10 best reasons for voting “yes” in the transit referendum

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      Starting this week, if you live in the Lower Mainland you will receive an invitation to vote in the referendum on the future of the region’s transportation.

      Some people want to vote No.

      Maybe they never lived in a city that failed to work out its transportation problems, as I have. Try London, England, in the 1980s, when the roads were so jammed with traffic that I had to plan on getting stuck for half an hour every time I needed to drive somewhere.

      London in the 1980s, where the buses and underground trains were so often late or delayed because of a breakdown or an accident that a 20-minute delay was something I had to plan for whenever I needed to get to a meeting on time.

      London in the 1980s, where to make cycling relatively safe I had to ride my bike aggressively, standing on the pedals to try to match the speed of the cars and trucks since it was the best way to avoid becoming one of the 5,000 cyclists who were killed or injured every year.

      If you have some strange reason for wanting Metro Vancouver to be like that, then go ahead and vote No, because it’ll increase the chances that it happens.

      Were we frustrated with London Transport, and with the crowds, the waits, the packed buses, and tubes? Yes, absolutely. But would Londoners have voted against investing in better tubes, a better bus service, and safe bike lanes as a way to improve the city’s transportation? Not for a minute. So when you’re experiencing frustration at TransLink’s service, do you vote against improving the service? It doesn’t make sense.

      Here are my 10 best reasons for voting Yes:

      1. More cycling makes for a happier city

      A city that celebrates cycling is a happier, friendlier place to live—ask any Copenhagener. If you have not experienced the freedom of the saddle, take it from the thousands who have. And if you’re not a cyclist, remember that cyclists do you a huge favour by not competing with you for road space and parking. Vote Yes, and Metro Vancouver will build another 2,700 kilometres of bikeways and 300 kilometres of safe, separated bike routes.

      2. More transit makes for a more civilized city

      A city that has made a decent investment in public transit is a far more civilized and easier place to get around in. Why are most European cities such great places? Because they have invested in better transit and cycling. Imagine a future Metro Vancouver with quiet electric buses that run every 10 or 15 minutes. Imagine an electronic sign on every shelter that tells you exactly when the next bus is coming. Imagine buses that make it easy for parents with kids and people in wheelchairs to board. Vote Yes, and you’ll enjoy a 25 percent increase in total service, 200 kilometres more of the faster B-Line routes, and more frequent rush-hour services.

      3. Shorter wait-times will bring a less stressed life

      You don’t like the waiting and the crush of too many people trying to board? Vote Yes, and you’ll get fewer line-ups, shorter wait-times, and more services on the Expo Line, the Millennium Line, the Canada Line, the West Coast Express, the SeaBus, the HandyDARTs, the night buses, and all the regular transit routes at rush hour, and you’ll get a Millennium Line extension from VCC-Clark to Arbutus Street along the Broadway corridor, making travel easier along the region’s busiest bus corridor.

      4. Yes, we do need to change TransLink’s governance

      You’re fed up with TransLink itself, and you want better governance? Join the gang. The Metro Vancouver mayors themselves have made a strong request to the provincial government to establish an elected TransLink board with regular open meetings. Vote Yes, and join every mayor in seeking the exact same thing that you want.

      5. One day, you too may have difficulty travelling

      You have a disability of some kind or difficulty travelling without assistance, or you may in the future? Vote Yes and Metro Vancouver will get 30 percent more HandyDART services. Hands up all those who are not growing older, or who think they’re immune to the ailments that come with aging...

      6. Some of us live in Surrey and the Langleys

      You live in Surrey or the Langleys? Vote Yes, and you’ll find it much easier to get around, with light rail transit lines along 104 Avenue, King George Boulevard, and Fraser Highway, connecting Guildford, Surrey City Centre, Newton, and Langley Centre.

      7. You love driving

      You love driving and car-sharing, and you’ll love it even more when electric vehicles become affordable? Join the gang. Vote Yes, and the roads of the future will not be congested and gridlocked with the million new people who will be arriving over the next 30 years, adding three million trips a day to the congestion. You’ll also get a new four-lane Pattullo Bridge between Surrey and New Westminster, and regular upgrading of the existing roads to keep everything moving smoothly.

      8. You want a 21st-century transit system

      You want better exchanges and better customer information services on transit and SkyTrain? Vote Yes, and you’ll get 13 new or expanded transit exchanges across the region, and a 21st-century integrated payment system.

      9. You worry about the climate crisis

      You know the climate crisis is real, and you worry that it’s gathering like an enormous storm on the horizon? The chief cause of the climate crisis is our use of fossil fuels, and the air pollution from cars and trucks is also contributing to asthma, lung and heart disease. Vote Yes, and it’ll be easier for people to cycle or take the bus instead of driving, reducing Vancouver’s future carbon emissions as well as its air pollution.

      10. You want a better future

      You want a better future, which includes better management and oversight of TransLink’s management as well as a better system of transportation in general? There really is no comparison between the experience of living in a city which has invested in well-planned transit, light rail transit, and bike lanes, and living in a city that has failed to do so. The one is so much better than the other. Vote Yes, and you will be voting for a better future.

      Guy Dauncey is an author, organizer, and eco-futurist who works to develop a positive vision of a sustainable future, and to translate that vision into action. He is founder and communications director of the B.C. Sustainable Energy Association, and author of nine books, including The Climate Challenge: 101 Solutions to Global Warming (New Society Publishers, 2009). He is a frequent visitor to Vancouver, usually travelling by ferry, bus, and SkyTrain. This post originally appeared on his blog.



      Oy Gevalt

      Mar 16, 2015 at 2:17pm

      ... and the single best reason for voting 'no' in the transit referendum:


      Rick McGowan

      Mar 16, 2015 at 2:38pm

      Take the 5.1 km Millennium Line (subway) extension from VCC-Clark to Arbutus Street along the Broadway corridor at $388 Million/km off the ballot and maybe I would vote Yes. Give me a more affordable choice.

      Seattle voters voted Yes "To approve to impose an annual vehicle-license fee up to an additional $60 per vehicle, with a $20 rebate for low-income individuals, and an additional sales-and-use tax of no more than 0.1%. Each would expire no later than December 31, 2020. Combined, they would raise approximately $45,000,000 annually.

      After administrative costs, including the rebate program, revenue will be used to fund: (1) Metro Transit service hours on routes with more than 80% of their stops within Seattle, with funding first being used to preserve existing routes and prevent Metro’s proposed service cuts and restructures scheduled to start in February 2015; (2) up to $3,000,000 annually, to support regional transit service on bus routes that enter or terminate service within the City of Seattle; and (3) up to $2,000,000 annually, to improve and to support access to transit service for low-income transit riders."


      Mar 16, 2015 at 3:49pm

      This is about way more than Translink. It's about Vision's betrayal of the city. And this provincial govt's betrayal of everything. Did you not read the letter in your own paper about the likelihood of high rise properties taking over residential neighbourhoods in order to pay for the thing? Hello. Pay attention. This is not about solving transportation problems. In fact, it probably won't.


      Mar 16, 2015 at 3:52pm

      I wonder if Premier Clark's attempt to destroy public transit is based on her admiration for Margaret Thatcher? It is worth noting that Thatcher did almost everything in her power to screw up public transit, to the benefit of big oil. The results of this is the dismal London transit service Dauncy describes. See www.straight.com/news/406421/christy-clark-expresses-admiration-margaret...

      Al Montgomery

      Mar 16, 2015 at 4:20pm

      It's really a no brainer if you use your brain and not your heart

      Not Really

      Mar 16, 2015 at 4:41pm

      A "Yes" vote does not actually get us the things so nicely laid out in the article.

      A "yes" vote simply puts the money in a separate Fund for up to 10 years.

      There is no commitment for Funding this Boondoggle by either Victoria or Ottawa.

      Without that Funding the Mayor's nice wish list is well just that a Wish List.

      And spare us the UK system is the right way to go. Having lived and worked in Central London recently I can say it's an expensive, crowded and grid locked city during rush hour.

      So all the money spent on Transit did not solve the core congestion and pollution problem despite hundreds of years of trying this model.

      It's an expensive model with gridlock traffic and high pollution with all the Diesel exhaust in downtown London from Buses and Cars.

      The Monthly pass from the suburbs in London start at about $200 to over $640+ per Month!

      We don't want to have the UK crushing Tax and Fee model for everything here that's a horrendous system made for Big Business fleecing the Citizens. No Thanks.

      But the central point is a Yes vote gets us nothing for at least 10 years.

      The Mayors wish list well who knows whats going to happen in 10 years. Most of these politicians won't be around.

      This is just another money grab trying to Lobby for more Boondoggle Funding from the Federal and Provincial Governments who have so far shown not the slightest interest in Funding this.

      With a most probably minority Federal Government later this year Federal Funding for Transit in BC seems a long long ways off despite any vote here.

      Given the large sums of money involved you can rest assured that even with a No vote the Big Business lobby and Trade Unions will try again for Boondoggle Funds.


      Mar 16, 2015 at 5:07pm

      Vote NO!
      When was the last time a politician kept their promises?!


      Mar 16, 2015 at 5:36pm

      The irony of many No voters saying when was the last time a politician kept their promise is that with the exception of fare gates that were forced on Translink they have been better than the federal and provincial governments at keeping promises....better than the municipal politicians i am familiar with too.


      Mar 16, 2015 at 5:43pm

      Introduce a bill to finance this transit infrastructure by making offshore real estate speculators pay. These invisible faces with shitloads of cash, using our homes as ATM machines, are kicking long time residents to the outskirts of our city. Government should stop leeching on us..we have no more blood to give.