From the LRTA blog: LRT, very user-friendly & tourist friendly transit!


1 Geneva tram

On the eve of RAV/Canada Line operation, with it’s premium fares to Vancouver International Airport (YVR), one reads with interest the following posting from the LRTA blog site. Now could it be, if the ‘powers that be’ opted for much larger, yet less costly light rail network instead of the  now almost $3 billion RAV/Canada Line metro, TransLink could also offer tourist friendly fares as well?

Something else to mull over. The cost of a downtown to airport limosine  is $39.00; a cab fare from Vancouver to the airport is $30.00 (direct hotel pick-up to YVR), while there will be a $2.50 RAV surcharge on a two zone ($3.75)  TransLink fare. To get to the RAV/Canada line, a potential passenger must take a cab to a RAV/Canada line station with a minimum fare of $5.00 not including tip. The minimum cost of trip via RAV to the airport is $11.25, with one transfer. But if one splits the fare, two or three ways or in the case of a limousine, six ways, the cost by taxi/limousine could be comparable too or cheaper than using RAV/Canada Line!

Watch for a $10.00, one way, (based on four persons per Limo) Limousine airport to hotel shuttle service to commence, very shortly after RAV opens!

From the LRTA blog………..

Earlier this week I visited the Swiss city of Geneva, and as I was about the leave the baggage reclaim hall I noted a ticket machine offering ‘free travel’ tickets.

Apparently these are for arriving air passengers and offers them an 80 minute ride-at will ticket for anywhere within the Geneva area. As is normal with ‘standard’ tickets in many Swiss towns and cities these allow break of journey, interchange between modes etc, the only difference is that they are free of charge and that the passengers must retain proof that they have just arrived by air (boarding pass, etc) in case they encounter a roving ticket inspector.

But thats not all… oh no…

When people check-in at hotels, camp sites, youth hostels etc in Geneva they are also given a complimentary ticket which allows free travel throughout the city for the whole duration of their stay – and back to the airport too!

These tickets are valid (within Geneva) on all transports including trams, single / double articulated trolleybuses & motor buses, water boats, and of course the mainline railway – many of which link in with major towns and cities throughout Switzerland.

From a British point of view it boggles the mind that a city should wish to do this, after all it effectively means that the tourists do not even contribute towards the cost of the transports (the burden falls on local people, etc).

As an aside, whilst there I saw some major works installing new tram tracks in the city centre. What would British politicians, the Treasury, etc think if anyone even suggested similar here?


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9 Responses to “From the LRTA blog: LRT, very user-friendly & tourist friendly transit!”

  1. Ticket to ride. « View from the 44 Says:

    […] Ticket to ride. Posted by viewfromthe44 under Uncategorized Leave a Comment  Zweisystem looks at the cost of taking the Canada Line to YVR and concludes it’s too expensive, especially when compared to the price of a cab, which is […]

    Zweisystem replies: The problem is twofold for the RAV/Canada Line: 1) YVR is just too close to downtown Vancouver and has far too much competition to justify the cost of a metro; 2) The bulk of people who work at YVR do not live close to a RAV/Canada line station, nor do they work at hours where the public transit is safe or convenient to use.

    A family example illustrates this. A relative works at YVR and most of her shifts start from 8 pm and end about 5 pm. She lives 15 minutes away to the end of the SkyTrain line is Surrey. Add 15 minute walk + 45 minute SkyTrain trip to downtown Vancouver + 10 minute transfer + 30 minute RAV Ride + 10 minute walk to work = 1 hour 50 minute travel time. Her car commute is 30 minutes.

  2. xerxster Says:

    your relative should consider taking the 410 from 22nd st station to Aberdeen station then transfer to the Canada Line, much more direct route to YVR. than transferring from waterfront.

    Zweisystem replies: You completely missed the point. Why take transit, with many transfers and a round about way, when one can drive to work in 30 minutes. The other problem is that for her and many other airport workers, transit is not operating when their work day is over. Forced transfers is the Achilles heel of RAV and of light-metro in general.

  3. Tessa Says:

    “a potential passenger must take a cab to a RAV/Canada line station with a minimum fare of $5.00 not including tip. The minimum cost of trip via RAV to the airport is $11.25”

    When I fly back to vancouver to visit my mom, I won’t take any cab. I will simply get on the Canada line and catch the at vancouver city centre, which takes me right to my door. It’s a two zone fair: it’s not $11.25, not even close. And it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than a cab, which during rush hour would take significantly longer to get home. Basically, for a large share of riders, your numbers are wrong. You’ve artificially inflated them to make it look like a worse option, and that is dishonest. Nobody “must” take a cab and you know this.

    Also, forced transfers aren’t necessarily bad if they get you there sooner. You can’t build any rapid transit that’s effective and have it going everywhere people want to go, certainly not light rail either, though it has its advantages (Fraser Valley or Surrey would be perfect places for it, same with the Evergreen line)

    Imagine a bus service with three different destinations and three different residential areas, for the sake of simplicity. A bus route between each destination and residential area would require nine routes, while three different routes could serve the same area with a transfer in the middle. Using the same number of buses, three routes could run every 10 minutes whereas the nine direct routes would run every half hour. That’s how transfers can provide better service.

    This will happen on the Canada Line assuming the bus schedules are rejigged to make use of the time they won’t be driving all the way to vancouver now. You could effectively double the number of buses on a route in Richmond without any new buses, basically service every 15 minutes instead of every half hour. That means you get where you’re going faster, it’s more reliable, and people are more likely to ride.

    Zweisystem replies: You miss the point completely, a YVR bound customer, burdened with suitcases, will have to take a cab to the nearest RAV/Canada line station and then transfer onto the metro to get to the airport and visa-versa. Very few YVR passengers have the luxury visiting relatives close to the line, Thus a RAV fare, plus the minimum taxi fare will be $11.25. People hate transferring, especial visitors burdened with luggage. You also seem to miss the point that a RAV trip from the airport to Vancouver is equal to a 3 zone fare.

    Also, Vancouver cab companies offer a $30.00 flat fare from downtown to YVR, that would be $15 per person if two people take the cab.

    Then one must take into account the Law of unintended consequences, where Limousine and Taxi companies will have to compete and it is no stretch of the imagination that limo companies already offer a $39.00 downtown to YVR trip, will offer a ‘jitney type service, with fees comparable to RAV.

    The sad fact is, RAV doesn’t offer any real incentive for the car driver to switch to transit and continues the old TransLink shell game forcing bus riders to transfer to metro then claiming how successful the metro is, while in reality has done little to mitigate auto congestion and pollution.

  4. Jo Says:

    How are any of these ‘problems’ you mention solved with light rail or not building any metro system at all? Transfers, cab rides, buses, etc, are and will be issues of any system, including one in the Fraser Valley. Cars will still be more convenient. Why build a system at all?

    “the old TransLink shell game forcing bus riders to transfer to metro”

    This isn’t some ploy by Translink. Every single metro system in the world uses buses/trams to funnel people to their main backbone system.

    Zweisystem replies: Actually no, most of the major metro systems around the world service suburban areas, unlike RAV/Canada line which services Richmond Centre only. This is where the density issue comes into fore – RAV and SkyTrain need massive densities to assure ridership numbers

    Of course this is a two edged sword as population density increases, the number of people using the car increases as well. Light rail being much cheaper to build than SkyTrain or RAV metro can be extended further into suburbia servicing transit customers. As well LRT can service more destinations than RAV as spur lines can be built far cheaper than metro. Example: The Olympic skating centre is built next to an old railway formation and the cost to build a light rail spur would be $10 million to $20 million, while the RAV/Canada line is over 1 km. away the cost to build a metro extension would be over $125 million. If LRT were to have been built instead, for the cost of a short metro spur just past Westminster Hwy., we could have built light rail to not only Steveston but to Ironwood Mall; a LRT network that could provide local services for Richmond residents to travel by light-rail to Richmond destinations. RAV/Canada line will only act as a funnel taking commuters to Vancouver.

    I just talked to transportation consultant about the 80% transfer rate from bus to SkyTrain and he agreed this was a very bad ratio indeed as a 40% ratio is more the norm. TransLink supports the myth that all buses must be cascaded onto metro, but in Europe it has found this counter productive and transit operators try to extend the light rail to residential areas. Areas not serviced by LRT still retain regular bus services to city centres, some even running parallel to light rail lines. One can lose upwards of 70% of customers per transfer and forced transfers, especially if bus customers are forced to stand in trains increases this number.

    Why build transit? Because a certain percentage of the population do not have cars and depend on a bus or public transit system, therefore it is imperative to build as much of a transit service as we can with limited funds. The question is very basic; do be build SkyTrain/metro for $125 million/km.+, or LRT with prices starting as low as $10 million/km. or about the same price as new highway construction.

  5. Jo Says:

    Is Richmond not a suburban area? I’m not understanding the distinction you made there.

    From what you’re saying it seems like you are advocating a different sort of network than what the Canada Line offers. A LRT line thoroughly servicing multiple Richmond destinations is desirable, but what If I want to go from Richmond to Vancouver? Multiple spurs and more stations in Richmond would make a journey that much longer and a car far more desirable. Why not a combination of both? A LRT network servicing Richmond, and rapid trains (Canada Line) heading downtown.

    Anyway, LRT or ALRT, neither solve the problem of transfers. A more extensive LRT system would still require them, and add to the travel times of those who don’t need to. The more spurs, the more transfers. Coming from white rock? transfer!

    Maybe its just me, but I’m always eager to get off a bus and onto the SkyTrain. It’s much faster and far more comfortable (taking the bus down Granville always boils my blood). I realize those who are losing their coach-like service will be disappointed, but it seems far more are benefiting from Canada Line.

    Zweisystem replies: RAV doesn’t serve suburbs in Richmond, it serves Richmond City centre, which means Richmond residents must drive or take a bus to RAV and the RAV/Canada line is absolutely useless for transit customers within the city.

    Modern LRT can be all things from a simple streetcar, metro and fast commuter train. In Karlsruhe Germany, one can board a tram on-street in the downtown core and alight from the same tram in Heilbronn some 125 km. later, with the tram acting as a streetcar, light rail on a dedicated R-O-W and a commuter train track-sharing on the mainline. On Karlsruhe’s first TramTrain line, by eliminating one transfer, week day ridership increased a staggering 423%, from 488,400 to 2,064,378.

    As LRT is cheaper to build, more transit lines can be built, offering many more ‘seamless’ transit journeys and such a service would provide an attractive alternative to the car.

    Note on buses in Vancouver; West Coast Mountain Bus and TransLink operates the buses very archaically. In Europe, the average distance between bus stops is about 400 to 500 metres; in Vancouver bus stops are about every 300 metres apart. More bus stops = slower service and don’t get me started on timing stops. Here is an European transit adage that TransLink has not learned: “A stopped bus gathers no passengers!”

  6. David Says:

    Jo: an LRT system with many branches means that for significantly more people there is no need to use a bus or car to reach a station and no need to transfer. More stops certainly does mean more time, but compare waiting for an infrequent bus, riding to the town centre and then transferring to a fast train to simply getting on a frequent train and riding all the way to your destination. It’s far more dramatic going the other way when the transfer from frequent train to less frequent bus has the potential for long waits.

    zweisystem: A stopped bus gathers passengers because nobody can get on a moving one 😉

    While I agree that Vancouver stops are too close together I have to disagree with your take on timing stops. It is more efficient for a transit system and its passengers for the vehicles to remain evenly spaced than to let them bunch up. Slowing down a bus that is getting ahead of schedule lets those who count on the service catch their bus and gives them a fighting chance at making transfers in a reasonable length of time. What good is saying you’ve got 4 buses per hour if they all show up in a 20 minute span and then nothing for 40 minutes?

    If you don’t believe that happens then you’ve never watched the #22 operate on Knight Street. A few years back, after watching clusters of 3 buses followed by long gaps, I wrote to TransLink suggesting they split the route in half to improve on-time performance on both sides of downtown.

    I have to admit I don’t pay much attention to the #22 any more so it’s possible things have improved. The unreliable service combined with overcrowding, lead footed drivers and bumpy roads caused me to seek alternatives. I now walk to the #33, which has European style widely spaced stops, and transfer to SkyTrain. Total journey time is roughly equal but the comfort level is higher.

  7. Oemissions Says:

    I long to live in a carfree area, and I long for light rail.
    As for cab sharing, I can’t see a great deal of that happening. People are too much into their own agenda and too stuck up to share.

    Zweisystem replies: When there is a buck to be made, taxi and limousine companies will do what their customers want, at a price what customers can afford. With TransLink it is simple: There is your new shiny new metro – NOW USE IT!

  8. David Says:

    For a family of four the total bill for Canada Line from Vancouver to YVR is $22.50. A $30 taxi with door-to-door service looks like a real bargain.

    Outside the backpacking generation I don’t expect anyone with luggage will use RAV to the airport.

  9. Oemissions Says:

    Convenience isalways the answer for drivers of automobiles. They give no consideration to how much pollution,stress and social costs this entails.The average Canadian spends $8500 per year just on maintenance for one automobile.
    The hidden costs Canadian pay in tax`dollars for uses and abuses of autos is well over $200 Billion.

    Zweisystem replies: I think you meant to maintain (insurance, maintenance, gas, etc.) a car. I do not want this to turn into an anti-car blog site and we must be frank, for many the car is the only transportation option around.

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