Adios TransLink?

Recent events are pointing that TransLink’s time may soonAi??come to an endAi??and a new regional (or two) transit authority(s) may come into being.

The trouble with funding for the $1.4 billion Evergreen Line and TransLink’s strict adherence with SkyTrain and or light-metro is highlighting TransLink’s endemic financial woes. TransLink is getting a rough ride from regional mayors withAi??their almost unanimous rejection of increasing property taxes to fund transit, yet TransLink continues to plan for gold plated metro lines in Surrey and Vancouver, rejecting any call to live within its means.

The provincial government is in totalAi??chaos with the announced resignation of premier Campbell over the HST andAi??will be loathe to force new taxes on the region to fund transit, with a loomingAi??leadership convection and a possible provincial election in the next 12 months. The taxpayer is financially exhausted, something which well paid regional bureaucrats fail toAi??comprehend (which lead to the HST revolt) and announcing new transit taxes is just not on the menu at this time. Calls for road pricing and bridge tolls will also suffer the same fate.

Rail for the Valley has offered a partial solution with the RftV/Leewood TramTrain report, which clearly shows that much cheaper TramTrain can be built in the region, providing a much larger ‘rail’ network for attracting the motorist from the car. For the cost of the Evergreen Line SkyTrain we can install a ‘full build’ RftV/Leewood TramTrain (Vancouver/Richmond to Rosedale), with enough money left over for a Vancouver to maple Ridge TramTrain! TransLink continues to think only in a SkyTrain box and continues to ignore an affordableAi??TramTrain solution!

More bad financial news may come TransLink’s way. Despite much hype and hoopla about the $2.5 billion plus Canada Line metro, there is no evidence that it has attracted the all important driver from the car. In fact, the opposite is happening and the forced transfer from South of the Fraser bus customers onto the RAV/Metro is deterring ridership. What new ridership TransLink is claiming is from:

  1. Elderly gamblers going to River Rock Casino.
  2. Elderly Asians shopping in the manyAi??Asian stores and mallsAi??in Richmond.
  3. Employees at YVR who park in the spacious parking lots on Sea Island and travel the short distance,Ai??free, to work on RAV.
  4. U-Pass college and university students, who are making multiple trips per day (up to 8 boardings) on $1.00 a day tickets.

What is hurting TransLink’s bottom line is that the previous categories of new riders using the RAV/Canada line are either traveling on discounted fares or riding free, which translates into higher fees (taxes)Ai??being paid to the concessionaire. Laila Yuile’s diligent research has shown that ‘shadow tolls’ are being paid on the Sea to Sky highwayAi?? and one wonders what TranslinkAi??and the provincial government is paying theAi??concessionaireAi??to operate the RAV/Canada Line?

The question that regional politicians must ask is “As Translink just does not have the will to live within its means and its selfserving doomsday senerios to scare politicians into squeeze the taxpayer for Ai??more money must end.Ai??Why not get rid ofAi??TransLink altogether and start anew?” The RftV/Leewood report has shown that transit planning by an outside transit consultant results in much more affordable transit options; so why then do we need such a ponderous planning bureacracy, well past its ‘best by date’Ai??that still plans for obsolete light-metro and rejects cheaper, yet just as efficent transit options, such as light rail?

If regional politicians do some soul searching on the transit/Translink issue, they just might come to the conclusion to say adiA?s Translink, you have over stayed your welcome.


3 Responses to “Adios TransLink?”
  1. Ron Sward says:

    When Skytrain was first planned prior to the worlds fair, I and a electrical engineer in Burnaby (I forget his name unfortunately) prepared a presentation for the GVRD who, I believe, were responsible for transit at the time. We or rather he (afterall he was the engineer) submitted a paper explaining the disadvantage of Skytrain over street level rail transport. In the paper it clearly showed that the electrical power required to run skytrain is the most inefficient use of electricity of the two options being considered. As well, we showed that for the cost of building the Expo line the GVRD could have street level rail transportation using existing unused rail from the old BC Hydro lines and new lines all over the lower mainland for the same cost.

    The argument in favour of Skytrain was to elevate the line so it wouldn’t impede traffic flow and, I believe most important for the government of the day, there would be no personel required to run the trains and therefore they would not have to deal with labour laws, wage negotiations and perhaps a strike or two. Bill Bennett was in trouble with the unions and there had been huge opposition to the SoCred government of the day. So they went with the most expensive option. Now we’re all paying through the nose.

  2. zweisystem says:

    The real reason we have SkyTrain (the CBC did a story on it but was killed on the personal orders of then Primeminister Mulroney) was that BC Premier Bill Bennett, wanted desperately to have then Ontario Premier Bill Davis’s “Blue Machine” which was a cadre of computer types and spin doctors that enabled Davis to win the Ontario provincial election. Ontario’s UTDC had an unsellable light-metro system called ICTS that was renamed ALRT to fir the Vancouver situation and the deal was made – Vancouver was forced to have ALRT instead of LRT and Bill Bennett got the Blue Machine.

  3. Justin Bernard says:

    The TTC was pressured into building ICTS in the 80′s also. The original design for what we call the Scarborough RT was to be an at-grade LRT line. UTDC pressured the TTC to switch to ICTS, and UTDC would pay for any cost overruns, and problems. The line did have overruns, and many problems, and now we’re spending hundreds of millions to replace the line with a proper LRT line. ICTS is a joke, I would take the VAL system over ICTS if need be.