Transit survey is 'crucial'

Community buses help supply transit in Langley, but more are needed to offer bus service to areas like Gloucester. - John Gordon/Langley Times file photo
Community buses help supply transit in Langley, but more are needed to offer bus service to areas like Gloucester.
— image credit: John Gordon/Langley Times file photo

Over the next four months, national research firm Synovate will contact residents throughout TransLink’s territory to learn about people’s travel habits: Do they travel for work, school, recreation, or to carry out routine household responsibilities?

Participation in the survey is crucial, Councillor Charlie Fox said at council’s Sept. 12 meeting.

If no one participates, “we’ll get nothing” in the way of transportation improvements, he warned.

“It’s critical for future planning,” Fox said, adding that if residents don’t take part “we’ll have no one to blame but ourselves.”

Until December, Synovate will be contacting households at random, inviting residents to record details of trips members of those households take during one 24-hour period on a weekday. The information will focus on destination, purpose of trip, time of day and mode of travel.

Those who take part will receive a $10 honorarium and the chance to win a prize.

Regional trip diary surveys conducted in 2008 and 2004 revealed that most people heading to work or post-secondary school leave their homes and travel to another municipality on their daily commutes.

Knowing the origin and destination of trips allows TransLink to plan road and transit improvements along the routes the survey participants take.

TransLink will analyze the responses and use the information to allocate funds to areas where transportation routes and facilities for private and commercial vehicles, transit users, and cyclists can be improved.

Township council has been critical of the level of TransLink’s service to Langley, in particular the lack of  bus links to serve Gloucester industrial estates in Aldergrove, and to south Langley.

Responding to the latest proposed increase in gas taxes, council agreed on July 25 that Township residents already pay an excessive amount of money for transport services that do not fully benefit them.

Residents pay for the region’s network of buses, trains and SeaBus through a number of taxes. They also pay tolls on the Golden Ears Bridge and, starting next year, tolls for the new Port Mann span. Residents also pay for TransLink with a special levy on their annual property tax bills and their B.C. Hydro bills.

TransLink says it needs the additional levies to pay for the new Evergreen Line in Coquitlam, which is proposed to connect the Lougheed Highway SkyTrain station with Coquitlam Centre. TransLink is also eyeing a gondola to replace buses on the Simon Fraser University link.

Neither of these options benefits Langley residents or others who live south of the Fraser River and who will nevertheless be paying for them, councillors said in July.

At that time, former councillor Jordan Bateman commented that “There is not a sniff of an opportunity for transit in Langley (and) we keep getting pushed down the line."

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