Drivers who leave their cars at the South Surrey Park-and-Ride are warned to follow the rules.

Drivers who leave their cars at the South Surrey Park-and-Ride are warned to follow the rules.

Towing to begin at South Surrey Park and Ride

Illegal parking compromises customer safety and service, says TransLink

After several months of warnings and awareness efforts, TransLink and its operating company, Coast Mountain Bus Co., will start towing vehicles that are illegally parked at the South Surrey Park-and-Ride lot.

But some regular users of the park-and-ride say the measure does not address the principal problem – not enough capacity to fill the need for the facility in peak ridership periods.

According to a TransLink news release Friday evening, a tow truck parked at the lot during the morning rush hour throughout this week was to serve as a final warning.

And as of June 25, towing will begin.

“With cars double-parked on the roadway, our buses are having difficulty at times getting through safely,” said Tom Fink, Coast Mountain director of transit service design.

“What’s more, customers who had parked their vehicles legally are returning to find they’re boxed-in. It’s a minority who are creating the problem, and unfortunately, the messages we have communicated so far are not getting through.”

Monday afternoon at the park-and-ride, reaction was mixed about the towing policy. Rick Cauley, who regularly drops and picks up his daughter there, said he does not think towing cars will solve the real problem.

“There should be more parking so people don’t have to park illegally,” he said. “If everyone wants to go green, they should make it easier.”

Regular park-and-ride user Ian Goodman said another problem is that use of the lot fluctuates with the seasons.

“They need more parking,” he said. “It’s not too bad in the summer, but when it’s September, it’s crazy.”

A young mother, who asked not to be identified, said she had little sympathy for those who break the rules.

“I hate people who double-park,” she said. “They’re so annoying.”

Online comments on Facebook and Twitter were not positive.

“What hypocrisy!” wrote James Tanner. “…when people actually do start to carpool and take transit these same political parasites offer no place for us to park our cars.”

Natalie Saunders called it “a clear demonstration that there is not much planning being done by the corporations and governments.”

“So people finally give in to the pressure, and then can’t park because the park and ride locations are full and won’t be expanded,” wrote Michelle Stoetzel, adding, “South Surrey is a major pivot point for those who live there, and TransLink again demonstrates their shortsightedness in planning for the future.”

“Translink is just flat out broken,” wrote Garret Ralston.

Paul Wittal called the situation a “mess,” but said it shows TransLink is “providing viable transit” and should spend more on park-and-ride lots.

“Give them the funding to expand,” agreed Daniel Carreira.

Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts weighed in on Twitter to point out the city lacks power over the park-and -ride lots.

“We give them $164 million per year & no input into how it is spent,” Watts posted.

“Would love for it to go to expansion of transit!”

Since October 2011, TransLink and CMBC have been placing leaflets on windshields, asking customers not to park illegally.

TransLink also painted yellow curbs, put up warning signs and placed notices in the shelters.

Those efforts reduced the number of illegally parked vehicles from a high of about 90 per day to between 30 and 40.

That is still too many, Fink says, which is why the tow trucks are being called in.

“This is not a decision we wanted to make, but for the sake of our customers’ safety and operational efficiency, we’re left with no choice.

“We are actively pursuing ways of accommodating more people, but at this time we are not able to expand the lot any further.”

Riders are being encouraged to consider alternatives, such as taking the #321 White Rock Centre/Surrey Central and #394 White Rock Centre/King George Stn. to the Park and Ride or parking elsewhere on or near King George Boulevard or 152 Street (where legal to do so).

While the designated carpool spaces are already taken, carpooling is still another option and shared rides can be arranged online at www.ride-share.com.

– with files from Dan Ferguson & Alex Browne

Surrey North Delta Leader