To the editor,
Re: "City hall longs for longer buses," April 20, 2012.
The people at city hall and the empire builders at Translink who drive or are chauffeured to work need to get out in the real world and ride the trains and buses daily to see how the system is working before coming up with these harebrained proposals. See for yourself what it's like to be on the platform at Commercial Drive at rush hours and push your way onto a packed train or stand in the lineup for the buses in front of Shoppers Drug Mart. Then imagine how it is going to be when the proposed Evergreen Line unloads thousands more at this location. Instead of wasting millions more dollars on longer buses down Broadway, extend the Millennium line from VCC to UBC. For now improve the service between Lougheed Station and Coquitlam by adding more express buses. Run express buses from Mission and Maple Ridge over the new Golden Ears and Port Mann bridges.
Put Evergreen on hold. Shut down the money losing West Coast Express and instead consider running a ground level LRT system from Waterfront Station that would service Coquitlam, Maple Ridge and Mission that can be accessed at all times of day.
Whatever new developments are planned for public transportation think of what requirements will be fifty years ahead. Canada Line is already over crowded at rush hours. The stations are small and can only accommodate two car trains. With massive housing projects planned along Canada Line in Richmond and Marine Drive it won't handle the demand.
The situation with over crowding at Commercial Broadway could be improved by a extending the overhead walkway to Grandview Highway. Riders could be boarding the 99 buses where they line up on the Grandview side to relieve congestion at this station and on Broadway.
What is the future for Skytrain police after the turnstiles are in? Do we need more of them standing around with their hands in pockets (literally). In addition there appears to be hundreds of uniformed security people for the same purpose but only they don't carry guns. Often there has been as many as six to eight security standing in groups talking to each other at Broadway Commercial while the 99 buses stop throw all the doors open and people board unchecked fare or no fare. Bus drivers don't check fares for fear of a confrontation.
Is it necessary to have extra staff to picking up newspapers on the trains at terminus stations? Move 24 hours and Metro off Skytrain property or ask Skytrain attendants if they would mind multi tasking and pick up papers off the trains.
There are hundreds of millions of dollars being spent on doing things after the fact but there is not even a public washroom at Waterfront station. This is a station where buses, two trains and the Seabus converge, many thousands of people pass through here in a day, some in wheel chairs, some elderly some with children.
Require Translink management and politicians to ride the public system for a year. It would be wonderful to see them riding Greyhound (the buses from hell) to Langley, Abbotsford and Mission. Maybe we might even see a rebirth of the interurban system we had decades ago.
Grant Smith, Vancouver