Stephen Rees's blog

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

How to influence people

with 42 comments

but not win friends. Translink is currently running a survey on line as part of its “Translink listens” exercise. But it would seem it only listens these days when you agree with what is happening

Sample questions:
From the list below, please choose the three words that you feel should best describe Canada’s Pacific Gateway.
Which of the following statements do you agree with the most?
Please pick one only.
Canada’s Pacific Gateway increases mobility in our region, allowing people and goods to move more freely.
Canada’s Pacific Gateway improves our quality of life, reducing congestion and making trips safer.
Canada’s Pacific Gateway is important to our region’s economy and future prosperity.
Canada’s Pacific Gateway supports employment throughout our region, delivering opportunity.

Already email is flying and list serves grumbling. These questions are NOT open ended – they are multiple choice – but you can only choose things which support the Gateway. You are not allowed the opportunity to be critical of the program in any way.

When I worked for Translink – and its predecessor – the folks in the market research section were very proud of their reputation, and took great care to ensure that all the surveys they mounted – or commissioned from external consultants – were above reproach. I can only assume that the people involved have changed in the 5 years since I left. Or, since SoCoBriTCA is now in nearly all respects under the aegis of the Minister of Transportation, that standards have changed.

Quite disgraceful really. And it will colour my views of all subsequent research that Translink produces unless there is some public declaration that there has been a regrettable error, the survey is closed and a more balanced one replaces it pronto.

Written by Stephen Rees

February 23, 2009 at 2:23 pm

Posted in Gateway

Tagged with , ,

42 Responses

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  1. all of the TranslLink surveys are biased with leading questions like that unfortunately! and they use an awful system, aaargh!

    Roland Tanglao

    February 23, 2009 at 9:41 pm

  2. True story.

    Some years ago I participated in a TransLink telephone poll. The questions were skewed to support RAV and local community buses.

    The person (who was from Toronto) asking me the questions on behalf of TransLink was quite forthcoming with the silliness of some of the questions. At the end was the question: “What would get you out of the car to take transit?”

    I answered, “30 minute, all day, 602 service express bus service to Vancouver.”

    The questioner then said, “a 602 service to RAV?”

    I again answered, “No, a direct service to downtown Vancouver – NO TRANSFER TO RAV.”

    The questioner then said:, “I’m not allowed to enter that, it must connect to RAV!”

    Then I said, “Then I would not take transit!”

    The questioner said, “I’m not allowed to enter that.”

    Stalemate and the questioner said, “you must connect to RAV!”

    I answered, “No, I will not take transit if I had to transfer.”

    Then the questioner said, “I can’t include you in this poll.” Then berated me for wasting time!!

    And people wonder why I call TransLink, the ship of fools!

    Malcolm J.

    February 23, 2009 at 9:59 pm

  3. I have family in South Delta and know that they’re dreading the loss of their direct bus to Vancouver. TransLink is trying to sell the transfer at Bridgeport by saying the train will be faster and more consistent than the bus through the Vancouver segment, but Granville has bus lanes that allow consistency and fairly good travel times. I don’t know anyone who likes transfers or trading their highway coach seat for standing aboard a packed train. I predict a massive mode shift in South Delta from buses to SOVs.

    I live in East Van so the only Canada Line effect I’m expecting is a few more Delta residents using my street to get to the Knight St. bridge lineup.

    I respond to most of the TransLink Listens polls and make use of the comment fields in attempt to balance the bias in the multiple choice areas, but I can’t participate in a Gateway validation exercise. The money is being spent in entirely the wrong places. There should be improvements to the rail corridors including getting port-bound traffic out of Langley, a new Fraser River rail bridge with more than one track, and an LRT network to move people around the region. The existing roads and bridges would be sufficient for local goods movement if they weren’t tied up with commuters.


    February 23, 2009 at 11:40 pm

  4. I am usually e-mailed these surveys, but I have not received this one yet. Maybe they didn’t like my comments at the end of the last Gateway push-poll.


    February 24, 2009 at 10:04 am

  5. […] How to influence people [Stephen Rees […]

    re:place Magazine

    February 24, 2009 at 10:05 am

  6. I gave TransLink listens some feedback about their survey indicating that I thought it was extremely biased and asking how they planned on using the results.

    I received this:

    Dear Shane,
    Thank you for your comments. Your feedback is very much appreciated and will be taken into consideration. Please don’t hesitate to write again if you have any other questions or concerns.
    Best regards,
    Translink Listens

    I respect that I got a response at all. I didn’t really expect them to give me a thorough answer.


    February 24, 2009 at 2:04 pm

  7. I usually get these surveys and, like David, make use of the comment fields to balance the bias. I didn’t get this survey. So, not only are the questions loaded, but it looks like their polling sample is too.

    TransLink seems to now only listen in terms of where there will be opposition so as to craft their messaging in such a way to manufacture consent based on the direction given by the Great Helmsman in Victoria.


    February 24, 2009 at 2:25 pm

  8. DAVID: Every other train will leave from YVR in the morning and those trains are expected to arrive at Bridgeport virtually empty so they can accommodate riders changing modes.

    I sincerely doubt people will get back into their cars because of the mode change. That would mean a lot more monthly expense with fuel and parking. Plus, if any volumes of them do their commutes will be much longer too. There is no road expansion planned for the hwy 99.

    And, as far as the comments section – there was no field for open-ended comments in this survey. So – now means to fight the bias.


    February 24, 2009 at 2:30 pm

  9. Shane, RAV is an old saw. The problem is not going in to town so much, rather coming home – a long tedious trip to South Delta after a long days work.

    My wife is a good example: She works near 4th & Arbutus and drives in. Time door to door 1 hour AM – 1 hour PM. Using transit at least 60+ min. AM – 90 min PM; cost about the same.

    She works one day a week on Granville with about the same time driving. Using transit 40+ min. AM 90+ min. PM!

    When RAV opens, driving times will be the same but using transit will increase journey times. She hates to transfer and doesn’t like being underground.

    I know of at least 10 people who are going to cease using transit and revert to the car because of the inconvenience of the transfer and route changes.

    What is really sad about RAV, that despite the nearly $2.5 billion spent on the metro, it offers very little to attract the motorist from the car.

    If I do not want to take a bus, I will not take a bus to RAV.

    If I drive to a RAV station, I might as well drive into town!

    Deep down TransLink must know this, but they are thralls to Victoria and do their bidding. Vancouver wanted a subway to be world class city and a subway they got. I think that the Vancouver taxpayer should pick up the tab for being a world class city.

    Malcolm J.

    February 24, 2009 at 3:38 pm

  10. South of Fraser sevrices – off topic, I know – but the question there is do passengers have a “right” to a premium service (express coach buses) at ordinary fares?
    If the fare schedule for the coach buses was changed to reflect the cost of providing the service and/or the express class of service (i.e. Westcoast Express-like) – to say, $8.25 a trip (the WCE fare from Maple Meadows to Watefront)? Would the passengers switching to their cars stick with the bus?

    Also note that bus connections to Bridgeport for the transfer will increase in frequency, as noted in the 24 Hours. Ultimately, that gives passengers more options than 30 minute service.

    Service on the routes from South Surrey and Delta will increase. The 351 Crescent Beach will run at least every 15 minutes all day, while the 601 South Delta route will improve from half-hourly to 15 minutes midday.

    Ron C.

    February 24, 2009 at 4:31 pm

  11. On the topic of express buses, I waited for the 490 at the corner of Oak and Marine Drive yesterday while trying to get downtown to a conference.

    The 490 was a no show, or at least 20 minutes late, and I was late to the conference as well.

    What really killed me were the express buses (I counted 8 as I waited there) which refused to let me on their half-empty bus even as they dropped a passenger off and I was standing at the stop alone.

    TransLink continues to amaze.


    February 24, 2009 at 4:59 pm

  12. Ron,
    I don’t know if people “deserve” an express bus at regular 3 zone fare, but I know how many people would use the bus if the fare was raised to WCE rates: zero.

    Such an increase in traffic might help justify a new 8-lane monument, I mean, “piece of transportation infrastructure that includes space for future light rail, doesn’t in any way stand as a monument to my term in office and couldn’t possibly encourage more suburban sprawl and air pollution”, in place of the Massey Tunnel but, outside the small circle of Campbell/Falcon friends and road builders, nobody wants to see that.

    The WCE can demand premium fare because it offers a premium service. The express buses to South Delta and South Surrey/White Rock may have nicer seats, but they get stuck in traffic like every other bus does.

    I haven’t looked at the Gateway survey and don’t plan to because I already no there’s no way to register negative opinions.


    February 24, 2009 at 5:36 pm

  13. I took that Pacific Gateway survey and while horrendously designed, there was plenty of opportunity to express negative opinions.


    February 24, 2009 at 6:43 pm

  14. Sungsu, do you really think the opportunity to express negative opinions actually matter? They are simply going to report the statistical results of the answers, not the comments. And boy do people in the Lower Mainland loooooove the Pacific Gateway.


    February 24, 2009 at 6:49 pm

  15. Well, a lot of the transportation issues we talk about here could be solved it people made better choices about where they live. It is not about cost, it is about the perceived standard of living. (“I just couldn’t fathom living in 800 square feet”)

    And, Stephen – this probably goes back to your days at TransLink, but IIRC, those express coaches were originally meant to be a premium service at a premium charge.

    Perhaps that is what they should do after the Canada Line opens – leave the express coaches with downtown service, but charge WCE-like fares.


    February 24, 2009 at 7:22 pm

  16. romeogolf – I take it you didn’t see all the questions in the survey.


    February 24, 2009 at 8:50 pm

  17. I complained about it over Twitter and have emailed Translink Feedback as well as other areas of Translink (which shall remain unnamed). Never get any good responses. The response that Shane got was absolutely boilerplate. That does NOT surprise me.

    Having done research design myself, and knowing that Translink is well connected (e.g. they could call upon) some great research firms and scholars, I wonder how this survey was so incredibly biased. And the online web implementation was hideous, clunky and really badly done. Shame on them.


    February 24, 2009 at 10:16 pm

  18. Sungsu, you’ll see from my initial post that I didn’t get the survey. If you’d like to post the rest of the questions and show how the survey cannot be used to come up with a pre-defined result, I’m big enough to stand corrected.

    However, to reiterate, I don’t believe being given an opportunity to comment is the issue. It is whether or not your comments have any impact on what the survey proponent will ultimately present to the public as the results.


    February 24, 2009 at 11:01 pm

  19. I have no way of retrieving the questions except for my rapidly failing memory, but one of the them presented a list of supposed benefits and for each one you were asked to rate them – “Not at all” was one of the choices.


    February 25, 2009 at 5:47 am

  20. WRT the Massey Tunnel – they should build some transit queue jumper lanes – as was proposed for the Port Mann Bridge – that would solve the probem – and then they can charge the premium fare.

    Ron C.

    February 25, 2009 at 11:21 am

  21. Ron and most of you don’t get it. If a premium fare is to be charged, it should be on those using SkyTrain and RAV metro systems.

    Public transit is a product and if the consumer (transit user) doesn’t like the product, he/she will not use it. Simple, the same also applies to our quickly going broke car manufacturers. The forced transfer onto an undesirable metro is a bad consumer product.

    Public transit Germany and the rest of Europe in the 70’s and 80’s, was floundering and transit managers were given a blunt choice – use it or lose it.

    Much study has been done concerning public transit and the results were simple: design transit to accommodate the the users needs. This meant real consultation. In Germany, the transit customer wanted the ‘trams’ back and did not want subways. In France, on-street trams were what the customer wanted.

    What the customer wants was simple, affordable, easy to use, one-stop transit service that wasn’t a bus. Modern trams or light-rail was the answer.

    The real story in Germany is the return of the tram; where in 1980, popular thinking was that almost all trams would be abandoned by 2020, in favour of subways and S-bahns, but by the 90’s, trams were in and subways out!

    If TransLink really wants to provide a good product, it must have meaningful consultations with the consumer, not bogus polling questions $ autocratic “you are going to be forced onto RAV, whether you like it or not.”


    February 25, 2009 at 12:55 pm

  22. zweisystem,

    I certainly hope your SkyTrain premium fare comment was made in jest.

    Further penalizing transit users who have been more or less forced to use SkyTrain because buses use stations as destinations would be cruel and counter productive. It would only increase the number of cars on the road, a result that our politicians would use to justify even more road building projects like Gateway.

    I think we all appreciate your points about LRT, Europe, TransLink, etc. The reality is that transit only gets lip service in BC because it’s the people in the cars who vote Liberal. They are the group who put Gordo and Falcon in office and will keep him there. Anyone who would even consider taking the bus simply doesn’t matter to them.


    February 25, 2009 at 5:21 pm

  23. Ron: “WRT the Massey Tunnel – they should build some transit queue jumper lanes – as was proposed for the Port Mann Bridge – that would solve the probem – and then they can charge the premium fare.”

    Those lanes are already in place and have been so for years.


    February 25, 2009 at 5:28 pm

  24. Many cities that operate metro charge a premium fare when using it. As for SkyTrain, it has spawned Gateway and may very well be responsible for a new highway into Vancouver.

    Our transit planning is completely screwy and I have just been trying to describe it to an American Student, who is writing a paper on the pitfall of building with a ‘proprietary’ transit system.

    I personally think that TransLink will fall apart next year. The following is a quote from an email I received:

    “The other snippet is that,as we’ve been told by Tom Prendergast, without an additional $300/million/year, T-Link will have to close its doors. The vehicle levy of course is back on the table.”

    We all may be paying premium fares, just to get on transit! If people don’t use RAV (as I predict) in the numbers claimed by Gordo and Falco, one may see the wholesale dismemberment of the transit system as it crashes against a financial iceberg. Those who wished for SkyTrain may very well have to pay the full shot!

    I know valley mayors will definitely not support any auto levy, nor subsidize SkyTrain any longer.

    Malcolm J.

    February 25, 2009 at 6:56 pm

  25. I am not sure what transit systems that charge a premium fare for their use Zweisystems and Malcolm are talking about. Please enlighten us by giving us the basic cash fare for a single trip, along with the price of a 1 week and 1 month commuter pass for a couple of well known towns (yes making comparisons is hard unless one knows the price of many goods and prices in Vancouver are cheap compared to many other biggish towns). I don’t think that Euro 1.60 cash per single trip and Euro 16.80 for a weekly pass/ Euro 50.60 for a monthly pass, both for unlimited travel in zones 1-2 (the whole of the historical Paris) on the Paris metro is that expensive, compared to at least euros 2.00 for a tiny cup of coffee. For London it is £4.00 for a single trip cash fare (but only £ 2.20 with a Oyster card). A weekly commuter pass is £ 25.80 a week, £ 99.10 a month, all prices also for zones 1-2, the most expensive–as far as transit prices- in both towns. In both towns finding a place to park is very hard and parking very very expensive. In the Greater Milan, with a bigger population than Metro Vancouver, the fares for the use of its Metro, trams and commuter trains system are much cheaper. I am a great lover of LRT (modern trams) and go on vacation especially to check and use them in various places, but they are mainly used as the main transit systems in towns under 1 million. Bigger towns have a combination of subways, trams and commuter trains that go right downtown or even run under downtown etc.

    Red frog

    February 25, 2009 at 10:04 pm

  26. Malcolm, that “direct quote” without citation has zero credibility.

    I think flat dollar vehicle levies are silly.

    Everything should be distance-based: highway tolling, vehicle insurance (in the lower mainland at least) and train fares.


    February 26, 2009 at 8:09 am

  27. One good thing with passes and ‘Oyster’ style cards is that the fares are easily apportioned between modes. In London, for example, one may take a tram & tube or bus or train for their trip and with an “Oyster Card” the fares are automatically apportioned between modes.

    Say a $10 fare is apportioned between bus/tram/Tube, for equal distances $5 maybe apportioned for the Tube; $3.50 for Tram; and $1.50 for bus. Not a good example granted, but it does give a view how apportioned fares work.

    The Tube gets a premium fare.

    Weekly, monthly, and annual passes would be apportioned by pre determined formula. There is a big fight within Transport For London by the Tube & Underground operators for a larger percentage of apportioned fares from “Oyster Cards”.

    The average person would not know, nor care as long as he/she got to where he/she wanted to go.

    The same is true for many European transit systems using all inclusive passes, the fares are apportioned in the accounting office and the customers are just oblivious to it!

    Malcolm J.

    February 26, 2009 at 8:15 am

  28. That’s actually one question that will be bound to arise with distance based farecards – how will a distance based fare be implemented for bus passengers versus rapid transit passengers versus passenger using both modes?
    Will a passenger have to pay separate fares for each mode, as is common in many other cities? And will the combination of “base” fares for each of bus and rapid transit add up to a total that is greater than the current $2.50 base fare (which would be seen as a cash grab)? Potentially, that could also discourage linked trips on two modes where one of the modes is a short distance but adds a disproportionate amount to the total fare.

    Ron C.

    February 26, 2009 at 12:23 pm

  29. Anything amounting to a significant increase in the cost of using transit in Vancouver will drive people away from it. Maybe that’s what the Liberals want, more people in cars paying tolls to use their new 10 lane monument to discredited urban planning.

    In the US cities are talking about tearing down their elevated freeways and replacing them with parks, boulevards and transit like Portland, Milwaukee and San Francisco did. Here in BC we’re still building new freeways. I hope I live long enough to see local politicians get the message and start building people-friendly solutions.


    February 26, 2009 at 2:45 pm

  30. Ron C.: quite a few towns use transit smart cards, even small ones like Bordeaux (France) where the transit smart card (the French have other smart cards, for health care foe example which is why I emphasized TRANSIT smart card here) was implemented in 2003 with the opening of a brand new 3 lines LRT. Small towns like Bordeaux have a flat rate for single trips all across their system so there is no problems using the tram, buses etc. Few people buy single tickets, even those that seldom use transit, as transit smart cards give a discount and the cards are good for several years even if one seldom use it. Big towns are what interest us here I think. Infrequent users have no choice but pay cash for each trip (real cash or from a card) though the cards in many towns are capped to a daily maximum (it works like a day pass). In other words if you were to use only once a month a bus then the Skytrain then several buses on that day you would pay much less than if you bought single tickets. Frequent users have commuter passes loaded in their transit smart card (along with electronic cash in another part of the card used for buying a coffee, a paper etc. or to pay for special trips on the transit). Paris has 6 zones (the CDG Roissy airport is in zone 5) and London has 9 but the average commuter only buy a pass for the zone(s) he-she uses everyday between work, school etc. and home. Infrequent trips outside the pass coverage are charged extra but are cheaper than paying cash. A pass is most expensive if bought for 1 week at a time, cheaper if bought for 1 year (by monthly automatic payment) as most towns offer at least 1 month free, some 2. In Japan all fares are distance based. 200 to 300 yen per trip. however there too many people use discount cards or tickets if travelling infrequently. Commuters buy a pass for their regular route that often involve using 2 different railway companies then subways from a 3rd company but they only need one card. There too (actually the Japanese pioneered these transit smart cards) trips outside the route are discounted. This a very basic overview. Some towns, like London and perhaps Paris still has special and different fares from buses on one hand and the tube on the other but they likely are working on doing what other towns do buy having one fare system all across. Of course in the oldest parts of the Greater Paris and greater London many people use only the subway as there are stations all over the place. I am learning a bit more ever week as I know that TransLink staff doesn’t have a clue about transit around the world and there will be an incentive for them to work with US smart card companies (the US are world public transit leaders aren’t they?) and I fear that they will shaft us. Please check and check Europe and Asia. They have links in each page about a town to that city transit company. Check fares, smart cards etc. it is not always easy.. London’s fare schedule is a short novel in itself. Google then open the page with that address to find out how fares are calculated by a card.

    Red frog

    February 26, 2009 at 2:48 pm

  31. I know how farecards work.
    I guess the question really is – will you have to pay a second fare when you transfer from a bus to SkyTrain using a farecard (and vice versa).
    And if you travel a very long distance on a bus (say, Joyce Station to UBC) would that be a flat fare or a distance based fare? It wouldn’t seem fair if it were a flat rate (but if distance based, swiping on and off buses could slow the boarding and unloading process and require costly GPS systems for buses to track distances travelled).
    In some cities some buses and rapid transit are operated by separate entities, so there’s no issue, as you would expect to pay twice (like in San Fransisco, transferring between BaRT and Muni).
    Just wondering about the particular fare calculation mechanism that may be implemented here.

    Ron C.

    February 26, 2009 at 3:18 pm

  32. David, in case you haven’t seen this, there’s an interesting post in “Wired” about the changing paradigm: Too bad the NDP are too inept when it comes to using this politically:


    February 26, 2009 at 3:39 pm

  33. Ron C., every regular transit bus (not sure about the community shuttles) has, or will soon have, GPS. That’s how they have automated announcements, and that’s how they’ll be able to introduce real-time next bus (as opposed to by schedule).


    February 26, 2009 at 7:30 pm

  34. Ron C. I guess that it will depends on Translink of course but there is no reasons why a transit smart card in Vancouver would be any different from the monthly passes we have now that allow us to use the SkyTrain, buses and the Seabus as often as we want during the month. Most of the transit smart cards used around the world replace tickets and passes similar to the ones we have but make a trip more efficient, while allowing the transit company to monitor traffic and user flows in real time (They also allow a user to pay for small purchases in a store). You note that in SF because transit and buses are operated by different entities one has to pay twice. This is not necessary at all and is old fashioned. In Japan for example, a big number of private companies each own and manage one part of the transit system of a given town. Suica, a transit smart card, is used in the Greater Tokyo region on trains from 10 different companies, subways from 2 companies and buses from several companies. It doesn’t matter to the user what company or combination of companies he/ she uses during a trip. I guess that the companies have figured out how to divide the income depending perhaps on the number of passengers that are recorded in every station by the gates. I am pretty sure too that the majority of regular users have a card with either a commuter pass or one that allow an unlimited number of trips per day. As for swiping, transit smart cards ARE NOT SWIPED at all: one either touch the card reader with the pass for a split second or one hold the pass close to it–depending on the system–all that without stopping. Bus and trams in systems that use transit smart cards have several card readers by EACH door (they replace the tiny stamping or swipe machines that were used previously for many years. Card readers don’t slow down the traffic the way cash or our tickets with a magnetic stripe do in Vancouver, as the huge numbers of daily transit users in London, Paris, Tokyo etc. can attest. The only problem I see is that people who use Vancouver transit only once every few months in the future will have to pay a lot if paying cash. But my experience as a frequent tourist to Japan and Europe is that even infrequent users know to buy reduced fare tickets, passes etc. to reduce costs. Our DUTY as transit users is to learn about the best fare options and keep TransLink and the B.C. government on the hot seat.

    Red frog

    February 26, 2009 at 11:46 pm

  35. Thanks – good to know that it won’t slow loading and unloading.
    I don’t foresee a problem with infrequent transit users – you can just keep a farecard loaded up and carry it in your wallet if you need it to avoid the cash fares (there shouldn’t be an expiry date on the cards).
    I just hope that there won’t be a “base fare” of say $1.50 for bus and a “base fare” of say $1.50 for SkyTrain so that a 4 block bus ride to SkyTrain and a one station SkyTrain ride add up to say $3.00. If bus travel is also distance based, I could see passengers on a long haul route such as the 41st to UBC route complaining about an increase in fare over the current one zone $2.50 (unless bus route fares max out at $2.50, but that would mean less revenue if $2.50 is the max and not the average (as it is now within a zone) – to maintain present revenue levels, the “average” one zone fare would have to remain at $2.50, which means that there would have to be one zone fares above $2.50 to average out).
    Anyways, it’ll be interesting to see what dollar values are established.


    In other news, looks like some of the commentors will be driving to work 3 months early:

    Canada Line could open in August

    Canwest News Service
    February 27, 2009 11:02 AM

    METRO VANCOUVER – The Canada Line could open as soon as August, three months ahead of schedule, according to a report sent to TransLink’s board.

    Ron C.

    February 27, 2009 at 12:04 pm

  36. The current TransLink radial zone system is unfair. You can travel from Aldergrove to Coquitlam Centre or Albion to the Tsawwassen ferry terminal on a single zone fare yet it’s two zones for someone in east Van to ride a bus to Metrotown.

    In order for transit to be attractive to everyone it must be inexpensive to just hop on a bus for a few stops. The example of someone complaining about a fare increase for riding from Champlain Heights to UBC is bogus because everyone making that trip has a U-Pass that costs them pennies on the dollar compared to the rest of us.

    Changing from an average fare of $2.50 within Vancouver to a maximum fare would certainly hurt TransLink income. That’s where the Province needs to step up with additional funding. Public transit benefits everyone, even the people in the cars. The Province is entirely to blame for choosing light metro over LRT in the first place so they should be paying whatever transit subsidies are needed to keep the system running efficiently.

    One of the biggest impediments to using transit for everything, outside the usual suspects, is big box stores. There’s nothing any urban planner can do about big box stores, they will always be able to offer products at significantly lower prices than local merchants. What planners can do is provide local merchants with housing density and good transit.

    When my wife and I lived in Kitsilano we walked to buy groceries most of the time. Sure the food cost more, but walking is free and good for you. Now we live near Knight Street, a truck route with virtually no shopping whatsoever, and we load the kids into the car to buy everything.


    February 27, 2009 at 1:47 pm

  37. David said:

    Changing from an average fare of $2.50 within Vancouver to a maximum fare would certainly hurt TransLink income. That’s where the Province needs to step up with additional funding. Public transit benefits everyone, even the people in the cars. The Province is entirely to blame for choosing light metro over LRT in the first place so they should be paying whatever transit subsidies are needed to keep the system running efficiently.

    Do you honestly think Gordon Campbell and Kevin Falcon care about transit? They pay it lip service to prevent a revolt, but they and their political benefactors profit from car-oriented development which gets the big bucks all the time. Otherwise, explain why they aren’t fast-tracking the revival of the Interurban or why they pushed upgrading the Sea-to-Sky Highway instead of passenger rail to Whistler for the Olympics.

    It’s very clear to me that nothing short of threatening the Liberals’ grip on power will get them to give the cost-effective expansion of transit top priority. I find Carole James’s capitulation on the Port Mann seriously misguided and ill-informed.

    According to the IEA, conventional oil will peak in 11 years. That’s not a lot of time for us to switch our infrastructure over. But instead of doing that, the Libs are digging a bigger hole for us.


    February 27, 2009 at 2:24 pm

  38. Received this today:

    “Feb. 28, 2009

    Dear TransLink On-line Advisor,

    Recently we deployed a survey on the subject of Canada’s Pacific Gateway. A number of you raised valid concerns with the format of two of the questions.

    Given that a large number of you had completed the survey, rather than modifying the questionnaire and asking you to do it over again, we will not use the data from those questions.

    We look forward to your continued participation in TransLink Listens.


    TransLink Listens”


    February 28, 2009 at 11:06 am

  39. Given that a large number of you had completed the survey, rather than modifying the questionnaire and asking you to do it over again, we will not use the data from those questions.

    I’m rather skeptical about the data from those questions not being used. We’ll have to keep an eye on the Pacific Gateway Council’s pronouncements to ensure this is not the case. It will also be a measure of TransLink’s integrity.


    February 28, 2009 at 11:49 am

  40. David, Translink proposal to change to distance based fares WILL NOT as you wrote “change the fare from an average of $ 2.50 to a maximum fare”. What TransLink want to do, once they have a transit smart card, is eliminate the 3 zones and–in theory–charge by the exact distance travelled. So one could pay for a single trip paid in cash from (my figures) $ 1.00 for taking the bus for a few blocks to $ 10.00 for going from Boundary to UBC. If TransLink staff had bothered to do their homework they would have found that cities with an extensive transit system either still have zones (6 in Paris, 9 in London etc.) or, if they do charge by the distance (Tokyo, Osaka etc.) ONLY have a few basic distance-based single fares (4 for the 8 lines Osaka subway). In all the towns I have lived in /travelled to single trip fares are always way more expensive than buying a book of tickets or better still have some kind of a pass and over there even people who use transit once in a while keep such passes on hand. Much as I would love to see a transit smart card here, its implementation will be very very expensive as we don’t have the population or, rather, the number of transit customers, due to the ignorance and procrastination of all the B.C governments in the past 50 years.

    Red frog

    February 28, 2009 at 2:57 pm

  41. I agree that there’s an inherent unfairness in a zone system (i.e. I havd a freind who lives at Joyce, works near Metrotown, but drives because it is 2 zones) – and that’s why many people think a distance based system (without zones) is better.
    Based on the discussion here, it seems clear that devising a fare structure that maintains revenue levels while providing a reasonable base fare for a one stop trip (on either bus or rapid transit) and for transferring passengers without maxing out at an unreasonably high maximum fare will be the challenge.

    Ron C.

    February 28, 2009 at 6:17 pm

  42. This will be my last post on the subject as we could go on forever. First of all, for accuracy sake, Osaka subway system has 5 distance based “zones” but it is possible to play with the system and get a cheaper price for a very short trip. All one has to do is look at a giant (and I do mean giant) billboard located above the row of ticket vending machine and try to find the station one goes to (the fare is next to the name). Obviously these billboards are ALL different as each station must have a unique board showing how far all the other stations on the system are. In practice even local people buy a single trip ticket for let say $ 2.00. Once at the destination either this is the right fare or a bit more and the turnstile open, or it is not enough and one has to go to another machine and pay extra. No wonder so many people get passes of one kind or another. All the people who grumble about the price of transit in Vancouver, especially those who insist in paying cash rather than buying reduced price tickets, passes etc. should compare it to the price of a cup of coffee, a litre of gas, 2 hours parking etc. We aren’t doing too bad here for all these things and should be willing to pay a few cents more..

    Red frog

    February 28, 2009 at 9:12 pm

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