Vision Coun. Geoff Meggs got his September started with a renewed pitch to get a subway built from Commercial Drive to the University of B.C.
On Tuesday morning, the advocate for improved transit sent out a series of tweets to let his followers know what passengers endure when catching a bus at the Commercial Drive/Broadway hub.
Here’s a taste:
• Just boarded 99 B-Line en route to UBC — they’re checking for fares. #translink #backtoschool
• Just passed Main St. Bus definitely full. #99BLine #translink
• 17 min 20 sec to Granville from Comm Dr — I’d be at UBC now on SkyTrain. Time for regional transit solutions #99BLine #translink
• 28 min to Sasamat. Would be at UBC now on LRT. #99BLine #translink
• Heroic #translink effort gets me from Commercial Dr to UBC in 35 min 15 sec. SkyTrain would cut in half #99BLine
I gave Meggs a call shortly after his trip and discovered the journey wasn’t as hellish as you might think. He did, however, leave at the tail end of rush hour.
But as he pointed out, Wednesday is often the so-called “crush day” when students and workers back from holidays crowd the transit system.
So Tuesday wasn’t so bad when considering TransLink says the average trip is 38 minutes. Even so, Meggs’ 35-minute ride was too long for his liking.
A $3 billion subway would make him feel a whole lot better.
But Premier Christy Clark and Transportation Minister Todd Stone continue to say the best way to improve transit is to first see whether Metro Vancouverites want to pay for improvements.
As Clark revealed in her spring election campaign, the government plans to tie a referendum on transit funding to the 2014 civic elections.
So far, the question hasn’t been determined. Nor has the cost. But what has been determined is the mayors in Metro Vancouver don’t want a referendum.
Neither does Meggs, who, like many of his civic colleagues, doesn’t understand why the government needs a referendum to determine what is desperately needed: more and improved transit.
As Meggs has pointed out previously, there was no referendum to build a new Port Mann Bridge, widen the TransCanada highway or improve the Sea-to-Sky route to Whistler.
“I don’t know if there has ever been more uncertainty about regional transit investments than there is right now,” Meggs said. “The reality is TransLink will be pretty tight for money in the next year or two, whether or not there’s more investment. If the referendum fails, which is always possible, we would not see investments in rapid transit for a long, long time.”
In Coquitlam, construction is underway to build the long-awaited Evergreen Line, which will dump an increase of 25 per cent more passengers at the Commercial Drive/Broadway hub.
That’s coming in the summer of 2016.
Though a $3 billion price tag for a subway is a big price, Meggs said an analysis of that cost should also look at the savings that are made in people’s daily lives.
“It’s quality of life for everybody who wants to get around the city,” he said.
© Copyright 2013