Stephen Rees's blog

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

Bike, transit use rising along with gas prices

with 2 comments

Vancouver Sun

This is a repeated national survey by Angus Reid. What I think is really interesting is the way that BC differs from the rest of the country.

But, possibly because of the rain, fewer of us in B.C. are willing to park the car and walk more.

This seems to me to be supposition on the part of Gordon Hamilton. There are a number of more plausible explanations but it seems that either Angus Reid did not probe further, or the Sun could not be bothered to publish more information.

Where we live determines how we get about. Downtown Vancouver is not like the rest of the City let alone the rest of the region or the province. That means most people live in places where walking is not encouraged. There are no direct walks and no destinations within easy reach. There are no sidewalks in most suburbs. Bike facilities are often sparse and poorly designed . And transit sucks. Sure ridership has increased, but mode share hasn’t. Most people still do not see transit as a viable alternative.

But the survey also reveals that British Columbians are more likely to do nothing about the bigger bite gas is taking out of their income than most Canadians, an interesting twist to the results that [Angus Reid director of global studies Mario]  Canseco said reflects our obsession with personal choices.

“That was surprising — more than a third of B.C. residents don’t want to do anything or don’t feel that they should,” he said.

Now since he is talking about his poll, I suppose that reflects the way the question was asked. But in the suburbs of Vancouver and out in the Valley, the transit mode share drops off like a stone, mainly due to the paucity of service. And the complete absence of service between suburbs – and most trips these days are suburb to suburb. Which is a market that the transit system ignored for a long time and is only now getting to grips with.

I would like to see the same survey conducted in the main conurbations – Montreal, Toronto and here. And more pointed questions asked about perceptions of the options available. I have a sneaking suspicion that we are not keeping up. I have never been to Price George so I have no idea what they feel about their transit system. But I bet the market share there is pretty low.

Written by Stephen Rees

March 28, 2008 at 9:41 am

2 Responses

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  1. Especially in winter. I hear they hate the “smoke outside” regulations too.

    Ron C.

    March 28, 2008 at 12:09 pm

  2. If the weather had something to do with it, we could consider ourselves wussies down here because we don’t have to brave the extreme temperatures and massive snowfalls/snowstorms they get in most of the rest of the country. But yeah, winter weather definitely has at least a little impact.

    Erika Rathje

    March 28, 2008 at 4:30 pm

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