TransLink’s draft three-year plan freezes transit service hours

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      If you believe that getting more people out of their cars and into public transit is good for the environment, you will not find much encouragement in TransLink’s draft three-year plan.

      According to the regional transportation authority’s draft 2011 Base Plan and Outlook, there will be no expansion in the transit system between next year and 2013. Further, bus service in some areas will be cut.

      Fares will also increase in 2013, a move that the document itself acknowledges will discourage people from taking transit.

      “The priorities that are being set by TransLink aren’t our priorities,” Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview.

      Corrigan said that while many suburban communities clearly need better bus service, the transportation body’s major capital expenditure in its three-year program is for new electronic fare-card ticketing technology. The project, which includes the installation of fare gates, will cost $171 million. TransLink’s share is $101 million, with the provincial and federal governments chipping in for the balance.

      “We have been through this argument a dozen times, and recognize that it's a foolish expenditure of very hard-won capital,” Corrigan said.

      TransLink spokesperson Ken Hardie explained in a phone interview that the plan will “keep things in a state of good repair”. But he also admitted that it doesn’t fund projects that would increase transit use, such as the long-delayed Evergreen Line.

      “The base plan represents the level of services that TransLink can sustain based on its current revenues,” Hardie told the Straight.

      Bus service will remain at the 2010 levels of 4.93 million hours each year through 2013. The Expo, Millennium, and Canada lines will continue to run for 1.28 million hours annually, as in 2010. SeaBus service will be maintained at 11,000 hours per year, while the West Coast Express will run a stable 35,000 hours annually. Custom transit services like HandyDart will remain constant at 2010 levels.

      The document acknowledges that the three-year plan starting in 2011 will contribute only “modest progress” to achieving the objectives of Transport 2040. This is the region’s ambitious transportation strategy, whose goals include significant reductions of greenhouse-gas emissions and a major shift from private automobile use to transit, walking, and cycling.

      “Without the allocation of additional resources and a strong demand-side management strategy, these gains will be eroded during the subsequent Outlook period of 2014-2020 and the prospect of achieving the goals of Transport 2040 will be more difficult,” the plan states.

      TransLink released copies of the 2011 Base Plan and Outlook on June 14. A Metro Vancouver report, which goes to the board on June 25, notes that the transportation authority’s plan will “frustrate the achievement of regional economic, environmental, greenhouse gas reduction, and broad planning goals”.

      Written by Metro Vancouver senior regional planner Raymond Kan, the report states that these regional objectives “depend in part on there being sustainable funding to construct and operate new transit lines and to expand the bus network, in particular to serve the rapidly urbanizing northeastern and South of the Fraser subregions”.

      Although the plan maintains overall service, about four to five percent of conventional bus-service hours will be redirected by 2012. Through this, the transportation body expects to “increase the productivity of the system by just over two percent through increased revenue ridership”.

      “It’s not the intention to cut service to save money,” Hardie explained. “It’s the intention to cut service to reallocate those services to where they can basically do a better job in terms of meeting demand in moving people.”

      Vancouver councillor Andrea Reimer told the Straight that civic officials want to know which areas will get a reduction in bus services. TransLink will hold consultations on this initiative by the fall.

      The 2011 Base Plan and Outlook also forecasts a 12-percent increase in average fares in 2013. The new fares will be determined in 2012.

      These rate hikes will be on top of the nine-percent increase in average fares in 2010. TransLink expects to collect $412 million in fares this year. Fare revenues are projected to rise to $505 million in 2013.

      The plan notes that ridership has increased by an average of over three percent per year over the past two decades. However, it also points out that “ridership growth will be constrained in 2013 due to the lack of new capacity to meet increasing regional demand”.

      “In addition, the 12 percent fare increase scheduled for 2013 will impact ridership due to price elasticity effects,” it states. “The effect of the price increase combined with no service growth will limit ridership growth to about one percent in 2013.”

      Comments

      23 Comments

      Speaking of buses, Corrigan likes to throw people under them

      Jun 24, 2010 at 8:32am

      http://www.bclocalnews.com/news/62426372.html

      "Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan, however, warned TransLink's plans are unaffordable and argued scarce funding should be used to sustain service to areas with strong existing ridership rather than areas with low transit use if cuts are required.

      "There are significant subisides going into many of the South of Fraser routes that are questionable in terms of business efficiency,""
      -------

      http://www.straight.com/article-265804/mayors-will-capitulate-and-okay-1...

      "Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan believes his fellow Metro Vancouver mayors will “capitulate” and approve $130 million in additional funding to keep TransLink solvent and stave off service cuts. "
      --------------------

      What will he say next week?

      Grumpy

      Jun 24, 2010 at 9:44am

      What does anyone expect. Building expensive metro systems and pretending that they pay their operating costs, while in fact, secretly subsidizing them means that there is no money for the buses.

      TransLink couldn't even plan for an "outhouse" where $160 thousand a year spin-doctors are deemed more important than bus drivers.

      You really want to attract the motorist from the car? Build with LRT as it is the proven method of doing so. That is why almost every major city in the world has LRT or is building with it.

      Who buys with SkyTrain? Very, very few as Vancouver has become an international example on not how to run a transit system.
      Grumpy is as Grumpy does!

      15 9Rating: +6

      Krystle

      Jun 24, 2010 at 11:38am

      Its pretty sad to see prices go up for goods and services (HST next week, Transit in 2013) yet the minimum wage continues to be the lowest in Canada.

      ROB

      Jun 24, 2010 at 1:46pm

      Idiotic, no reason skytrain hours cant be longer, bars & clubs close at 3am, yet the new canada line last train is 1:15?...makes no sense...

      11 9Rating: +2

      nick

      Jun 24, 2010 at 2:31pm

      And that,Is why I will continue to drive my cars.Screw translink.
      Every other metropolitan city has 24 hour transit,but nope,not green Vancouver.

      use diesel buses where they are needed

      Jun 24, 2010 at 8:26pm

      Isn't TransLink operating redundant B-Lines to UBC over the summer? Every day until 3:30 am only to start up at 6 am, TransLink is operating mostly empty B-Line diesel buses on the #17 trolley bus route, and the #17 trolley buses are mostly empty, too.

      Uh, couldn't TransLink suspend the B-Lines over the summer to UBC and use them where they are needed? It's not as if the B-Lines are welcome, anyways. People have been complaining about the noisy, crappy and noxious B-Lines for at least 10 years.

      Rail for the VAlley

      Jun 24, 2010 at 9:19pm

      The only solution is to build LRT out to Delta. Because Delta is the best place on Earth! LRT is nice and slow so we can hop on with ease. It is good for us window shoppers as well. Nobody likes fast transit.

      Visit RFail for teh Valley.

      RodSmelser

      Jun 25, 2010 at 7:56am

      ===>>>Speaking of buses, Corrigan likes to throw people under them

      You make an excellent point.

      No doubt that's why so many have disagreed with you. You're making a well-founded criticism of the transportation pronouncements of someone who enjoys a certain "special status" because of his yahoo opposition to the PMH1 project.

      Rod Smelser

      9 13Rating: -4

      Oink!

      Jun 25, 2010 at 7:02pm

      Less transit expansion is great news as far as I'm concerned. We already have way too many empty buses on the roads. Empty buses don’t remove cars from the roads, sorry, TransLink. TransLink you aren’t removing cars to any significant extent from the roads and you can’t prove that you do. Car registrations have never dropped in the Lower Mainland.

      Almost 70% of every transit seat is paid by taxpayers. Not expanding transit seems like a win-win deal to me: it won't encourage people who walk or cycle in Vancouver to move to Coquitlam and to take transit, and we won't be feeding TransLink the gluttonous transit-pig with more tax dollars. Oink!

      Gí¶lí¶k

      Jun 25, 2010 at 7:55pm

      This does not go far enough to explain why Translink isn't just a port authority or point of standardized transfer-pass system with municipal control.
      More to the point, why is there two 17s and two 4s at night. Why no light rail from Waterfront to Wall Street instead of the bedroom community West Coast Express. Why instead of increases of zones, why the airport isn't a zone 5; why not more. Like Sunshine coast.
      Typical of Government, really need to find some way of at least finding private alternatives. Make license and permit requirements the same for them as cab and limo drivers even. I fear even that will lead to more paper work madness and state stupidity. Overfed greedy child.

      Gí¶lí¶k Z Buday
      @gzlfb

      13 9Rating: +4