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.
Tags: Abbotsford, Chilliwack, commuter rail, cost per km, economic stimulus, Evergreen Line, Fraser River rail bridge, Fraser Valley, gateway, highway 1, infrastructure, interurban, Langley, light metro, light rail, LRT, NDP, Patrick Condon, Rail for the Valley, streetcars, study, Surrey, tram, trams, tramtrain, transit, Translink, UBC, UBC SkyTrain, VALTAC, Vancouver