Transport Action BC

2010, March 30

Broadway Rapid Transit Concerns Business

Filed under: Rapid Transit, Streetcar-LRT — Rick @ 8:55 pm

West Broadway merchants (Vancouver Courier, March 19, 2010) are concerned that rapid transit construction in their neighbourhood could lead to a repeat of the Canada Line project, where Cambie Street merchants claimed construction devastated their businesses. The West Broadway Business Association is already requesting compensation for any business impacts that a rapid transit project entails. The Association favours a surface rail for the project.


TransLink – Evergreen Line Funding

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rick @ 8:36 pm
CBC Radio One’s Early Edition interviewed Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Shirley Bond on March 13, 2010 . The usual platitudes but some hints that changes to TransLink may be coming. She also took on the Mayors’ Council, stating that the provincial taxpayers have already invested in the Evergreen Line and that residents in other areas of the province are entitled to provincial investment in transportation initiatives.

Transit – Vancouver vs. Toronto

Filed under: Buses, Streetcar-LRT — Rick @ 8:23 pm
Globe and Mail reporters compare how riders are treated on the Vancouver and Toronto transit systems. An anecdotal and unscientific comparison.

TransLink – Evergreen Line Financing

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rick @ 8:00 pm
Francis Bula (Globe and Mail, March 13, 2010) reports that Lower Mainland mayors upped the ante with the province in their quest for additional Evergreen Line funding. The mayors argue that good transit in the Vancouver area benefits the entire province through greater economic growth. The Transportation Minister immediately countered this argument by stating that provincial taxpayers have already committed $400,000,000 to the Evergreen Line, not to mention provincial contributions to other transportation projects in the Lower Mainland. The Minister hinted that a legislative solution may be introduced to resolve the funding impasse.

Municipalities Must Support Transit Through Density Zoning

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rick @ 7:48 pm

Craig McInnes (Vancouver Sun – March 12, 2010) argues that there is more to a sustainable transit system than just building rapid transit lines. Municipalities must be willing to zone for densities that will support the level of transit ridership needed to minimise operating subsidies.

TransLink – Evergreen Line Financing

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rick @ 7:38 pm

The Globe and Mail (March 12, 2010) reported that TransLink mayor’s council wants the federal and provincial governments to assist TransLink with its part of the capital and operating costs of the Evergreen Line. The council is concerned about starting the project before funding is in place. The province, on the other hand, seems adamant that construction will begin, with or without TransLink funding, but offered no suggestions as to where the addition funds will be found.

2010, March 28

Canada Lags at High-Speed Rail

Filed under: Inter-city rail — Tags: — Rick @ 12:38 pm

  Monte Paulsen, author of The Tyee series on high-speed rail, provides a précis of Canada’s efforts and lack thereof when it comes to high-speed rail. Much of the discussion will be familiar to Transport Action members. The article moves beyond Windsor-Quebec City, discussing the Edmonton-Calgary corridor, which noted high-speed rail activist Paul Langan suggests may have a better chance of achieving high-speed rail. The consortium backing this corridor is arguing that government must level the playing field with other passenger transportation modes and provide the tracks for trains to run on.   Walrus Magazine » High-Speed Trains: Off The Rails

2010, March 23

So Long Streetcars

Filed under: Streetcar-LRT — Matthew @ 8:02 pm
Olympic Line Streetcar

Second last day of service

March 21 was the last day for the Olympic line street. When Transport Action BC set up a booth at the March 14 train show in Burnaby, the streetcar was the most commented on topic. Everybody had positive things to say about it. We hope a way can be found for this service to continue. There will be more info about the streetcar in the next issue of the Western Newsletter which is coming out soon.

To get a copy of newsletter, join Transport Action. We have a special introductory rate of $20 per year. Details are on our website: There is a link to our BC organisation. The next issue of the national newsletter Transport Action will have an article comparing the Canada Line and the LRT in Edmonton, in particular P3 and in house construction.

Many articles are appearing in the media regarding the streetcar. Here are a few.

Why Vancouver city hall should hop on this streetcar

Let’s at least find out if private capital shares the travelling public’s Winter Games enthusiasm for the scheme

By Bob Ransford, Special to the SunMarch 20, 2010

More stories about the streetcar:

Stephen Rees’s Blog -Vancouver says goodbye to Olympic streetcar

Buzzer Blog – Last Chance to Ride Olympic Line

2010, March 15

Annual Spring Rail Conference – Seattle

Filed under: Inter-city rail — Matthew @ 10:35 pm
Amtrak Cascades

view of an Amtrak train from inside Safeco Field baseball stadium

On Saturday March 13th, the National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP) together with All Aboard Washington (AAW) and the Association of Oregon and Rail and Transit Advocates (AORTA) held their annual meeting in Seattle. I attended the meeting and was pleased to see about 100 people enthusiastic to hear about the latest news about the Cascades rail service in particular but also about other Amtrak services in the Pacific Northwest.

Unfortunately for me the train I was planning to take to Seattle was canceled and I had to take a bus in both directions. Although it got me there on time, it wasn’t nearly as comfortable.

Loren Herrigstad, President of All Aboard Washington spoke about the need to develop a “Rail Lifestyle”. In his examples on his primary themes was to make it easier for bicyclists to travel by train. Currently the Amtrak Cascades trains can only take a few bicycles and have to be loaded by a baggage handler. Loren also used the Swiss example of excellent rail/bus integration, his own ‘pet’ topic of allowing dogs on the train, as well as having train coaches segregated by type of rider instead of destination like they do now. He thought there should be a bike car, family car, dog car, quiet car for example.  He also mentioned the importance of train stations becoming community hubs and activity centres.

Jonathan Hutchison, Government Affairs – West, Amtrak spoke about some of the things happening with Amtrak these days. The future is brighter for Amtrak with increased operating and capital funds, but he cautioned those hoping those advocates of re-instated trains such as the Pioneer and the North Coast Hiawatha not to assume that those trains will be seen anytime soon.

Andrew Wood Deputy Director of Washington State Department of Transportation – Rail and Marine office mentioned to 5 ingredients of success of a high-speed rail corridor. Here they are in order of importance:

  1. Reliability ( the most important. the train must arrive and leave on time!)
  2. Frequency (regular frequencies are important for flexibility)
  3. Journey Time (note that this isn’t the same as top speed which isn’t important)
  4. Accessibility (i.e. fares, connectivity, rental cars, LRT, local buses, car rentals..)
  5. Cultural Acceptance

The $600 million in stimulus money has been awarded but he doesn’t know which projects will be selected by the FRA as they are the ones that make the final decision.  The speculation is that most of the projects funded will be in the Seattle to Portland end of the corridor. This is probably because the Canadian and BC governments have shown very little interest in helping to improve this service or invest anything in it. In fact the Canadian Customs and Border Services Agency (CBSA) has tried to kill the train with their outrageous demand for $1500/day for screening passengers. Transport Action BC will keep up the pressure on the governments to do the right thing and drop this stupid policy and start planning to see how they can improve this important rail service.

Overall the Cascades services have been success with ridership growing steadily over the last 10 years and fare box recovery rising from 46% to 54% over the last few years.

Of interest to BC readers, the second train to Vancouver has been doing well. 27,000 people have used the second train since it started last August. The trains did really well during the Olympics. Sixteen trains sold out during February. It is still up in the air as to whether the CBSA will officially waive its demand for $1500/day after the trial period of the train ends on March 31st. For now Amtrak is selling tickets for the summer season on the assumption that it will be continued.

2010, March 12

Victoria Working Group

Filed under: Announcement — Matthew @ 12:26 am

Special Post by Victoria Member Rob Thompson

I am interested in working with a small group of people here in Greater Victoria to improve existing BC Transit bus service in Victoria. The current service is basic at best, and too often, pitiful. Only those who have no other option take transit here. My intention is to work to improve transit so that it is a desirable, competitive and viable transportation option for more people.

Over the last year, I have been talking to transportation-interested people about improving BC Transit service, doing research, documenting, and drafting ideas.

I would now like to approach BC Transit as Transport Action Canada – Victoria, starting with two basic proposals: a) for BC Transit to set up a citizen liaison committee as part of BC Transit’s Victoria Regional Transit Commission, and b) to display basic bus information at every bus stop, including route numbers, schedules and small route maps [currently many bus stops simply say ‘Bus Stop’ and have no other information].

I’ll send a draft of the letter/presentation of the above proposals to the Transport Action Canada – BC board for input and approval before any action.

If you have any general ideas and input at this point, I’d be happy to hear.

Rob Thompson


If anyone in Victoria or elsewhere on Vancouver Island wants to help please contact Transport Action BC, and we’ll put you in touch with Rob.


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