Editor: When downsizing loomed for the many government employees at BC Transit in the 1980s, they had to think quickly. They rebranded transit to buy time and were motivated to save their cushy jobs, more than anything else.
Transit was no longer transport for the mentally, physically and financially challenged individuals of our society, as it always has been and still is. Transit was now purported to be an “environmental movement” to rid the world of evil drivers and road congestion. Yes, soot-blowing diesel buses clogging up the roads and emitting toxic pollutants were the answer to air pollution and road congestion.
Henceforth, anyone who questioned the efficacy of the costly and redundant bureaucracy at BC Transit was the enemy of the environment. He or she could be summarily marginalized and dismissed.
BC Transit could do whatever it wanted without any accountability and without any measure of its performance, or lack of performance.
It was brilliant. What a great hoax was hatched by the tricksters at BC Transit, which eventually bloated in size to evolve into TransLink in the Lower Mainland. As the bureaucracy at BC Transit grew, and the number of mindless minions collecting paychecks grew, BC Transit split into TransLink for the Lower Mainland, and BC Transit for the rest of the province.
The overhead to administer transit grew exponentially, and the cost of the overhead for the bureaucracy at TransLink has mushroomed to an estimated $150 million annually, today.
To put into perspective how massive this is, it is enough to build one new bridge or LRT line every three to five years. It’s obscene.
The predecessors of TransLink promised decades ago to vanquish road congestion, air pollution and carbon emissions. Instead, for not giving them pink slips, what we have at present is the bloated bureaucracy at TransLink and the divisive plebiscite to raise taxes for transit by TransLink.
“Fast and frequent” hub to hub transit by TransLink was supposed to coax drivers to abandon point to point transport (driving).
It didn’t. Most drivers bought a car to get off hub to hub transit and want nothing to do with it. Rather than pull drivers onto creepy transit, transit offered by TransLink has led to the following in Metro Vancouver:
· Worst road congestion in Canada and bottlenecks at all major bridges, due to overspending on subway and SkyTrain lines, and not enough spending on bridges;
· The most heavily subsidized transit organization in Canada ($700 million to $800 million annual tax subsidy for 200 million annual passenger trips in Metro Vancouver, compared to the $500 million annual tax subsidy for 500 million annual passenger trips in Metro Toronto); and
· The worst air quality on roads clogged with polluting diesel buses, which have exasperated respiratory illness and cardiovascular disease.
Do the bunglers at TransLink know what they are doing? Maybe they could use some paint thinner.
It’s not what it looks like at TransLink. It’s much worse.
If we continue to fund the bureaucrats who use transit to get rich, we’re sunk. About 10 per cent of the commuters use transit (among the entire population of the Lower Mainland) and about 90 per cent of the TransLink operating budget is used for expensive transit infrastructure (subways and the like). This is not the recipe for success.
The solution to reduce road congestion is to dissolve TransLink and build some more bridges with the money. Cut the operating and capital costs of transit with LRT having stops every 300 metres to 400 metres
Get the many feeder buses hampering traffic, off the roads.
You want to get somewhere fast in Vancouver?
Drive where there are no bus routes screwing up the traffic (West 12th Avenue rather than Broadway, with three bus routes for regular and express service, and all buses carrying few riders, now that UBC is out for the summer). Can’t TransLink just run one bus route on Broadway to rationalize service? I mean, three bus routes on Broadway, all starving for passengers most of the time? Surrey could use these extra transit buses instead.