Stephen Rees's blog

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

Running off the rails

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Melbourne | Herald Sun

There is a sort of wicked glee that comes over me when I read this sort of stuff. The Germans have a word for it. “Schadenfreunde” – delight at the discomfiture of one’s friends.

It goes to show that Vancouver is not alone in the way it mismanages its public transport. Melbourne has made an even greater cock up of it, and for much the same sort of reasons. They did go down the privatisation road that Translink was tempted to take but turned back from. They also cut the fares when there was no spare capacity. Yes cutting fares does boost ridership. But it also creates dreadful conditions and has a significant impact on revenues and hence ability to do anything about new capacity. Vancouver seems to have actually added more to its system in recent years. Mainly it is a matter of neglect and lack of investment (sound familiar?)

Anyway, as you cram yourself aboard a crowded bus on Broadway, or a packed SkyTrain, you can comfort yourself that there are some places where they have got it even worse.

And of course once again the Economist has picked Vancouver as the most liveable city.  (source: CBC News ) Apparently it is because we are so safe – such a low crime rate and no threat from terrorists – and really good transportation links. Which I can only assume refers to the airport, as the trains are not up to much (one a day to Seattle and three a week to the rest of Canada) – and, according to the provincial government – neither are the highways.

Written by Stephen Rees

August 23, 2007 at 7:56 am

Posted in transit, Transportation

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