The following Email came Zweisystem’s way today and is certainly contrary to the hype and hoopla of other blogs claiming that the RAV Line is almost at capacity. The author of the item, who wishes to remain anonymous, is a party who works in local transit planning. Yes, the RAV/Canada line is up and running, but so is RAV’s debt clock and the ludicrous number of 100,000 passengers a day, claimed by TransLink, for the RAV line to ‘break even’, doesn’t take into account apportioning fares between RAV and bus, discount fares and the U-pass.
Yes the U-Pass, sounds good but it is the taxpayer who will be left with higher taxes and fees to subsidies deep discounted student fares enabling them to use premium priced metros!
A complete transportation financial fiasco is just around the corner.
Imagine, not knowing what impacts a project you have been working on for 7 years would have on the other adjoining transit corridors. Despite an administration staff of over 350 people, TransLink and its subsidiaries still can’t run a transit system.
During the last three days I have driven from White Rock to downtown Vancouver, taken the bus/train from White Rock to downtown Vancouver and today took the train to the airport and to Brighouse from the Bridgeport Station. I did this during the am peak period.
My initial observations…it took 6 minutes longer to go from White Rock to Granville or City Centre Station with the bus/train journey (66 minutes). Prior to the summer, I took the 351 from White Rock to Granville and Seymour during the am peak and it took 60 minutes. My car trip on Wednesday took 43 minutes.
I witnessed very little congestion, unlike other Expo Line stations, and found ample room to stand, unlike the Expo Line cars during the am peak. The journey in the tunnel was as expected dull. I was looking for leaks along Cambie Street, but I guess we will have to wait for the real rains to arrive. Most of the people on the train were young and appeared to be students and most of them got off downtown. Very few passengers got off at the 49th ave station and very few got off at City Hall station. Only two people wearing suits were on board and they came on at 12th, City Hall and going downtown. Very few people got on the train in Vancouver. Some at Broadway heading downtown but the train had ample room for them.
The return journey from downtown Vancouver to Bridgeport in Richmond was very comfortable as only 1/4 of the seats were occupied…this is till during the am peak period. Two people had small bags heading to the airport.
Today, I rode into Richmond Centre or Brighouse. The line is single track after the Landsdowne Mall. Most people got off at either Aberdeen or Landsdowne Mall. Returning back to Bridgeport station we waited two minutes after boarding before beginning the journey. The problem with single track guideways. At no time were the cars full or congested and at no time did I see more than a B-Line bus load on any of the Rmd trains. The airport mainly had sightseers who were going on a round trip to and from the airport. Four people on board had luggage.
I began to wonder how Translink is going to find the $70 million it needs to pay for their portion of the debt and for what they need to pay Intransient BC (SNC Lavalin) for operating the line. Each transit user that uses the train will be subsidized a minimum of $2,000 a year based on Translink’s boarding numbers of 77,000 per day!
It is still to early to guage the performance of this line. Once the ‘tourist’ user has satisfied their curiosity and people settle into the Fall commuting season, we will see what is happening.
I have sent an email to two Vancouver councillors asking whether or not the City is going to do trip counts on all its southern entry points, Knight Street-Oak-Arthur Laing Bridges, to see if traffic is less or more than what it was in the past. The City usually conducts traffic trip counts in November. It would be good to get that data since number challenged Falcon believes the train will reduce daily vehicle trips by 200,000 or 40% of the entire am peak period vehicles commuting on our region’s roadways.
I have also contacted the taxi association to find out how the line is impacting their business. They will not know until mid October or after the Cruise Ship season. The airport passenger stats show that from January to June of this year, passenger numbers are down by 15% or 1.2 million passengers from last year. All segments, domestic, transborder and international numbers are down. However, the cruise ship numbers are up from last year, increased by 8%, despite less sailings.
When I asked one of the execs with the London Underground just who takes the tube from Heathrow to Piccadilly (London) he answered, the budget traveller.
A friend who recently took the train from YVR to get to his home near Trout Lake in Vancouver was happy that his journey took only 45 minutes. I said that if he had taken a taxi he would have been home in 20 minutes. So perhaps if we are talking about efficiency, we should have more taxis or even vans for multiple passengers taking people to their destinations like they do in a lot of other cities in the world. Perhaps fares for taxis could be subsidized, it would be cheaper.
Just one final note…my car journey into Vancouver was amazingly fast. I don’t know why that is. One thing I did notice…Granville Street was without buses, it was so quiet I thought I might be someplace else. However, the golden rule states, if there is capacity on a roadway, it will be filled.