Stephen Rees's blog

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

Shock, Horror – Front Page space on The Sun wasted!

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Crossing that bridge will cost you more than $100 a month

Which was pretty much as forecast from the start. Drivers were asked if they would be willing to pay to save the time they currently spend either driving long distances or waiting for up to four or five sailings at peak periods at the Albion Ferry. Most said that they would be willing to pay – and two or three dollars or so per trip seemed ok to them then and still does to me. How much do you value your time? In transport economics we use the average wage for journeys in work time, or half that for leisure time – which includes commuting. It seems to me that the proposed toll ($2.50 a trip for a transponder equipped car) is a bargain in terms of the time saved. Indeed, I would suggest that it leaves quite a big chunk of “consumer surplus” on the table. That’s the amount some drivers would be willing to pay i.e. there will be some people whose time is more valuable, and have the wherewithal, who would pay much more than $2.50.

So how does this story get the front page treatment? Well, it starts out as a fairly ordinary business piece about Translink awarding the toll collection job, after a competitive tender to a US/French consortium. Bit of a yawner that. But if we can get Angry of Langley all of a lather about gouging by the wicked Translink … I wonder how much the editors are responsible for this spin? Or is this evidence of a news reporter wanting to get in to the opinion business? To think that the Editor in Chief was recently declared one of the 100 most powerful women in Canada. Does this strike you as a responsible use of power?

Written by Stephen Rees

November 28, 2006 at 7:44 am

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