Floundering Public Transit and the Resurrection of the Car.

An interesting read.

TransLink, the Mayor’s Council on Transit and the provincial government should take serious note of the following, but they won’t. Riding in their cars, subsidized by generous car allowances and more, politicians remain oblivious to current issues and pretend nothing has happened.

For politicians it is “Do as I say, not as I do.”

In the spring, Zwei wrote a letter to the Premier and Ministers for Transportation about how Covid is changing ridership habits of people and that there would be better uses to spend $4.6 billion than for 12.8 km of rapid transit.

Zwei got no answer.

$4.6 billion to build 12.8 km of light metro won’t take cars off the road, will not reduce greenhouse gas emissions and will not be “green” transit.

Vancouver’s public transit system is just average; there is nothing special about it and now with Covid, people are changing their commuting habits.

Remote working from home is now growing in popularity, as well as staggered work hours and, of course, driving is the safest way to commute in our Covid stricken world.

My big fear is that there will be little money for transit fro the next decade and when the current Broadway subway and Fleetwood extension are finished, there will be little appetite for further transit improvement, as the taxpayer just will not have the money to pay for it.

Sadly, political ennui and political prestige have become the  raison d’être for transit planing and not customer satisfaction and with public transit, as with any other consumer protect, if the customer thinks he/she gets good value for money, he/she will use it, but if the customer thinks that the transit product is substandard, he/she will avoid it. Former customers are avoiding our regional transit system in droves.

The transit customer is voting with their feet and the politicians remain blind, deaf and dumb at the results.


From the BBC

Why our reliance on cars could start booming

Although many have been off the road during lockdown, research is showing that the desire to drive may surge in a post-pandemic world.

Until earlier this year, Alley Vandenbergwas a regular bus rider. She’d wake up each morning and take line 15 from her apartment in the City Park neighbourhood of Denver, Colorado, to her office at a financial institution in the bustling Civic Center Plaza. Because the commute was just 2.5 miles (4km), the investment supervisor left her car at home so she could avoid the hassle of driving through the heart of downtown at rush hour. It also saved her the $200 cost of monthly parking. Then, the pandemic threw a major wrench into her seamless commute.

“In May, when my office started asking people to return, my bus route had been cut to fewer runs, and capped at 15 riders per bus,” she says. Pre-Covid-19, the bus was always standing room only by the time it got to her, “so I knew I would just end up sitting at the bus stop for an hour or two, watching buses go by because they were already at capacity”.

This, coupled with news of riders not following guidelines for mask-wearing and social distancing, led her to swallow the additional costs and commute to work by car.

She’s hardly alone in making the change. Ridership on public transport has plummeted to historic lows both in the Americas and Europe, including on the London Underground and New York City Subway. Meanwhile, recent reports suggest that, despite our apparent embrace of biking and walking during the pandemic, many people can’t wait to get back into their vehicles. And they might even use them more after Covid-19 passes. Transport planners warn that this rapid shift back to the comfort of cars may be setting the stage for post-pandemic gridlock that could hamper economic recovery in cities across the globe.

A November report by automotive-services company RAC claims that the pandemic may have set the UK back decades in attitudes of driving versus taking public transport. Out of the 3,000 car owners surveyed, 68% considered their vehicles essential for daily errands, up from 54% last year.

The pandemic had the effect of making drivers who already had cars realise that they would depend on them more – Rod Dennis

Reluctance to use public transport was at its highest in 18 years. Some 54% of respondents said safety was a top consideration, but only 43% agreed that they would use their cars less if public transport was improved, which was the lowest figure since 2002. “The pandemic had the effect of making drivers who already had cars realise that they would depend on them more than ever,” says Rod Dennis, a data-insight spokesperson for RAC. “The million-dollar question is whether or not this is a deep-rooted change.”

The generation that has been historically least interested in car ownership, Gen Z, may offer some clues. Auto Trader, a digital marketplace for cars, says 15% of its website audience in the UK between June and September was aged 18 to 24, compared to just 6% during the same period in 2019. Rory Reid, Auto Trader UK’s YouTube director, noted that “the pandemic has shifted young people’s views of car ownership and gotten them to hit the road earlier than usual, as they look to rely less on public transport and try to minimize risk of spreading coronavirus”.

For the rest of the story, please click.



One Response to “Floundering Public Transit and the Resurrection of the Car.”
  1. Adam fitch says:

    Good points, zwei.

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