Unhappy days indeed with TransLink as the organization has not learned a golden rule; that if you build metro on routes that do not have the ridership to sustain them, costly subsidies must be paid. When costly subsidies are paid, there is less money available to be invested in the transit system.
Rail for the Valley and Zweisystem have taken a lot of flack with their stand on SkyTrain and metro planning, yet Mr. Crilly’s report certainly shows that we are on the right track, when it comes to our comments on SkyTrain.
The fact is no one really knows how much SkyTrain and RAV are costing the taxpayers, with their hidden subsidies, but it is apparent that it is indeed a great sum of money, as there is little left for the rest of the transit system and new taxes must be implemented.
Over and over the echoes of new taxes are being whispered, in the form of road pricing or highway & bridge tolling.
But wait, in the UK, the hot bed of road tolling and pricing, there is a massive political backlash against those who implemented the taxes. Manchester voters recently voted against road pricing on a massive scale sending electoral chills to Labour MP’s at Westminster and London’s congestion charges are now deemed as a failure as it hasn’t curbed congestion (the congestion charges are just passed on to the consumer) and are being scaled back. Spine-tingly stuff for those who want to force road tolling and road pricing on the METRO region in Greater Vancouver.
The BC liberals should worry that the taxpayers will revolt against sitting members and that Liberal MLA’s will suffer the same fate as what happened in Delta South, where an independent candidate defeated a ‘star’ Liberal candidate in what could have been said was the safest Liberal seat in the province. But the NDP should be wary also, as a lot supporters still begrudge the party for the shameful flip-flop on from LRT to SkyTrain on the Millennium Line.
The question is, which METRO mayor will show that he/she is not afraid to bell the (TransLink) cat and their expensive, yet grossly out of date transit planning.
From the Vancouver Province
Transportation commissioner will likely approve fare increase of three to 3 1/2 per cent
TransLink should forget about a deluxe proposal to dramatically expand rapid transit all over Metro Vancouver — including the long-awaited northeast Evergreen Line.
But it might get permission to hike fares by as much as 3.5 per cent next year.
Those were among Thursday’s rulings by regional transportation commissioner Martin Crilly in his review of TransLink’s 10-year plan for its Metro Vancouver operations. The plan contains four service and funding options, each with a different set of offerings and costs.
Crilly ruled against the “Cadillac” option for massive expansion — including Evergreen — because it calls for almost $500 million a year in revenue, $175 million of which TransLink has so far failed to find a source for, he said. TransLink also failed to provide enough detail for Crilly to determine if it could work, he said.
Coquitlam residents were angry that Crilly’s position might see the line delayed.
“I’m very disappointed that it could be postponed again,” said Gail Tabor, who has lived in the city for 20 years. “We would love to have the Evergreen Line. It would be a convenience for us.
“And buses out here are not that great. Occasionally, you’ll get [a bus] in 15 minutes, but that’s rare. Most of them are a half-hour or even an hour in between, and that’s very inconvenient. A SkyTrain line would be a much better situation.”
Manou Salimi said he was “disappointed” by yet another broken promise by the B.C. Liberals.
“The government in the first place promised to build the Evergreen Line, and then now they’ve put a stop or a hold on it,” Salimi said. “People are expecting the plan to go ahead. ”
Salimi said the Evergreen Line would have cut his commute time to work by 30 minutes.
“I think people should gather together from all the communities in different areas and go to City Hall to get some answers,” he said.
Carol Stewart agreed.
“They’re a bunch of liars, they’ve been lying all along,” said Stewart, who was waiting Thursday at the Coquitlam Station bus loop. “They should never have built the other line to Richmond before they built this one. This line was promised first.”
Mayors from across Metro have until the end of October to choose one of four funding options contained in the plan.
Provincial Transportation Minister Shirley Bond has ordered the comptroller general to review TransLink’s financial position and report in by Sept. 30.
Crilly said he would likely approve TransLink’s proposed fare hike of between three and 3.5 per cent a year — instead of the two per cent permitted by law — in 2010, as the agency requested.
As for service options, Crilly said:
• TransLink’s cheapest version, which would require no new funding over the present budget but would require drastic cuts to service, was “clearly unpalatable.”
• A second option calling for $130 million in new funding would minimize cuts to service and “buy time for further planning and funding.”
• A third option to “maintain and upgrade,” in part through an vehicle levy of up to $165 a year, would strengthen existing services but not expand rapid transit.
Crilly wants the second and third options to be considered, and agreed with TransLink’s push to upgrade present service before working on the Evergreen Line.
His report said that rather than improve supply by building more transit, TransLink should improve its “demand management” — in plain English, using tolls or a congestion tax to discourage drivers and make transit a cheaper, more attractive option.
Crilly’s position on Evergreen came as no surprise to Port Moody Mayor Joe Trasolini, who has based denser development in his city on the promise the line would be built.
Trasolini said Crilly’s report strengthens the demand by area mayors that Victoria and Ottawa help with TransLink’s annual operating costs — and not just pledge capital funds for mega-projects. Victoria has to invest in transit if it wants to talk a big, environmentally friendly game, he added.
“They want the results but they don’t want to make any of the investments,” Trasolini said.
For her part, Bond noted that the provincial and federal governments have committed $827 million to build the Evergreen Line and that Victoria was “committed” to seeing it built.
Bond said she’s optimistic about ridership on the Evergreen Line — when it’s eventually built —in light of the above-expected ridership numbers on the new Canada Line.© Copyright (c) The Province
HST sinks TransLink in $57-million hole; fare hike approvedElimination of parking tax could result in drastic service cuts to Metro Vancouver commuters
Tags: C-train, commuter rail, cost per km, economic stimulus, Evergreen Line, Fraser Valley, infrastructure, interurban, Karlsruhe, light metro, light rail, NDP, passenger rail, Patrick Condon, Pattullo bridge, Port Mann Bridge, Rail for the Valley, skytrain, streetcars, study, Surrey, track-sharing, tram, trams, tramtrain, UBC SkyTrain, Vancouver