This week, it got a little bit more expensive to drive, park, or use public transit in Metro Vancouver.
Single-fare trips went up by five to 10 cents, with monthly passes increasing in cost $2 to $3 each.
Gas taxes went up by 1.5 cents per litre and the regional tax on paid parking went up three per cent.
The money is going towards projects such as SkyTrain extension which will (theoretically) reach Langley City one day, and for the increasing bus services that are part of the long-term plans for extending transit everywhere from downtown Vancouver to the outer suburbs like Langley.
Nobody likes taxes. Nobody who relies on a pay cheque or pension likes to see the cost of getting around rise.
But the ugly truth is that we need better transit.
Two decades ago, transit in Langley was a joke. A few buses trundled through each day, mostly bound for Surrey and its (somewhat) better network of bus and SkyTrain connections.
Local transit advocates and politicians fought tooth and nail, and we did eventually get more buses. But we’re still underserved compared to other communities of our size, and for too many people, transit is still not even close to being a reasonable alternative to driving.
The tax and fare increases this week won’t fix the problem. But short of TransLink finding a hoard of gold under its HQ, we have to pay for better transit. We need to move seniors, students, and working people. We need to keep roads from choking on single-occupancy cars. And we need to reduce CO2 emissions.
That’s going to cost money, and there’s no way around it.