Surrey Leader – COLUMN: Paying for poor service

COLUMN: Paying for poor service

By Frank Bucholtz – Surrey North Delta Leader

Published: October 22, 2010 11:00 AM

Updated: October 22, 2010 11:26 AM

Despite millions of dollars spent in the past decade to improve transit service in the Metro Vancouver region, Surrey, Delta and White Rock continue to get shafted.

TransLink has added bus routes, boosted the fleet and vigorously promoted transit. After a shaky start from its beginnings in the late 1990s, it has done a good job on the whole, and service during the 2010 Winter Olympics was its high-water mark.

However, most of the improvements have happened north of the Fraser, where the transit system has been long-established. There was no public transit to speak of in Surrey until the 1970s, and expansion here has been at a snailA?ai??i??ai???s pace. It is always a lower priority than expansion in Vancouver.

Meanwhile, the City of Surrey has spent millions of dollars on roads. Surrey has taken on the challenge of making many major roads four-lane thoroughfares, and has improved traffic signal co-ordination in many places as well to keep traffic moving. Traffic circles are becoming far more common as well.

But traffic flow is barely improving.

ThatA?ai??i??ai???s because there are thousands of people moving into Surrey each year, and many have vehicles. If they have jobs, they have to have vehicles, because the transit service in Surrey remains substandard.

IA?ai??i??ai???ve had more of an up-close opportunity to observe this trend in recent months. A member of my household is attending Simon Fraser University, with most classes at the Surrey campus. SheA?ai??i??ai???s been using the transit system, taking full advantage of the U-Pass that all SFU students get (and pay for through student fees).

While bus service is direct and frequent, it is slow. Traffic along Fraser Highway, most of which has been four-laned in the past decade, moves at a crawl through much of Fleetwood and west of Green Timbers.

The 502 bus is frequently overflowing with passengers. Another household member tried to catch the bus at Surrey Central station this week, at the tail end of the evening rush hour. She had to wait for the third bus before she could board A?ai??i??ai??? the others were too full to handle any more passengers.

The 502 and other bus routes that connect to SkyTrain tend to be well-used, but people trying to go from place to place in Surrey along many major streets have infrequent bus service, with poor connections. Thus taking the bus isnA?ai??i??ai???t a realistic option if your time is valuable.

At present, there are no concrete plans to improve Surrey bus service. TransLink canA?ai??i??ai???t even find the money to build the Evergreen rapid transit line in Coquitlam, and is looking at a property tax increase to do so A?ai??i??ai??? despite opposition from mayors.

While TransLink has recently unveiled a study looking at rapid transit expansion in Surrey, which could include SkyTrain expansion and fast buses, it really doesnA?ai??i??ai???t mean much. It clearly has no money for any addition to SkyTrain, which is very expensive to build, and the study didnA?ai??i??ai???t even consider the old Interurban rail line as an option.

Unless TransLink gets a major and ongoing infusion of funds from the federal and provincial governments, it will be fortunate to maintain the service levels it has today.

Meanwhile, Surrey keeps paying, and being asked to pay far more, even though no improvements are likely.

via Surrey Leader – COLUMN: Paying for poor service.

Category: News Articles · Tags:

Leave A Comment