Re: Bus Rapid Transit sounds attractive – on the surface, June 3.
Columnist Frank Bucholtz’s article, in many respect, hits the nail squarely on the head.
The key phrase “transit sounds attractive” has been the bane of our regional transportation system for years. Proposals sound good; however what appeared attractive turns out, in the end, to be a nightmare.
Consider this: the Canada Line was a proposal designed to satisfy the minimum requirements of the Olympic committee demands as a condition to secure the Winter Olympics for Vancouver. The Canada Line was not a project based upon the long-term mass-transit needs of a rapidly growing society, the very essence of the rationale for determining the need for such a system. It was a plan to meet the Vancouver Olympic Committee’s short-term needs to secure the Olympics for Vancouver at all costs.
The official opening for the Canada Line was in August 2009. Now, less that two years later, the line is swamped and does not cope well with large volumes of passenger traffic. During the morning rush, by the time trains from Richmond reach Bridgeport Station, they are near-full, leaving many passengers to wait for the next train from the airport. Station platforms are small and, in peak hours, congested. This could be dangerous.
Incoming and outgoing passengers impede each other, due to limited stairways and escalators. Stations have been designed to accommodate two passenger cars, with no consideration to future needs to add cars.
Did not someone stop to think in the initial construction stages that if stations were made to be expandable, huge costs could be saved in the future? I think not; remember, we were focused on the Olympics!
Toronto, in the early 1970s, put a future-looking plan into place for its transportation system that is paying dividends today. There is no chance of that here.
As Surrey and other districts look at transportation needs of their communities, they better take a long, hard and serious look to the future and think outside the box.
As Bucholtz points out, the bus system is designed to move passengers to SkyTrain and Canada Line terminals, which will compound the “bottleneck” problem.
Bucholtz also points to transit projects that “can’t get funded,” which is not surprising, as a totally inefficient fare system is in place. Finally, there is some suggestion a turnstile system will be introduced. The honour system does not work; that fact is pretty blatant when the ticket-vending machines are only busy when green-jacketed Canada Line staff are at the entrances checking tickets.
Is it any wonder why transit projects can not be funded when the fare system tolerates abuse?
There are exceptional mass-transit systems in service around the world. Transit officials visited many of them at considerable taxpayer cost, and it seems little was learned. The result, Vancouver’s system falls far short of what might have, or could have been in place today.
L.N. Giles, Surrey