Stephen Rees's blog

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

Posts Tagged ‘Greyhound

Friday round up

with 11 comments

re:palce magazine regularly links to my stories but I have not really paid a lot of attention in return. So I am pleased to draw attention to a post called “Pedestrians need their share of the road” written by Jay Ameresekere and posted yesterday. It is inspired by an article in The State of Vancouver titled Vancouver needs a pedestrian advocate says SFU professor. Anthony Perl takes the City to task for taking pedestrian space for cyclists. What  I think is missing from the analysis in re:place is a reference to pedestrians in the rest of the region. The City of Vancouver covers a small part of the area and only a quarter of the citizens, and pedestrians get ignored in most of the suburbs.

I am on the cover of the Richmond Review this morning, banging on about the forced transfer to the Canada Line again. But what caught my eye was this gem from Ken Hardie

He also said revenue from new Canada Line riders plus the savings from running fewer buses will be enough to cover its payments.

I added the emphasis since it is the first time that I have seen a public admission from Translink that cuts to the bus fleet were part of the strategy. Of course I have been saying that all along – and so have the CAW in their recent campaign. But the public stance of the cheer leaders has always been that bus service would now be so much better since the Canada Line would free up resources to be moved elsewhere. That’s true to some extent, but the impression given was that it would be 100% switched when it is now admitted to be less than that – and probably quite a lot less. Though you would probably have to be an insider to get access to the data to prove that contention. Just like Hardie could not say exactly what the subsidy payments to InTransitBC are going to be. It’s public money they are spending so sooner or later it will be found out: just not while we are celebrating, eh?

If you enjoyed the celebrations – or missed them – the Buzzer has more photos of the opening day. They, naturally, don’t link here or to my flickr stream but over 50 people did take a gander at my pictures, even if they were of the second day. There is also an effort by transit geeks to record the last few days remaining of express suburban service in Vancouver. If you have a digital camera or camera phone  there are still a few routes not represented at the time of writing.

The CBC notes the decline of US tourists to BC, which takes the shine off the new second Amtrak train – which now runs to Portland not just Seattle. (This had been a running story here for some time) They also record cuts to Greyhound bus services, which will hit some small BC communities hard: I had mentioned Greyhound in my recent piece on not competing with commercial services, but it may soon be needed that some public provision is needed to keep up basic connections. Not that there will any money to do that of course.

And one story I missed, the keeps cropping upon this blog is the “Fareless Square” in Portland OR, which many people want duplicated here. It has now been partially cancelled for bus riders – due to fare evasion they say. Part of a wide swathe of transit service cuts and fare hikes across the US

Written by Stephen Rees

August 21, 2009 at 10:37 am

‘A lost transit opportunity’

with 8 comments

Pacific Coach 3004 Swartz Bay 2008_0926

What appears to be an article in the Times Colonist is uncreditted, and reads like a letter to the editor from an all ill informed reader. A journalist writing such a story would at the very least pick up a phone and call Translink’s press office. There is no express service from the Ferry to Vancouver because of a long standing agreement with Pacific Coach Lines. They operate the coach service between Victoria and Vancouver which gets carried on the ferry. This service is commercial so fares are higher than transit as there is no subsidy. People are prepared to pay more for the greater speed and convenience. Translink (and its predecessor BC Transit) agreed not to run direct bus services between the ferry and downtown as that would abstract PCL’s traffic. Using public funds to compete head to head with private companies is not allowed.    The existing #620 is a distinct improvement over the old #640 – which required Vancouver bound passengers to change at Ladner (although you could still do that and get a #601) but most people currently ride all the way to “Airport Station” and change there for the #98 B-Line or the #424 to the airport itself.

Increasing ferry fares have had the effect of encouraging walk on passengers, with a considerable rise in the number if drop offs and pick ups at the terminal in private cars (“Kiss and Ride” in US transit parlance) but also of transit use. BC Transit does offer express service to downtown Victoria from Swartz Bay – quite why they are not covered by the PCL non-compete agreement I do not know. CMBC has on occasions put on express services when loadings were exceptionally heavy – presumably when PCL was overloaded too.

There is also the argument that transit subsidies are not intended for inter city travel, but solely for travel within the transit operation’s boundary. Cross boundary services with neighbouring operations were always regarded with caution. After all, Greyhound gets no subsidy for its operations – which is why fares to so many small places within BC are so high. If we actually cared about greenhouse gas emissions more than private sector profits then these policies might be reviewed – but don’t hold your breath on that one either.

BC Transit Dennis Trident Victoria BC 2007_0909

Written by Stephen Rees

August 20, 2009 at 9:22 am

Posted in transit

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