The Coalition of Progressive Electors is running some exceptionally intelligent candidates for council.
Mediator Lisa Barrett, lawyers Tim Louis and Gayle Gavin, community organizer Sid Chow Tan, and arts manager Keith Higgins have as much intellectual horsepower as any group of five council candidates running for Vision Vancouver or the NPA. (I won't comment on the other three COPE candidates for council because I'm not in a position to judge their intelligence.)
So if COPE has people with brains, why has the party brought forward a transit policy that's downright idiotic?
COPE mayoral candidate Meena Wong has announced a voluntary plan in which Vancouver adults would pay $30 per month for a transit pass.
If everyone signs on, it will raise $160 million per year.
Wong has said that this is $10 million more than the $150 million that TransLink collects in fares from city residents.
First of all, COPE is not going to get 100 percent of adults agreeing to pay $30 per month for a transit pass, so the amount collected would be considerably less than $150 million.
Secondly, if all those people received cheap transit passes, it would make the bus system even more overcrowded, resulting in more transit vehicles passing by stops without picking up passengers.
Thirdly, there's been zero indication that TransLink will go along with this idea. And TransLink operates the bus system.
Even if TransLink liked the idea, it probably doesn't have nearly enough buses to accommodate the rising demand that would come from so many new transit riders.
Furthermore, TransLink relies on fuel taxes to cover nearly a quarter of its costs.
That's why TransLink doesn't want too many people switching from cars to transit. If this happens, it blows its budget to smithereens.
So what should COPE have done instead?
Its candidates with experience in legal affairs, governance, and business (Sid Chow Tan was once a stockbroker) should have proposed a realistic funding and governance model for TransLink that will provide achievable incentives to get people out of their cars and help save the planet.
If their brainstorming had any merit, it would have been picked up by the Greens and been promoted by the media, generating public momentum for it to become a reality.
Instead, COPE is offering voters a mirage that has zero chance of coming to pass but which might win votes by misleading some naive transit riders.
Voters deserve better than this from a party that claims to represent the people.