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Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Archive for September 29th, 2006


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TransLink is helping deliver a valuable lesson for school-aged youngsters on “thinking outside the car” when it comes to personal transportation, as school districts around Greater Vancouver once again promote “International Walk  to School Week”. From October 2 through 6, students from kindergarten through Grade 12 are being encouraged to walk or take alternate modes of transportation to get to school. TransLink will make transit an easier choice by providing free rides for students on Coast Mountain and West Vancouver buses, SeaBus, SkyTrain and West Coast Express during that time.

Actually this is a pretty silly idea. It’s not a daft as U Pass, but it is in the same mind set. Look, dummies, its not the fare that’s the problem. It’s the following:

  1. You don’t have nearly enough buses
  2. The ones you do have are generally packed to the doors at each end of the school day thanks to U Pass and the use of “Community Shuttles” on routes that pass schools and cannot pick up the kids waiting to get home at 3pm
  3. The fixed route system you use for every type of service does not meet anyone’s travel needs very well, but some people have no choice and others are prepared to compromise. That doesn’t mean you are doing a good job, so stop patting yourselves on the back for a bit and start developing a critical awareness
  4. “Walk to school” week is probably a good idea for neighbourhoods that have sidewalks, and where the local school board takes the concept of the neighbourhood school seriously (i.e. not Richmond). Since this fare concession will also go to the kids who go to expensive private schools rather than the local school, you are just throwing money away. And do you really think that this scheme will attract many of these little darlings out of Mummy’s beemer on a permanent basis?
  5. Lots of people – kids included – have tried to use your system, and concluded that it is woefully inadequate. The turnover in transit ridership in Vancouver is enormous – and has been for years (as one of your erstwhile marketers pointed out to me). Another week of additional overcrowding and delays is not going to help.

If you care you can read the original press release. But I wouldn’t bother, if I were you

Written by Stephen Rees

September 29, 2006 at 2:44 pm

Posted in Transportation