I don’t want this to get missed.  Peter Ladner’s comment in the post below:


My letter to the Sun in response:

TransLink’s biggest failure is in selling its remarkable success. It astounds me that your recent article on TransLink, loaded as it was with financial facts and figures, missed the most important question: after all these funding and governance issues, has TransLink been a success?

Since 2006, the shift of trips to transit in Metro Vancouver is unmatched in North America. s number of transit trips per person per year.

We have more than three times as many transit trips per capita as Portland, which is the #2 city in the 2.0-2.6-million population peer group in North America.

Among all cities in North America, Metro Vancouver is third, behind only New York and Toronto with their heavy rail subways, for transit trips per person per year. We’re ahead of Montreal, Boston, and Washington D.C.

Cities we compete with are committed to spending billions on improving their transit systems: Seattle $18 billion, Toronto $50 billion, LA $30 billion. We won’t have any new funding for at least two years, if then.

If the 1.1 million people coming here in the next 30 years match today’s patterns of car ownership, we will have to find road and parking space for 730,000 more cars. Parked bumper to bumper that many cars would reach from Horseshoe Bay to Sault Ste. Marie Ontario. This is physically and financially impossible.

Let’s start celebrating transit as a winning proposition. It’s the only way this region’s people and goods are going to keep moving in the future. TransLink has proven it can deliver. Give it some credit– and the resources it needs to stay successful.


  1. Maybe the province knows that accommodating 730,000 more cars on the roads we have is physically and financially impossible…. unless a substantial amount of land is removed from the ALR. Could that be the game plan? With developers paying for the roads etc, the growth/development ponzu scheme could have some life left in it yet in the Lower Mainland.

    Great letter though!

  2. It is transit that is a success. The bridges are a disaster. The overbuilt Golden Ears is costing TransLink over $40 million a year. That is enough when matched by provincial and federal funding to build one of the LRT lines in Surrey or the UBC Line to Arbutus.

    Time for TransLink to get out of roads and focus on transit, walking and cycling.

    1. Ultimately this kind of data is the only way a referendum expanding transit can possibly be won, especially if tied to future costs. Do you mind providing a citation? If true, these dollar figures need to be repeated often.

  3. Transit is a success, but the governance mechanisms surrounding TransLink and the choices around funding formulae are not. I really admired the work of the Transit Advisory panel for the GTA, lead by Anne Golden. You may not agree with their conclusions on transit funding sources, but the process(expert opinion coupled with public consultation) worked, and had public and media support.

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