More unhappiness from South of the Fraser – From the Delta Optimist – Train offers miserable experience



It seems that the RAV/Canada Line is not swaying the transit customer’s minds to happily use the metro. It’s crowded, but over crowding could be the result of TransLink deliberately underestimating Richmond and South of the Fraser buses ridership, to crow about packed trains to a very complacent media. Obviously, TransLink isn’t operating enough capacity on the RAV/Canada line, to meet the capacity of buses serving the metro. Why is there not enough cars to handle all the bus traffic serving the metro?

One clue is that TransLink exaggerated vehicle capacity by 20%, when in fact car capacity is 163 persons as advertised elsewhere by ROTEM and not 200 persons as advertised by TransLink. This translates into a calculated lack of capacity, crowded trains, and unhappy transit customers. The letter also points to the fact that RAV is heavily used by people with concession fares or U-Passes, which means less revenue for TransLink. If one apportions fares for the U-pass, the RAV/Canada Lines share of revenue for a student is $8.33 to $12.50 a month! One can’t fund a metro at those prices and certainly points to the reason why TransLink is in a fiscal free-fall.

Also the RAV/Canada line seems not to have taken a car off the road and those 200,000 car trips off the road as promised by premier Campbell and other politicians are mere ‘pixie dust‘ promises, meant for the ever complacent mainstream media who continually mistake political hyperbole for news.

Here is a question that should cause one to think: “If the RAV/Canada Line is at capacity now, how can it cope with an estimated 30% higher ridership during the Olympics?”

Train offers miserable experience

the Delta Optimist


It’s been approximately six weeks now since we lost our direct 601 bus service into Vancouver. I, like a lot of transit users, have had to ride the Canada Line.

For many commuters this means two bus rides and the Canada Line to get to the same place they used to get to by just riding the 601. My transit time has increased by 25 minutes.

It is not only the time and inconvenience of this but the actual experience is miserable. I rarely get a seat on the Canada Line, which is usually crowded with many people dragging luggage, strollers, carrying skateboards and bringing their bikes on board.

Getting on and off is particularly hazardous and the chance of tripping is great, especially for seniors. Plus, on several occasions, I have witnessed pushing and shoving to get onboard. There are few seats on the Canada Line and most people have to stand.

There are no seats or benches at the Bridgeport station where the 601 goes now and many of us have stood and waited for up to a half hour for the bus. If it is later at night you can stand for an hour.

I have heard many stories of how people’s lives have been disrupted since the loss of the 601 into Vancouver. One woman, who is brain damaged, used to ride into town to visit friends. She could do so as it was one bus ride. Now she cannot go as she cannot handle the frustration of transferring and waiting.

A senior who has never driven cannot get off and on the six times involved in going into town and coming back, plus there is no guarantee of a seat.

Another person has a mentally handicapped niece who used to ride from Vancouver to the exchange to visit. She can no longer do this without being accompanied.

Also, I know of many people who are now driving after commuting by transit for years.

For many of us the loss of the direct 601 service into Vancouver is a frustrating, time-consuming experience. For others, it is a barrier and their quality of life and enjoyment has been diminished.

TransLink has to get 100,000 riders on the Canada Line a day or it has to subsidize its private partner. How many lives are affected or what are the transit needs of our community is not a concern for them.

Now TransLink has announced there will be a fare increase for what is essentially a decreased service for many.

I have an appointment in Vancouver this week and I’m driving. I have stood all the way into Vancouver in crowded cars, been pushed by those onboard and been nearly tripped too many times now. Riding the Canada Line is not worth the risk.

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4 Responses to “More unhappiness from South of the Fraser – From the Delta Optimist – Train offers miserable experience”

  1. mezzanine Says:

    “Why is there not enough (canada line) cars to handle all the bus traffic serving the metro?”

    Even Zweisystem agrees that the canada line is heavily used and should be expanded!

    Currently daily ridership is ~83000 in September, up from the mid 70s in August.

    Compared to Seattle’s just-as-expensive link LRT, which gets 14500 daily in August, aiming for 25000 by the end of December.

    Zweisystem replies: Sorry Mezzanine, 80,000 (as claimed by TransLink) riders a day doesn’t justify a metro/subway system. Unless the RAV/Canada Line carries 400,000 to 500,000 a day then a metro solution is justified. Remember 80,000 rides a day on the RAV/Canada Line translates into about 40,000 actual people using the metro of which over 80% first take a bus to the metro, this means the metro is being subsidize by the bus, hardly a good state of affairs. Most of the ridership on the RAV/Canada line seem to be students or older people who have no transportation alternative.

    Sorry Mezz, the RAV/Canada line is a massive financial sinkhole!

  2. Jim Says:

    I think where you went wrong was believing that Mr. Campbell would keep any promise he’s made. That is of course just my opinion.

  3. David Says:

    During the first week of September (before school went back) I rode Canada Line to and from work a couple of days to try it out. On one trip I happened to wind up squished against a Canada Line employee for the journey from Waterfront to Oakridge. She told me some interesting things like the fact that they have 20 trains, but TransLink was only paying them to operate 14.

    According to the employee I spoke with funding to the private operator is dependent on five things: availability of trains, on time performance, fare compliance, system cleanliness and a fifth item that I can’t recall just now.

    I learned that because compliance is a major factor in getting paid by TransLink, Canada Line staff are required to spend 30% of their work day checking fares.

    Riding Canada Line just 4 times I was checked for my fare more times than I’ve been checked on SkyTrain all year. No doubt the fact that the revenue from fare evasion fines goes to the Provincial Government and NOT to TransLink is a major reason why they don’t bother checking SkyTrain passengers. Of course the other reason is that most passengers arrive by bus and compliance aboard the buses is excellent.

    Seattle must be one of the worst cities in the entire world at getting value for their transportation infrastructure investments. They built freeways until they had traffic jams rivalling those in Los Angeles, spent $468 million building a tunnel for buses that could have taken over a downtown street for the cost of some paint and a few signs, wasted nearly two decades trying to fund a monorail, spent $2 billion on grade separated LRT on a highly dubious route and have now decided that the best way to replace their dilapidated elevated freeway is to spend an estimated $4.2 billion digging a massive tunnel for a freeway under the city.

    Vancouver is close behind Seattle in the race to waste the most money. After spending a fortune on three ineffective metro lines we’ve now turned to expanding freeways in the vain hope that we can succeed where none have in the past.

    Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

    Zweisystem replies: I predicted this a decade ago.

    I am no fan of the Seattle hybrid light metro/rail system, which seemed to be planned by engineers with no understanding of light-rail and the Seattle LRT certainly shows it with poor ridership; yet they plan more, with a 5 km. subway to the university. There is much evidence that Seattle’s transit planners copied Vancouver’s transit planning with much grade separated rights-of-ways, either in tunnel or viaduct. Where it runs at-grade, stations are few and far between, which again deters ridership. Personally I believe the LRT should have gone North from Seattle’s downtown core along the Aurora/Hwy.99 route which has a somewhat higher density than its present Southernly route. But of course the monorail was to have been built on this route so the so-called LRT was built South of the city.

    Seattle’s hybrid LRT is poorly planned and poorly executed and will become a financial sink-hole.

  4. Justin Bernard Says:

    I have to agree on the Seattle Light Rail. I once defended it’s route, now I see it was intended to emulate a portion of the previous failed HRT plan of the 60’s. Seattle had a chance to build a decent system, instead they choose to build a system to accomodate long distance riders with high speeds, and few stations. No good.

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