TransLink is broke and needs tax money for the Evergreen light-metro line, so in an all too expected ‘Greenwash‘ news release it is “Good news everyone, Vancouver’s commuters go green!” The problem with TransLink, they have cried ‘wolf’ too often and their surveys and studies are just about as believable as a Nigerian Email.
Here is TransLink’s problem, they have spent vast sums of money on prestigious metro projects ($8 billion+ so far) and there has been little noticeable change in commuter habits, especially a modal shift from car to transit. TransLink’s methods of compiling statistics are highly questionable and very few people, except the die-hards, actually believe Translink tells the truth. American transit expert, Gerald Fox’s divesting critique of TransLink’s Evergreen Line Business Case…….
………and the current deliberate anti-LRT spin in the Fraser Valley that LRT can’t carry more than 10,000 persons per hour per direction(about half of what LRT can carry), are but a few reasons not to believe anything TransLink says. As mentioned before, TransLink needs money and a positive news release is one way to get the public and political attention, in their quest for ever higher taxes to fund the transit system. TransLink’s modus operandi is “There’s a sucker born every minute!” and TransLink’s bureaucrats think the taxpayers are suckers.
The current recession, loss of quality downtown jobs, the Olympic surge and extremely deep discounted U-Passes are probably the reasons why TransLink is trumpeting their statistics so, but who believes TransLink? Gullible reporters, in TransLink friendly newspapers it seems. The problem of believable statistics, could be solved by an annual or biannual audit of TransLink by the Auditor General as part of his mandate, but the government refuses to fund such a venture and we are left with TransLink’s mishmash of self serving statistics that can be bent and twisted to suit any occasion.
The following quote sums up TransLink’s believability: “The problem with TransLink is that you can never believe what it says; TransLink never produces a report based on the same set of assumptions.” Former West Vancouver Clr. Victor Durman, Chair of the GVRD (now METRO) Finance Committee.
Metro Vancouver commuters go green by traveling less
Lower Mainland residents make one million fewer trips per day, surveys show
By ANDREA WOO, Vancouver SunApril 9, 2010
METRO VANCOUVER – Lower Mainland residents are choosing greener commuting options and tackling more tasks per trip, according to two TransLink surveys released Thursday.
There were 5.9-million total trips, in cars and on transit, bike and foot, recorded on a typical day in 2008 — about one million fewer than in 2004. The decline is a dramatic reversal of a decade-long trend in which the number of trips grew by about one million every five years.
From 2004 to 2008, driving as a mode of transportation declined by 3.8 percentage points, while other modes saw modest increases.
Biking and walking increased by 0.7 percentage points, taking transit increased by 1.7 points and traveling as a car passenger increased by 1.3 points.
The surveys, conducted over several months in the fall of 2008, offer insight into travel patterns of people in the Lower Mainland. TransLink uses the information to shape the region’s travel network and implement improvements.
The results follow TransLink initiatives such as TravelSmart and RideShare, which urge households to get around in a sustainable way.
“We’re just trying to get people to think about whether you need to be alone in that car, or whether you can take somebody else,” said TransLink spokesman Drew Snider.
“Getting people to do that is going to help us achieve the goal of less than 50 per cent driver-in-car trips by 2040.”
One of the surveys measured how many people passed through 33 critical points in Metro Vancouver’s transportation network, including Burrard Inlet, the SkyTrain west of Main Street and the Port Mann, Alex Fraser and Knight Street bridges.
At the same time, TransLink conducted its Regional Trip Diary survey, in which almost 18,000 households reported through telephone and mail-in surveys their commuting patterns, including how may trips they made in a 24-hour period, where they went, how they got there, and their purpose.
Survey data were only recently finalized, said Snider.
Looking solely at the percentage of work trips in the Lower Mainland, 16.6 per cent were made by transit, ranking fourth in Canada behind Metro Toronto (22.2 per cent), Montreal (21.4 per cent) and Ottawa-Gatineau (19.4 per cent).
Also among findings was a decrease in total trips per person per day. Lower Mainland residents averaged 2.65 in 2008, down from 3.42 in 2004, 3.04 in 1999 and 2.86 in 1994.
TransLink attributes the change to trip-chaining, where people run multiple errands all in one go.
A surprising find was the morning driving pattern among residents living south of the Fraser River. While surveyors expected most drivers during the morning rush to head toward Vancouver, they found the majority of trips took place within the same area.
In Surrey, for example, 70 per cent of morning peak period trips by car ended within the region, with only seven per cent of drivers travelling into Vancouver. “Rather than arrows pointing from Surrey, Langley, White Rock and Delta all into Vancouver, the arrows going every which way,” said Snider. “They were going Surrey to Surrey, Langley to Langley, Langley to Delta.”