COPE promotes Transit for Everyone

Vancouver Sun, October 21, 2008

COPE is running it’s smallest slate in history for the upcoming municipal elections.  They have only 2 candidates for city council and 8 more between the parks and school boards.

However, one idea caught my eye:

COPE’s platform also includes a free bus loop along the Broadway corridor and from Broadway to downtown.

The model follows the lead of cities like Portland and would be separate from TransLink, Cadman said, describing it as a way to get people out of their cars and address overcrowding on existing bus routes.

I’m not sure if this will truly address overcrowding as the article claims.  Making a free service available means that it will create overcrowding.  Case in point is the highly subsidized UPass has SkyTrains and buses brimming full of students heading to U. for classes.

Unless there are new buses to provide this suggested free service along Broadway and to downtown, the current bus system will not accommodate the new ridership that easily. Broadway is probably the busiest transit corridor in the region, especially the West Broadway portion near Vancouver General Hospital.  From previous reports, I understand that the route is already saturated with buses and the addition of more buses on that route will not give any added benefit in terms of added frequency and reliability.  In fact, more buses in that corridor may do the opposite.

I admire COPE’s suggestion, but I think transit decisions are not really in the hands of our city councillors and more in the hands of TransLink with the “professional” board making the major decisions and the Mayors’ Council playing puppetheads to that board.  Even if the city were to go on its own, it may become a very expensive venture to provide this kind of bus service.  As always, the devil is in the details.

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