Letters

Transit and transportation are on the minds of local residents, which is a good thing because the more people who want real change for transit will demand it of their politicos.

Nothing wrong with Massey Tunnel

Published: September 30, 2013

Re: Massey Tunnel replacement.

At first glance, the premier’s announcement for a new bridge sounds good, but when one studies the offer of a new bridge, a lot of disturbing questions surface.

The Massey Tunnel does not need to be replaced, as it just had a large and expensive seismic upgrade. In fact one could lay another tube next to the tunnel to expand vehicle and transit capacity at a much lower cost.

It seems that lobbyists for the port authority have convinced the premier to get rid of the tunnel so they can deepen the river to allow massive bulk carriers to reach Surrey docks to load coal and oil. But wasn’t the Robert’s Bank super-port created so massive bulk carriers did not need to travel up the Fraser, saving time, large pilotage fees and taxpayer dollars for regular comprehensive dredging?

What about the extra traffic the 10-lane bridge will dump into Richmond? The tunnel, having only four lanes, provided passive traffic calming, regulating the flow of traffic. All the new bridge will do is move gridlock to the next choke points, the Knight and Oak Street bridges.

There is no mention of easing congestion on the lonely Queensborough bridge, which is older than the Massey Tunnel and is at capacity almost all day. Unless there is a new bridge to Vancouver, gridlock will be endemic on the 99 and 91 highways in Richmond and New Westminster.

The proposed bridge makes a farce of improving transit south of the river as the Liberal government is investing in “rubber on asphalt” with single occupancy cars, leaving transit mainly for the poor, the elderly, and students.

The hypocrisy associated with the bridge knows no bounds, with many mayors wanting a referendum for the bridge, yet decrying one for TransLink funding, but on the whole stating referendums are not really democratic. What are regional mayors and the premier afraid of, an outbreak of true democracy?

The timing of the proposed bridge is designed to give leverage to the South Delta Liberal candidate in the 2017 election.

The proposed crossing, which will be tolled, is all about pleasing political friends, winning elections, and leaving legacies, not improving traffic flows or improving regional transit.

 

Malcolm Johnston

Delta

 

Use the tunnel for rail

 

The Massey Tunnel would be ideal for a commuter rail linking the Richmond SkyTrain with South Surrey and Langley.

A light rail route linking the South Fraser region with Richmond would make the best use of the Massey Tunnel and would utilize the existing infrastructure of the old Interurban commuter railway.

Linking Surrey light rail to Richmond would vastly increase ridership on South Fraser light rail and ensure its success.

Glen Churchman

 

Transit woes continue in North Surrey

Published: September 30, 2013

 

I live in Surrey and I take transit to work in Vancouver every day.  I first catch a bus at 104 Avenue and 146 Street which takes me to the Surrey Central SkyTrain station then I take the train downtown.

Until recently there were four separate buses that regularly travelled westbound along 104 Avenue to the Surrey Central SkyTrain station: the 337 (every 15 minutes); the 509 (every 20 minutes); the 590 (every 20 minutes); and, the 320 (every 15 minutes). Only one of these buses, the 320, stops at all stops on 104 Avenue. The other three are all express buses.

There is a fifth bus that does make all stops on 104 Avenue, the 501, but it does not operate during the morning rush hour.

During rush hour when school is in, the 320 frequently drives right past my stop packed to the rafters with passengers and I and many others find ourselves waiting 15 or 20 minutes for the next bus. Meanwhile the other three express buses roar by with greater frequency and are usually only half full with passengers.

Once I do get on a bus I find that there are often upwards of 30 or more people standing in the aisle. Likewise on the return trip home.

The 320 runs every 15-20 minutes in the evening and is frequently late and at times when I get to the Surrey Central SkyTrain station there are upwards of 80 passengers waiting to catch this bus.

For the past five years I have been asking TransLink to solve this problem of overcrowding on the 320.

I thought the solution was relatively simple and inexpensive.  All TransLink had to do was tell the drivers of the 337, 509 or 590 that if they see people at any of these affected stops during rush hour to stop and pick them up. But no, TransLink’s solution was for me to catch the 320 headed in the completely opposite direction of my intended direction, ride it for five or six stops, then get off the bus and cross the road and catch the 320 heading in the direction I want to travel before it fills up. I have also been told repeatedly by TransLink that their long-term plan has been to put articulated buses on the 320 run but first they have to find it in their budget to buy some buses.

TransLink started another new bus route that goes down 104, the 96 B-line. All of the buses on this run are articulated buses and they run every 12 minutes.

I thought the problem was being solved but the B-Line doesn’t stop at our stops. Also, because they have added this new route they have reduced the frequency of the 320 (from every 12 minutes to every 15 minutes) making it even more likely that there will be more drive-bys because those buses will fill up even more and sooner.

Since the new 96 B-line is so under-utilized, why not put all of those articulating buses on to the more heavily used, over-crowded 320 route? Doesn’t that sound reasonable?

Well, it does not seem to resonate with TransLink. The problem continues.

John Werring

Surrey

Transit changes make no sense

Published: September 30, 2013

I am writing to voice my condemnation of the recent changes to the 320 Surrey Central/Fleetwood bus service with the introduction of the 96 B-Line.

For a short while recently, the 320 ran almost every few minutes.  That was extreme and a waste of money and manpower. Now it has been reduced to every 15 minutes.

Scheduling the 320 runs somewhere between these extremes and closer to what is was before the change – i.e. nine- to 10-minute intervals – would be prudent at least during morning and evening rush hours.

As I stand in the long line-up at Surrey Central SkyTrain station waiting for the 320 to go home every weekday evening, I see the 96 B-Line buses zooming back and forth every seven minutes with maybe only a couple of dozen people in them. How many transit users benefit from this service?  Perhaps a small number of people in Newton who want to go shopping at the new Guildford mall?   Again, a waste of money and manpower. Maybe the mall should subsidize the B-Line.

I cannot rationalize what TransLink was thinking. How are the ever-growing numbers of us who have abodes along the 320 route from the Surrey Central SkyTrain station to Fleetwood supposed to commute to and from work on a daily basis in reasonable time?  If TransLink is over their budget, why are they instituting a new service that is not being used to its fullest extent and penalizing the 320 bus service that is?

This further clarifies that TransLink has no comprehension into how to spend their finances wisely.

If however, TransLink is intent on screwing us out of reasonable service on this very busy route, they should use the big B-Line buses on the 320 route – at least then the two busloads of people waiting in line during rush hour periods could all get on, and the second busload would not be left behind waiting for the next bus.  Use the regular-size buses for the B-Line.

 

J. Jordan

Surrey

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