Re: We’re caught in a loop of transit shortcomings, Nov. 30 column.
Frank Bucholtz’s column left out important facts that may help your readers understand how TransLink’s recently approved plan for Phase 1 of the 10-Year Vision will benefit residents across Metro Vancouver, including south of the Fraser.
Bucholtz correctly points out the Phase 1 plan is a “catchup move.” In fact, after seven years without any significant transit expansion in the region, our service is straining – our population has grown by 250,000, without any new service hours.
The Phase 1 plan is specifically designed to help us fix those routes experiencing critical overcrowding, many of which are in the fast-growing south of the Fraser area.
The Mayors’ Council also wanted to ensure Phase 1 went beyond just catching up, and approved five of the 11 new B-Lines proposed in the full 10-Year Vision, and deliver service to five communities currently unserved by transit, including three south of the Fraser.
All told, bus service will increase by 15 per cent south of the Fraser, as compared to 10 per cent region-wide. Expo Line SkyTrain service, which connects Surrey to the rest of the region, will see a 14 per cent increase. Much of this increase will start rolling out as early as January.
The Pattullo Bridge replacement project has not been delayed. It remains on schedule for completion by 2022, as is Surrey-Langley rapid transit. These increases south of the Fraser are hardly “deficient,” as Bucholtz suggests, especially when compared against other areas.
Nevertheless, the mayors agree with what they heard from the public during the consultation that preceded the plan’s approval: Phase 1 does not go far enough and the region must stay committed to deliver the entire 10-Year Vision.
As TransLink and the Mayors’ Council take the next steps to secure funding commitments for Phase 2, residents will have another opportunity to provide input, so we can ensure improvements continue to bring benefits in all communities.
Michael Buda, Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation