Tag Archives: transit

Town squares have been replaced by malls…

Town squares have been replaced by malls – plazas with roads – parks surrounded by fences

loathe being subject to police questioning & supervision when…

I loathe being subject to police questioning & supervision when *paying* to help ease traffic congestion – Translink has ghettoized transit

efficient transportation and quality education are critical hallmarks of a decent society…

I contend that efficient transportation and quality education are critical hallmarks of a decent society

Not shocking – cop + taser + fare evader…

Not shocking – cop + taser + fare evader = “incident quickly escalated” anyone surprised? I’m offended & alarmed as a transit rider

bound for acupuncture – not taking translink’s recommended route…

bound for acupuncture – not taking translink’s recommended route of going downtown 1st to skytrain – heading to broadway stn then metrotown

Translink’s Name the New SeaBus Contest

You know i love the SeaBus (the crown jewel of the Translink system) and plan to be invited for the inaugural voyage … and with the dozen of so suggestions i submitted already, you don’t have a chance of winning but … i thought I’d fill you in on Translink’s Name the New SeaBus contest anyhow.

TransLink’s New SeaBus, arriving in 2009, needs a name!

Send in your entry for a chance to win 3 Three Zone Transit Passes and a ride on the inaugural sailing of the new SeaBus.

Please provide your suggestion and some basic contact information below to enter the Name the Seabus Contest.

Stay tuned for possible podcast coverage of me riding the high seas of Burrard Inlet on the new Sockeye, Coho, or Marmot, or Spirit Bear, or Minnow, or Luna, or Manatee, or Beluga … Incidentally, the two current vessels are the Burrard Otter and Burrard Beaver.

And while incredible reliable and not inundated by advertising, sometime there are mishaps on the SeaBus.

Note: So much more Seabus stuff in this archive including report on being a passenger aboard the first crossing of the newly named vessel (Pacific Breeze – ugh)

Gregor resists Translink’s draconian fine

In response to Robertson’s loonie lapse in The Province (Nov 4th) regarding Gregor Robertson (Vision Vancouver candidate for mayor) getting shook down for a wrong-zoned transit ticket:

Robertson was an NDP MLA in 2007 when he was caught riding two SkyTrain zones on a one-zone fare.

The avid cyclist told the transit police at the time it was an honest mistake, and one he rectified immediately by paying the extra dollar. He was still issued a $173 fine.

Robertson says he was going to use his Dec. 4 hearing on the ticket to argue the fine was grossly disproportionate to the offence.

I posit:

He’s right, it’s an absurd fine for a negligible offense. The excessive force used by the Skytrain police thugs is much more shocking then a failure to pony up a loonie on the horrendously overpriced and under-served transit system. Henry David Thoreau resisted taxes on principal to make a point and ended up influencing cataclysmic change in the world with his acts of non-violent civil disobedience (see: Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr.). Overstatement? Sure but i feel we have a stronger obligation to resist absurd laws and dranconian punishments than we do to capitulate to regulations which are not in the public’s best interest. PS More Buses Now! and transit should be free or cheap – and if you don’t use the transit system, try it – you’ll learn it is expensive, and often confusing (especially for out of towners), inconvenient (especially in the ‘burbs) and uncomfortable (especially during rush hour). Mass transit is a huge part of making an urban centre livable and needs real support, not more cops and fines.

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We Need More Buses! A Campaign by Drivers for Riders and blurb from Karen Quinn Fung

Excerpted from Meeting Friends at Health Show at Canada Place [archived link]… I can’t help but mentioning “More Buses Now!”  This campaign, organized by the transit drivers union, is holding the government to their promises of more buses – not just new buses to replace the aging fleet, but a significant increase in the total buses to encourage ridership, and stop the overcrowding which leads to pass-bys, crowded conditions, and compromised service and safety. Not fun for anyone – riders or drivers – watching the bus roll by on a rainy day with places to go – yuch. Participate by sending your opinion to Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon.

I’m a daily transit rider (rocking the bus, seabus and skytrain – sometimes all in the same day) and certainly advocate for making transit more convenient and more comfortable rather than looking at public conveyance as a perk or service only for the dis-enfranchised.

I love riding and relaxing while someone else drives which is why I helped ringlead Vancouver Transit Camp so continued big-ups to Translink for participating in the Skytrain Security Un-conference and huge ups to the organizers for putting this important dialogue in front of the public. Finally, to really support transit and sensible transportation policies in general – anyone living in Surrey, be sure to vote for Paul Hillsdon for Surrey City Council and/or School Trustee – otherwise, be sure to read his plans for sustainable transportation in the entire region.

Bonus Karen Quinn Fung – transit activist and scholar, added some of my acerbic dose of punditry to the conversation in Public Perceptions of Transit Security:

Rolling Transit Museum

As I mentioned yesterday, if you haven’t heard Dave Olson aka Uncle Weed’s rant on transit police on his Choogle On podcast, I highly recommend it with some good humour – his delivery is spot-on, and he entirely captures my own feelings on the topic. (For those of you with delicate ears, he does use some abrasive and explicit language. Nothing worse than you’ll hear on the SkyTrain.) It also brings home an awful lot of issues for me – this is a bit of a long post as a result.

{snip}

Perhaps you’re ready to write Dave off, because you think he’s of a different political stripe or has an entirely different set of values. That’s a legitimate reason to disagree with his delivery, perhaps, but not, I think, with his observations or the broader argument: that as citizens we have the right and perhaps even a duty to question how the presence of surveillance and constant visible law enforcement in our every day lives affects how we act and live in our communities.

Thanks to Karen for so gracefully sharing my spiel with transcription (which matches my stream of consciousness exactly – like stepping my own head). I do indeed ride transit everywhere i go (as in, in other countries and cities besides Vancouver) and like the other Dave OlsEn, i wish transit were free for the people!

Slow Train Coming – Talking Cascadia Trains in Vancouver Courier

from the article by Robert Alstead, Oct. 22nd, 2008
from the Vancouver Courier article by Robert Alstead, Oct. 22nd, 2008

I was interviewed (and used loquacious quotes like “super lame”) for an article about train travel in the Vancouver Courier.

I am including my quotes and a few other snippets about my pet-rant – inadequate train travel between here and points south as well as the photo by Dan Toulguet so it doesn’t disappear into the internet tubes like my previous photo appearance in this local newspaper. By the way, if someone could pick me up a paper copy, i’d be very pleased.

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Slow train coming

Robert Alstead takes a journey north by rail from California and wonders if Canada’s vanished passenger trains will once again carry us from coast to coast – Robert Alstead, Vancouver Courier
Published: Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Print version of Slow Train Coming
Web version of Slow Train Coming

Dave Olson, who works in marketing for Gastown web design company Raincity Studios, travels six or seven times a year by train, on business and pleasure. “I don’t care for jet travel because of the incredible hassle and huge eco-footprint,” says Olson. Like many, he would take the train more if he could. “I like the pace and not having to drive, I like the rhythm and the scenery you normally don’t see, the rail yards and seashores and forgotten neighbourhoods. I find the train-riding experience somehow charming, even poetic and certainly creativity stimulating,” he says.

However, he complains Amtrak’s evening train south is hardly convenient for trips to Olympia or Portland, seeing as travellers must make an overnight stopover in Seattle. The Amtrak Cascades is also infrequent and often booked up. Amtrak does offer several “train buses” which Olson has found “super lame” with long border waits. He’d rather take the car if there are no seats on the train, although it did mean a $124 parking bill and a chipped windshield on a recent three-day trip to Seattle. “I know we would’ve enjoyed some work or playing cards or meditating on the train,” he rues.

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However, the Amtrak Cascades offers a good example of the difficulties faced in enhancing rail services.

For years, Amtrak has wanted to add a second roundtrip train between Eugene and Vancouver. However, congestion due to heavy freight movement on track this side of the border meant that a new siding needed to be added to allow trains to pass. For six years, Canadian and U.S. officials and railroad owners Burlington Northern Santa Fe had been unable to hammer out a deal over who should pay for the upgrade.

That means that a second Amtrak Cascades has been running only as far as Bellingham. Then in March of last year, spurred on by the onset of the 2010 Olympics, B.C. transportation minister Kevin Falcon announced that he was committing “up to $4.5 million” (reportedly 57 per cent of the upgrade cost) to build the siding.

In June last year, Premier Gordon Campbell marked the new service on the platform at King Street Station in Seattle by exchanging a large symbolic train ticket with Washington Governor Chris Gregoire in a photo op.

The siding was completed months ago. Amtrak is ready to go. But the service hit the buffers due to complications with the Canadian Border Services Agency, which reportedly wants $15,000 per day to clear the train.

Graham says the matter is in the hands of the B.C. government. A spokesperson for the province says it’s a federal government issue. Faith St. John, spokesperson for the CBSA, said she could not comment on the matter “because we are in discussions.” But she did say that “decisions to provide CBSA services at a new location or to expand current services take into account human resource requirements and the ability to provide security and service to the public.”

She could not say when the matter would be resolved.

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Vancouver Transit Camp 2007 Preview

Vancouver Transit Camp 2007 Preview

Come ready to share, contribute and collaborate! Transit Camp is inspired by BarCamp. Bar Camp events are powered by participation.

The event will be well-documented in the form of blog posts, wiki content, photos, and video for everyone who is unable to attend. (Please use the tag: transitcamp.) If you would like to be part of the event, please keep in mind that we are limited to 100 people and so everyone there must be interested and involved.

We’re envisioning an event for Metro Vancouver to bring people using, loving and geeking over transit together with the TransLink staff, to talk about how we can make it better, easier and more enjoyable for everyone!

We will hold simultaneous small-group sessions on a self-organized basis around topics of interest to the community: taking advantage of Translink-Google Transit integration, creating and selling user-generated media and articles (music, buttons, t-shirts), photography, illustration and music inspired by transit in Vancouver.

This celebration and workshop-oriented event is intended to inspire a fresh approach at Translink in how it serves users and engages with community in order to achieve its organizational goals.