Transport Action BC

2014, December 5

“BC on the Move” Online Survey Closes Soon

The BC Government’s online survey for its latest 10 year transportation plan closes on Friday, Dec. 12, 2014.

Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone announced the next 10-year transportation plan (“BC on the Move”) and consultation in October 2014. Consultation documents and details are here. Take the survey here.

SFU’s Gordon Price notes that funding for the planned projects is not subject to voter approval even though Vancouver area transit projects are subject to a “Yes” vote in the upcoming transit funding referendum. According to Price, the plan continues the province’s current highway projects with a bit of a sop thrown to cycling and transit.

The plan does mention rail but only as a mode for moving bulk goods and containers efficiently. Improvements to / support of intercity bus and rail passenger services are not considered.


2011, March 8

Fraser Valley Rail – Two conflicting visions

Filed under: Inter-city bus, Inter-city rail, Studies — Tags: , , — Matthew @ 12:10 am

The latest issue of The Sandhouse (Vol 35, No. 4, Issue 140 – Winter 2010/11) which is the journal of the Canadian Railroad Historical Association, Pacific Coast Division has a good summary of the Fraser Valley transit studies, one done for the BC government, the Fraser Valley Regional District, BC Transit and TransLink. The other study was sponsored by the group Rail for the Valley.

The article titled Visions of Fraser Valley rail collide in two studies: by Ian Smith. The first paragraph states:

Duelling visions of the future of rail transit in the Fraser Valley have emerged in two recent studies. One is decidely lukewarm on the prospects for rail even over an extended period, while the other proposes that work should start as soon as possible.

The eight page article describes both studies in depth and is well worth reading. Rail for the Valley is a group of people that want to see the old BC Electric Railway right of way, that is currently used for freight only, restored for passenger use. A major bottleneck would be the single track portion of the line in Langley between Cloverdale and the intersection of Highway 1 and Highway 10. This portion currently sees up to 18 coal trains and 12 container trains from CN and CP as well as trains of the short line operator Southern Railway of BC.

The Sandhouse is not widely distributed, I couldn’t find a current website for the group, but copies of the Sandhouse are available at Central Hobbies in Vancouver, and Kelly’s Kaboose in Kamloops.

For more information:

2011, February 5

Bridging the Gap between losing a commuter service and beginning Regional Transit

Filed under: Buses, Inter-city bus — Tags: , , , — Matthew @ 1:10 pm

The following is a guest post by Murray Gamble of Squamish.

There are two Commuter bus services in the Sea to Sky Corridor. BC Transit and PW Transportation, the third-party provider, are partners in both. There are different Municipal partners for the two services.

The Squamish Commuter, between Squamish and Whistler, is run by the Resort Municipality of Whistler. Squamish provides half of the local Municipal funding but, has no participation in the operation.

The Pemberton Commuter, between Pemberton and Whistler is operated by the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District, with funding from Pemberton and Mount Currie.

In 2010, near the end of its Operating Agreement, Whistler attempted to reduce its costs by raising fares 60%. In November, a monthly pass went from $145 to $232. Service was uncertain beyond December 31. Eventually, limited service was to be offered until March 31. Finally, regular service was extended to March 31.

Service beyond March 31 remains doubtful.

Parallel to this, the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District has been collecting information and reports toward the goal of discussing Regional Transit within the SLRD. There seems to be little doubt that there will be a period without inter-community transit between the cancellation of the Squamish Commuter and the implementation of any form of Regional Transit.

A group of Transit Advocates is proposing an interim service model.

Currently, it is possible to travel both ways between Pemberton and Squamish every morning. It involves two buses, run by different Municipalities, with different printed schedules and a change of buses in Whistler. Few people know about these trips which take 1 hour and 45 minutes. The same distance takes 1 hour and 30 minutes to drive.

The first suggestion is to combine these trips to provide through service and to make the information available in a combined schedule.

In the afternoon and evening the Squamish Commuter makes a scheduled trip from Squamish to Whistler, spends a few hours servicing routes within Whistler, then makes its scheduled return trip to Squamish.

Instead of serving as a Whistler bus between it’s Commuter trips, it could continue to Pemberton, providing through service between Squamish and Pemberton. It could leave Pemberton to coincide with it’s return trip from Whistler to Squamish.

By combining the morning trips and extending the afternoon and evening trips, morning, afternoon and evening service would be provided in both directions. The last trip to Pemberton would leave Whistler at about 10:45 pm, providing a much requested late trip between the two communities.

Squamish does not currently have evening Transit service through the week and has no service on Sundays or Holidays. If the Squamish Commuter started its evening service earlier and followed the Southbound drop-off route before beginning the Northbound pick-up route, a very basic evening service would be available in Squamish 7 days per week. This trip could be added to the Squamish Transit schedule.

Combining the morning trips and extending the afternoon and evening trips would provide 3 trips in each direction. Transit service would connect Pemberton, Whistler and Squamish. It would involve adding less than 5 service hours to the existing Squamish Commuter schedule.

It has also been suggested that service be extended to Black Tusk and Pinecrest Estates, between Whistler and Squamish. In 2010, Federal Gas Tax monies were used to build an area for buses to pull off Highway 99 and turn around. It has since been equipped with a shelter. The Commuter bus drives within sight of the bus shelter but, does not stop there.

Efforts to promote this plan include long letters to Elected Officials, edited versions in local newspapers, interviews on CBC Radio and a presentation to the Board of the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District.

For more information, to join the Cause or to make a comment, visit Pemberton Whistler Squamish Bus, on Facebook.

– Murray Gamble

2011, February 3

Sea to Sky Transit Threatened

Filed under: Buses, Inter-city bus — Tags: — Matthew @ 12:26 am

Sea to Sky Corridor

Murray Gamble, a Squamish resident has been mounting a campaign to save the bus that runs between Squamish and Whistler. The loss of Commuter transit between Squamish and Whistler, which will end as special funding drys up,  is happening at the same time that the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District is looking into Regional Transit.

It seems like these cities should work together to create a system that will link the region together. Finding a way to save these intra-regional trips that exist already would be a good first step.

For more info:

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