An interesting letter that appeared in the Tri-City news, reflecting that transit service during the Olympics wasn’t all what TransLink claimed. The reason for reproducing the letter is that Zwei has heard from several people that the regional transit system wasn’t working as advertised and many just took the car instead.
Olympic transit wasn’t as good as the hype
Re. “Olympics proved ready to roll (with more cash), says CEO” (The Tri-City News, March 12).
I guess TransLink’s CEO did not bother to actually ride any part of the region’s transit system himself during the Olympics.
My family and I thought we would take the West Coast Express downtown one Saturday during the Games. The earliest train was 1 p.m. and we arrived an hour early just in case. We were told the train was standing-room-only in Mission and officials weren’t sure if there was going to be room when it got to our station. We were then informed that no one got on or off in Port Coquitlam and that they were going to order buses (they hadn’t done so yet?). I heard a least 50 people were left on the platform in PoCo. I saw the parking lot at Coquitlam fill up and then empty as people were turned away, not even allowed to buy a ticket.
We were then informed a bus would be coming and I thought that wasn’t so bad — a bus ride down town. But I was then told that bus would not take us downtown but to a SkyTrain station. I reminded officials I paid extra for the West Coast Express to be taken downtown, not to an already overloaded SkyTrain system.
At that point, we decided to drive, despite all the warnings not to. There was no traffic and parking was a breeze — and cost us only $7, not the almost $30 I had paid to TransLink. To top it off, we beat the train downtown. We enjoyed the festivities especially knowing we weren’t stuck to a train schedule going home. Again, on the drive home, there were no traffic issues. In the meantime, people I know who took the train said the first one home was a gong show.
I let everyone I knew not to take transit but to drive instead and heard similar stories of no traffic and easy, cheap parking with no hassles.
So while TransLink can claim it was running double the system’s normal capacity, it likely didn’t count the hundreds (thousands?) who gave up and either didn’t go or drove instead, or the frustrations and long line-ups as buses or trains went by full.
The Tri-Cities were definitely not well-served during the Olympics and spending over a billion dollars on the planned Evergreen Line to funnel everyone from this area into an already overcrowded system will not help.
I used to take one bus downtown and it would take an hour door to door. The billion-plus investment into the Evergreen Line will mean it would cost me more money to ride, take me longer and more transfers then the bus did. That is progress?