The news I have been reading lately about transit begs the question whether many folks in the media and local government actually do sit up at night looking for things to express outrage over. I wholeheartedly agree that Surrey is woefully under-served by transit. That issue however, can be better addressed through positive action and aggressive lobbying than setting our collective hair on fire and just generally freaking out in all directions over what is simply… change.
Take the new Compass smart card. Taxpayers and transit riders have been lobbying for faregates at SkyTrain stations for years – here they are. They come with technology. That technology doesn’t mesh with the outdated technology of the fareboxes on buses. Therefore the system will no longer allow for bus-to-rail transfers.
I would rather TransLink spend $25-30 million increasing service south of the Fraser than retrofitting old fareboxes on 1,500 buses.
There will also be tens of millions of dollars saved by not having to print monthly passes, transfers and Faresaver tickets.
For those who are upset because “I only use the system a few times a year,” well, most of you already buy a book of Faresavers to keep in your wallet for those few trips a year. Someone please explain to me the difference between doing that and whacking 20 bucks on a Compass card and keeping it in your wallet.
I would also like to comment on Surrey’s yearning for light rail over SkyTrain. SkyTrain is initially more costly to build, but is much cheaper to maintain and operate.
Here is what I would do: Twin Surrey Central station and run SkyTrain from Surrey Central, up 104 Avenue to Guildford, along 152 Street to Fraser Highway, then down Fraser Highway, and eventually into Langley.
Continuing SkyTrain from King George station down Fraser Highway is ludicrous.