hours or special events. It is most definitely getting used and with major high-rise development in progress at Marine Drive and Oakridge, I sense one day it will face the overcrowding problems the Expo Line currently faces too.

If anything, we aren't even building enough rapid transit to support the future. I feel a mix of LRT, streetcar and SkyTrain (whichever is most appropriate for a route) is the way to go for the future.

— Eric

Why the Evergreen Line?

Anything south of the river is a pain for transit. Getting on the skytrain at Scott Road to go downtown and paying a higher rate because it's the zone boundary (yet one of the only stations with decent amounts of parking) is ridiculous. Buses don't run frequently enough to even get to the SkyTrain and, with all the traffic backups on Scott Road and King George, people end up having to get off the bus and walk to get to the SkyTrain stations if they want to make it there within a reasonable amount of time if there's an issue with traffic on the bridge.

During bad traffic days, the train isn't an option because if you can't even get to the station. Why sit in all that traffic when you've already made it basically onto the bridge? There needs to be better access to get to the stations for personal and transit vehicles. We pay the same amount as everyone downtown does for transit yet when the pass is only valid for 1.5 hours and it takes 40 mins to get downtown, you can't even make a quick trip down and back on the same pass. The Evergreen Line is ridiculous in my opinion. They already have the SkyTrain to Lougheed and they have the West Coast Express. Send some rapid transit out to White Rock, South Surrey, Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal or Langley.

Jennifer Roy

Fines scare people off

The schedule's need to be adhered to a little more...our route (403) is regularly ahead of schedule but the bus then stops for a driver's break down the line... I feel it's important to run on schedule and wait at stops until the time designated for departure. People miss the bus and are late for work, etc. when this happens.

Also, when accosting people for proof of payment/fare, the police have to actually "LISTEN' and not act like rogue cops. At times, the validating machines are out of service and this creates problems for these cases, their explanation (and proof via a faresaver ticket) need to be accepted. So save the fines for those clearly in violation, not for first time "offenders" who may have a simple explanation.

Plus, the fines are TOO high for initial offenses... ridiculous, and it actually scares potential riders (me) away...God help us if we "forget" a ride that costs less than $3? The fine should reflect that. A first offense = warning. Second = $50. Third, $200.00.

This way, they do scare people off.

Take some of the fatcat salaries/pay away and quit sticking it to the users and general public. Why, on earth, people are making what they are is beyond me!

— Debbie Wilde

Why doesn't it run later?

SkyTrain needs to run longer, it's a robot SkyTrain and the last one is at 1 a.m. in this huge city?! Places like New York have people driving the [subways] and they work 24 hours a day!

The fare is way too expensive, I'm terrified of what I would have to pay if I didn't have a Upass! We are constantly paying more and more every year! Why is the public paying? Cut someone's salary.

Starting at 11 p.m. there should be a security officer on all SkyTrains, it's scary riding sometimes and that little yellow line won't help if someone tries to jump me.

Better and longer bus times in places like delta the 640 Ladner exchange is a packed bus between rush hour but runs only 2 times during the hour!!

— Melisa Djekic

We need reliable service
It would be nice if the first C24 of the day actually arrived on time. I now take the second bus and even though it comes 22 minutes later I still get to work at the same time because the first bus is always late and then after I get off the SkyTrain I always just miss the 84 bus. Not really sure how the first bus of the day can already be late.

— Gia Snosrap
Focus on Surrey

Increase buses on routes that are the busiest, stop raising the fares, retrain or fire the drivers that are rude to passengers. And though I try to avoid Surrey whenever possible, I agree that they need more transit options out there. My best friend lives in south Surrey and I can't go visit her in the evening as there are no buses going near her place after about 6pm. It's about a 45 minute walk from her house to King George before I can get a bus.

Have more of the double buses going from downtown Vancouver out to Port Coquitlam between 5-7pm. I have had to let the 160 go by and wait another half hour for the next one because it's standing room only and I can't stand all the way to Coquitlam Station.

— Tiffany Anderson

There's no win-win
Public transport is here to provide a service of carrying passengers from point A to point B. How it is funded is up to the government to decide. If you make it for-profit, the fares will be so expensive, nobody will use it. If you make it profit-making and cook up schemes to restrict driving, just like many places in the UK, you'll end up worse-off, as all modes of transport will be prohibitively expensive, both for passengers and car drivers alike.

— Peter Faitl
You're welcome: The North

Don't ride transit but our Northern BC taxes are a major contributing factor to all of you in the south having the choice. One of the largest taxpayers in BC is Spectra Energy... just sayin! Glad transit is available. Don't even mind doing my share to pay for it. Hope the south wants us northerners to keep working...

— Shaely Wilbur Endicott

Useless Upass

My daughter uses transit to get to SFU from Abbotsford and we have to drive her to Aldergrove because of the limited connection between the two communities. She gets a Upass but can't use it in Abby. And the only other option is the train from mission that isn't affordable on a regular basis for s student. Dumb!

— Shelley Douglas Pedlar

Go back to the old ways
Yeah it's funny how Aldergrove gets the shaft. I have been here for more then 17 yrs. The service has ALWAYS been horrible yet I pay the same charges as everywhere else in the GVRD.

Grew up in New West and always used transit to everywhere — Vancouver, Surrey, Burnaby and so on. It was run properly back then  Perhaps they should look at the old system as a model for efficiency and apply the principles today.

— Alice Swenson
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