Archive for November 17th, 2009

Post number 300 and many more to come.

November 17, 2009

This post marks the 300th posting on the Rail for the Valley Blog and congratulations to (now) Dr. John Buker for all his efforts with the valley rail project. When John asked me to post for the RFV blog, I don’t think he expected such a “stormy petrel“. I have tried hard to keep the blog current on rail projects around the globe, as well, inform local enthusiasts of the history and application of modern public transit.

The Seattle’s monorail versus LRT debate – Same story, different players!”   remains the number one post, with “The SkyTrain lobby – “Pixie Dust planning””  and  “Is LRT becoming the new Light-Metro?”  second and third respectively. The large daily viewing of Seattle’s monorail scheme, certainly shows we has as many readers South of the boarder as we do here.

Our readers responses to the various posts are informative and very welcome.

The RFV blog is just not a local blog, but we also have many international readers and not just in the USA, but in the UK, Finland, Russia, and elsewhere, which continues my task to keep postings interesting.

There is going to be some changes in the New Year, with more posts from guest contributers, to give a different opinion on transportation in the region. As well, the new year will bring some very interesting events, which will make Rail For The Valley front and centre for the Return of the Interurban debate in the Fraser Valley. 2010 will be a good year for valley transportation.


To Toll Or Not to Toll – That is The Question

November 17, 2009

There is a current push to implement Road Pricing or Road Tolls in the region by various levels of government, to help fund public transit. The problem is, Road pricing or tolling will not work unless there is a viable public transit alternative in place. There isn’t and road pricing will fail and those politicians who implemented Road Pricing will face electoral oblivion.

The problem is the region doesn’t have a viable public transit alternative as the present bus/SkyTrain light-metro model has failed to attract the motorist from the car, or more simply buses do not attract ridership. We have squandered over $8 billions of dollars to date on light-metro, where 80% of its ridership must first take a bus to use. Instead of three disjointed light-metro lines, the region could have had over nine light rail lines, serving more destinations; more destinations means a more attractive transit service. Nine LRT/streetcar lines translates in almost twenty-seven actual light rail routes, providing a network that would provide the incentive for the all important car driver to use.

We must also remember that road pricing isn’t as well received as many promoters here would have us think, even London’s Congestion Tax is not working as well as many would have us think, as congestion is again approaching pre-tax levels and goods and services have increased within the congestion zone as the cost of the tax is downloaded onto the consumer. Also kept secret is the amount of subsidy paid to businesses within the congestion zone who could show a loss of business to the new tax.

In Manchester, voters rejected a comprehensive road pricing scheme by a large margin, leaving transportation planning in tatters.

In theory, road pricing and/or congestion charging looks good, but in the real world there are many problems to overcome. For the METRO region, road pricing or congestion charging will only work if there is a viable public transit alternative and again, buses are not a viable alternative. Only when the METRO region adopts and offers a large light-rail, streetcar or trams network of 300 km. or more, will road pricing be accepted.

If not, woe to the politicians who forces this on to the public. 

From the UK Department of Transport.