Will The Tesla Trump Transit?

Good old Zwei is getting on and he does not observe the transit system as he once did, but with Covid in mind and “huff and puff” coming from regional mayors about transit, good old Zwei will make an observation; “The Tesla and the current tranche of electric cars now roaming metro Vancouver’s streets and roads, make current billion dollar investments obsolete before the first “yard” of cement is poured for light-metro expansion.

The cheapest electric cars for sale in Canada range between $38,000 to $45,000, not including government grants and exemptions. The electric car is well within the grasp of the middle class. This will only cascade more cars in metro Vancouver.


Watching a main arterial during rush hour the other day, I saw a parade of electric cars pass by, most with one occupant, but when the express buses went by only 5 to 10 seats were filled.

One wonders if those driving electric cars were former transit customers?

My neighbour just purchased an electric car for family use but his daughter is now commuting to UBC from Delta as “it is much faster and safer”; according to him.

“Before with the bus, she had a 2 hour commute with two transfers and that was only if she made the transfer connection on time. It made late night travel dangerous and even longer as buses sometimes did not run to schedule. with the car she can be at UBC in an hour.”

South Delta and South Surrey used to have a direct express bus service to downtown Vancouver, but with the opening of the Canada line and a secret deal inked between the province of BC and TransLink  with the operating concessionaires, SNC lavalin and the Caisse du Depot, that all South Fraser bus routes must terminate at Bridgeport Station to forcibly transfer bus customers to the Canada line light metro.

Predicted ridership did not materialize and despite politcal hype and hoopla, the Canada line did not attract the all important driver from the car.

Provincial government meddling with the transit system, slowly making it into a social service rather operating transit as a business, has further degraded the the transit system.

The 8-lane tunnel, replacing the perfectly good Massey Tunnel is testament of TransLink’s complete failure in providing a user friendly bus service South of the Fraser as the major highway expansion associated with the new tunnel is designed to accommodate more cars.

A quote from Facebook sums up the transit problem:

I live in Mt Pleasant and a few years ago my work moved to Delta from East Van. I lasted about 8 months on transit; 3 buses and 1 Skytrain in the hodgepodge of a system, until I ended up getting my first electric car because the commute was so vile. Does anyone who has any say in transit here actually use it?
Who knew, indeed.

From my observations, it seems the electric car has trumped TransLink for those commuting South of the Fraser and makes me wonder if the current multi billion SkyTrain light metro expansion is just flushing transit money down the toilet.



5 Responses to “Will The Tesla Trump Transit?”
  1. Haveacow says:

    Even with the government grants, it’s not worth it for me yet until they find a better way to charge the vehicles. It takes far too long to be practical or attempt any unplanned longer distance travel. For cities the basic cost of owning a car has become too much for an ever growing slice of society. When you have private car insurance constantly increasing in price and no provincial car insurance agency here in Ontario and Quebec. Those prices by the way, don’t include all the features and add-ons that most people want in their cars. When taxes are included you are looking at $50,000-$60,000 that’s before the government rebates kick in. Transit is safe for quite a while.

    Electric cars don’t solve traffic issues, the problem is that both electric and fossil fuel powered cars take up physical space and there is just not enough physical space in our cities. Giving cars more space just destroys the environment of our cities for people. We need far far fewer cars, not more, regardless if people find it more convenient or more private, its bad for humanity as a whole. You still are using a whole whack of petroleum for an electric vehicle. We only burn about 30% of our petroleum for fuel and heating. The petroleum you think you are saving is simply turned into more plastics and fibreglass bodies, circuit boards, coloring dies for paint, dashboard/seating appolstry. Remember 4 out of every 5 consumer products made by humanity has petroleum as a key ingredient. That’s where the majority of our petroleum goes. Let’s not forget how massively toxic our car and vehicle batteries are as well.

    Zwei replies: I do not disagree, but the preponderance of electric cars in metro Vancouver is something to think about. I have now chatted with 8 people who drive electric and all but one said that they have given up on transit for various reasons.

  2. Avery Johnson says:

    I don’t really see why you insist on the importance of transit for people in low density far flung exurbs. If you have a two hour commute that that’s a personal choice you made so that you could avoid living near people. I see no reason why the government should subsidize those that lifestyle. Public transit can never compete with the car in most of these regions because they are entirely composed of strip malls, big box stores, and spread out and low density single family homes. That’s not really the kind of land use planning that will ever have substantial public transit usage, especially since many people move to these places because they love driving their cars.

    In Vancouver most of our untapped transit growth is in the much better planned and higher density Burrard peninsula so we should focus on growing that area and improving transit there. Culturally the exurbs are a dead end when it comes to transit because people move to these places so they don’t have to mix with poor people.

    Zwei relies: you don’t have a clue do you, just reading from the script. Your arrogance is telling.

  3. zweisystem says:

    Just to be clear, in 1999, I was able to catch a 602 bus, in Tsawwassen and be in my store located at Richards and Hastings within 65 to 70 minutes, total commute. Just pre covid, I went to a meeting in Vancouver, Pacific Centre and the total commute was 90 minutes and that was using the Canada Line. If I had drove to town, it would be 55 to 60 minutes.

  4. Jardin says:

    Electric car owners will be in shock when they need to replace the battery. Those lithium batteries are mined from natural resources. Lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles are made from certain elements including carbon or graphite, a metal oxide, and lithium salt.Much of the lithium used for electric car batteries comes from South America, specifically in the Andes Mountains that run through Chile, Argentina and Bolivia. There are also deposits in China and the U.S. which are mined from rock.The batteries currently in use in electric vehicles last for over 10 years. However, if you overcharge or drain the battery too much, or you live in a warmer climate, this could contribute to battery degradation and a shorter lifespan.

    People in south delta are always complaining about the tunnel. What do you recommend? Extend the Canada line and upgrade the capacity or add more buses?

    Zwei replies: Funding?

Leave A Comment