Monday, January 14, 2008

New Transit Plan

Okay, I have had a chance to look at the plan a little bit and here is what I like and what I don't like so far.

Good - More buses. However I am sure that the existing buses can be more effectively utilitzed with better tracking systems to spread the buses out properly. I hope the new buses have GPS dispatch systems.

Good - More Trains. Evergreen, Expo Extension, Line to UBC (watch out businesses on Broadway!), more trains on the tracks, all good moves.

Good - Dedicated bus lines. I prefer streetcars for better economics and ease of electrification, but having a bus that can maintain a schedule is a good start.

Good - Smart Card system. We need to utilize technology that is available. I like the idea of not having to find a vendor once a month.

Bad - Langley and further East gets the shaft until after 2020. We need massively increased service now. Line by 2030? What about using the old Interurban line today?

Bad - New plan doesn't really address freight transit in the lower mainland. A new crossing and a few new switching yards are needed to help get containers on trains instead of trucks. The new port in Prince Rupert will help, but won't be enough.

Bad - The feds haven't committed to anything, nor is it clear they will. The province will be asking for more than 3 billion dollars from the Federal Government. The Conservatives already committed money to Montreal and Toronto. The previous Liberal Government put the money up for the Canada Line, and the Conservatives tried to pull it back. So we'll see if they will come to the party. I'm all for more transit investment.

Bad - These are all expensive options. I'd like to see more cheap solutions along with the big ticket items. Part of the problem is in the world of public infrastructure, everyone loves a show.


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