Opinion

Transit map shows how underserved Langley is

I had the opportunity to take the new 555 bus between the Carvolth Exchange and the Braid SkyTrain station for the first time on Friday, May 9.

It’s a great service and makes getting to Vancouver, Burnaby or New Westminster very easy. I actually used it to make two round trips that day, and had a chance to see how well it is patronized. It is very popular during the morning and evening rush hours, and had a decent number of passengers at the noon hour.

However, I also gained some good insights from a very revealing transit map near the passenger pickup area. The map outlines all the bus and other transit routes throughout Metro Vancouver. The vast amounts of blank space on that map — places where there is no bus service at all — are confined mainly to three Lower Mainland municipalities — Surrey, Langley Township and Maple Ridge.

By contrast, Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond (with a few exceptions in farm areas) and North Vancouver have transit routes criss-crossing almost every part of their municipal boundaries.

Even the Tri-Cities area, which has historically been underserved, has bus routes serving places as remote as White Pine Beach, and throughout the newer area of Port Moody on the north side of Burrard Inlet. Of course, the Evergreen Line now under construction will give the Tri-Cities even better transit servuce.

The 555 route has helped to fill a bit of the gap for Langley Township residents, but it only offers a speedier way to get to SkyTrain, something that is still available through other bus routes such as the 502 and 501.

Not far from the Carvolth exchange, thousands of people live along the 208 Street corridor — yet there is no bus service there, not even a connecting bus to the Carvolth Exchange.

One  outlying area where bus service was available in Langley Townshop, albeit only on occasion, is losing its service. Buses will no longer run to the area around Poppy Secondary. On occasion, the 502 to Aldergrove detoured in that direction, but TransLink is pulling the plug on that service — leaving another huge area of the Township transit map blank.

The transit map is well worth a detailed examination, as Langley Township residents will be asked soon to look over (and vote on) a list of tax increases that mayors want, to boost TransLink service.

While the details have yet to be released, Jordan Bateman of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation has suggested they may include some or all of a $75 car tax,  a .5 per cent increase in the sales tax, five per cent boost in property taxes,  new regional carbon tax and a $1 toll on every bridge in the region.

Bateman is getting his information on possible tax increases via questions being asked through an Angus Reid poll.

Without a solid proposal for a substantial increase in transit service, and a serious attempt to bring bus service to the blank areas of the transit map, how could anyone in Langley ever back such a plan?

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