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More on the SkyTrain gate nonsense – but this time quoting people who have at least read the previous GVTA reports on the issue. Of course it doesn’t help that Kevin Falcon knows that Translink’s figures on fare evasion are wrong. He doesn’t have any better information of course

Combined with the costs of installing the new gates, amortized over 20 years, the 2005 report put the total annual cost of fare gates at $32.2 million.

In contrast, it estimated gates would reduce fare evasion by only $2.9 million.

Based on extensive spot checks, TransLink estimates about 4.9 per cent of SkyTrain revenues are lost through fare evasion.

Falcon and Brodie said they think the rate is much higher.

“There’s no way in an open system you’re going to be losing that little,” Falcon said.

He said transit operators in Europe told him their fare-evasion rates are as high as 30 per cent, but neither Falcon or Brodie was able to identify any flaws with the way TransLink compiled its figures.

I would just love to know which operator told him that – and how they arrived at that figure. That’s the trouble with “sources” like that – no one can check them out. If there is an incentive to minimize the losses to evasion, then surely they are the same for all transit operators.

There is also more on the bizarre notion that fare gates reduce crime generally – which is also entirely unsupported by experience. Probably different types of crime. But SkyTrain has both video surveillance and, now, real police officers. With guns. Of course, no one mentions that when you increase the number of police in an area, the amount of reported crime increases.

B.C. bus crash renews calls for highway upgrades

Of course the calls come from bus company and local pols – they have wanted twinning of the TransCanada for a long time. It is, of course, much too early to determine the cause of the crash, but last night on CBC a local mountie was saying that accidents he has attended are usually determined to be due to driving errors – too fast for the conditions, too close to the vehicle in front,  and driver distraction were all mentioned. Twinning the TransCanada will not make it safer, any more than upgrading the Sea to Sky will make that road any less dangerous. The drivers will continue to speed and tailgate and play with their GPS systems and DVDs while they do so. And the severity of the consequent collisions – and the amount of traffic involved – will be greater, so the casualty rate will probably not change very much.

Areas along Fraser sinking at startling rate, study warns

When you dyke a mud bank, it starts to sink. That is because the water that you drain out no longer supports the surface and it compacts. The dyke means no additional alluvial material is added. And if you put buildings on it – especially really heavy structures – it sinks faster. What is amazing to me is that this is now being reported as though it is news. YVR has known about this for years. When I first came here my colleagues on the engineering side of the firm were concerned about the differential rate of subsidence between the airport terminal building and the new apron they were constructing in front of it – especially as the new terminal was to be serviced by aviation fuel in pipes rather than big tanker trucks.   Yes, they had done the preloading. But even so the apron and the floor of the new building were not matching up.

We have also known about sea levels rising. And the strange sense of complacency at the City of Richmond that refuses to admit that its dykes might not be enough in the event of a major event. Like a tidal surge, or an earthquake. Which both seem to me to be increasingly likely – though for different reasons.

Written by Stephen Rees

November 10, 2007 at 12:06 pm

5 Responses

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  1. BTW – Bob Ransford has a good article in today’s Vancouver Sun buried in the condo section.

    ron c.

    November 10, 2007 at 4:04 pm

  2. Turnstiles might not reduce actual crime, but it will probably increase peoples’ perceptions of safety and therefore could increase ridership.

    Getting on the skytrain by myself at an off peak time and ending up in a car with several drunk, poorly dressed, unshaven men — and almost no one else — can be daunting. These people might be harmless, or not (one such person assaulted me — punched me in the face — when I was six months pregnant). But they are also probably not paying. If they had to buy a ticket they would not be there as often.


    November 10, 2007 at 4:35 pm

  3. I am very sorry to hear of your experience. I too have been assaulted on SkyTrain – by a young man, very smartly dressed and clean shaven. In that case I have no idea what provoked him, and equally I have no idea if he had a ticket or not. I am afraid that other cities where there are gates on their rapid transit systems also experience such events. At one time the New York subway was notorious for them, and they have had turnstiles since the first subways and elevateds ran in the nineteenth century. Equally I have argued that a fares free system would encourage “undesirables” to live on the system. Since the shelters typically tip their visitors out on the street during the day, finding somewhere warm and dry is a high priority for them. As so often happens when social services are inadequate, the transit system has to pick up the slack.

    Stephen Rees

    November 10, 2007 at 6:16 pm

  4. In Stutgart we don’t have ticket barriers, but we have random checks (I wasn’t checked for a year, then three times in nine months) I’ll ask next time how much revenue they reckon to loose through fare dodging- If it was 30% I think the city would be doing a bit more.

    Andy in Germany

    November 12, 2007 at 1:25 am

  5. People in Metro Vancouver really have no idea how widespread proof-of-payment systems are. In other countries, fare cheaters are subject to on-the-spot fines, with a short detention for those unable to pay — sort of like a 24 hour suspension for motorists. Real penalties, instead of tickets that aren’t paid, and even when they are, the proceeds don’t flow back to TransLink.


    November 12, 2007 at 3:43 pm

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