Our View: Bus funding badly needed

It’s not just SkyTrain, it’s the whole transit system that needs funding

The thing about TransLink is that it takes forever to build or start anything. But once it’s there, it usually runs pretty well.

Sure, the SkyTrain balks at an inch of snow, but in the main, the system is highly reliable, from buses to SkyTrain to SeaBuses.

That’s part of why transit ridership in Metro Vancouver keeps breaking records, and why it’s increasing faster than anywhere else in North America.

We may not be Europe, and we may not have the bullet trains of Japan or the electric bus fleets of China, but we’ve done amazingly well for a region divided up into more than a dozen cities, divided by a river and ringed with mountains and an international border.

The success of TransLink has been, in recent years, its own worst enemy.

The Mayors’ Council has been trying to find money to maintain and increase current capacity on popular routes.

Meanwhile, the mayors are also looking for any funding they can find for the big, ambitious expansion projects that really should have been started about a decade ago, including a rapid transit line from Surrey to Langley.

Their recent ask of federal funding is all about stability, and that’s something TransLink, its riders, and even drivers around the Lower Mainland badly need.

We need certainty, not just that we’ll eventually get a SkyTrain line to Langley, but that it will have enough cars to meet demand. We need funding to expand bus routes from Walnut Grove to Brookswood, Langley City to Aldergrove, as our population heads toward 200,000 people. Certainty is vital to the prospect of keeping people moving as we head further into the 21st century.

-M.C.

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