I noticed a "More Buses NOW"
campaign this morning that was displayed on the 24Hours newspaper today, and was reminded of it just now after a friend of mine liked it on Facebook.
I wasn't so sure whether to be critical of it or not at first given the plenty of knee-jerk reactions that the general public already has on the current transit troubles (aka TransLink is too bloated or costly, cut the fat, split the system, it must go, etc.)... and adding to that, the short title of the campaign's name sounded rather too simplistic like the above.
However, on a second, deeper look at the details on their website, it actually seems like a pretty decent campaign from the bus drivers' union to encourage riders to write to the province and the mayors to stop squabbling over taxes and to start funding transit more... which is something that I totally agree with.
Of course, it remains to be seen if people who do not take transit and/or feel that transit adequately serves them will support any extra tax measures... and it's been said that some tax increases like the gas tax are turning out to be real flops. Another nitpick is that the statistics that they use for comparing Vancouver to Toronto and Montreal aren't exactly fair, given the generally smaller and denser areas that Toronto and Montreal municipal transits serve.
In addition, there still exist several places where efficiencies may be gained as listed below:
- One that has been talked about lately are modifications to the policing contract (as the current one was extended from transit and is rather ill-suited for the service). Following on that, the security apparatus of the CMBC is technically a cheaper extension of the police service and might do better being integrated into it. The other possibility would be to scrap the transit police service and form a joint task force of local police forces on Transit-related crimes and incidents, and perhaps keep the security role for fast response?
- A second area where efficiencies may be found could be the simplification of fare media. I'm not sure how many types of fare media there are... cash fares, faresavers, monthly passes, separate tickets and passes for WCE, employer passes, UPasses, TransLink special passes, etc. I wonder how much more understandable and/or cost effective it would be to tie the UPasses and the employer passes to the 1-zone adult monthly pass or the all-zone concession monthly pass, as an example.
- A third area is the optimization of bus routes. It's been taking awhile to do but I've drawn something up to that effect. Perhaps I'll rush it out part of it soon for discussion on possible improvements to the North Shore, the TriCities, and the south of Fraser.
- And finally, is it necessary for TransLink to have a Board of Directors? I can understand the commissioner as a check and balance and a CEO as the head, but the Board of Directors sounds like something the mayor's council could do. Alas, it may just turn into another political arena with the latter...
Any other thoughts, comments, and suggestions?