Vancouver falls short of transit goal

It’s been a big month for the Kwantes boys. My son Evan started his first day in Grade 3. I experienced the first taste of my new commute.

It’s been a big month for the Kwantes boys.

My son Evan started his first day in Grade 3. I experienced the first taste of my new commute.

Getting to his elementary school is fairly straightforward for Evan: open the front door and walk 30 paces across the street.

My commute is slightly less convenient: it just went from bike-bus to bike-bus-train. The occasion was the opening of the new Canada Line rapid transit route linking the airport and downtown.

Construction was driven by the pending arrival of the 2010 Olympic Games and designed to make it easier to get around. But for myself and others who live in the southern ‘burbs, the Canada Line makes commuting downtown seem like a suburban version of the Steve Martin movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

On the first day:

10:35 a.m.: I leave my home by bike.

10:55: I arrive at the park-and-ride and lock my two-wheeler into a bike locker.

11: The bus arrives — the one that used to take me all the way downtown.

11:30: My bus arrives at the Richmond Canada Line station. I shuffle off the bus with the other commuters and up to the platform.

11:34: A shiny new train pulls up. I board.

11:55: After a mostly underground ride, I arrive downtown, at precisely the time I would have on my discontinued bus.

On the way home, it’s more problematic because the buses don’t run as often.

The new Canada Line is great for tourists flying into Vancouver airport, as well as people who live in Richmond, Vancouver and points in between. I hear people rave about it every day.

But I’ll miss the 55-minute ride on an express bus with cushioned, high-back seats.

It was great for snoozing, reading, listening to tunes or working on a column.

The area of Surrey in which I live is consistently ranked one of the fastest-growing in Canada. Yet it’s under-served by SkyTrain to the north, and the southern commute to downtown Vancouver just got more complicated.

The unintended consequence? More people throwing up their hands and getting back into vehicles for all or part of the drive downtown.

Ridership numbers have already proven the demand for the Canada Line, and it’s a key piece of infrastructure ahead of the 2010 Games.

But it’s also symptomatic of a growing divide in B.C.’s Lower Mainland, a split that is puzzling those who are planning transportation systems in these fiscally tight times.

On the one side are those who live in Vancouver and neighbouring cities and who are well-served by public transit.

On the other side are the faster-growing numbers of people who live in more affordable, more remote suburbs and who are under-served by the current rapid transit systems.

James Kwantes is a former Advocate copy editor. He can be reached at gone-coastal@hotmail.com.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sylvan Lake beachgoers spark safety concerns

‘You’re putting your life at risk,’ tweets Rachel Notley

Conservatives call for Trudeau to testify at committee on WE Charity deal

Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion is already investigating whether Trudeau violated the Conflict of Interest Act

Beat the heat this summer with pop-up spray parks

Starting next week, spray parks will be popping up in neighbourhoods across… Continue reading

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Quebec police continue search for father, one day after missing girls found dead

Bodies were found in a wooded area of Quebec City suburb

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

Canmore RCMP respond to multiple hiking injury calls this weekend

EMS and RCMP responded to three separate and unrelated hiking accidents in Kananaskis Country.

You can’t put a price on memories

Some people would rather buy something than sell something. Some people are… Continue reading

Masks and gloves: Elections Saskatchewan preparing for pandemic election

REGINA — Elections Saskatchewan estimates it will need 400,000 face masks and… Continue reading

Quebec police say they found 2 bodies in St-Apollinaire during search for 2 girls

SAINT-APOLLINAIRE, Que. — Quebec provincial police continue to search for the father… Continue reading

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, NHLPA chief Don Fehr reflect on RTP, CBA deals

Gary Bettman and Don Fehr finally have a chance to catch their… Continue reading

NHL’s road to Edmonton and Toronto featured plenty of obstacles

Since early March, the novel coronavirus has affected almost every decision facing… Continue reading

Florida sets record week for coronavirus deaths

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Florida’s coronavirus death rate rose again Saturday, setting… Continue reading

Trump’s defiant help for Stone adds to tumult in Washington

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s intervention into a criminal case connected to… Continue reading

Most Read