Letters

Comparison to Europe’s system childish

The Editor,

One of TransLink’s talking heads justified the cancellation of free transfers between buses and SkyTrain by pointing out that London and Paris transit systems don’t have them either.

Is he aware that the network of buses and subways in both places are such a dense grid that it is possible to travel all over town with one system only?

He also brags that the Compass card will give us a 14% discount over cash fares.

But the discount is a lot more than 14% in London and Paris’ fares list is simpler than that of the London system, though still extensive.

Tickets with a magnetic strip are used for a single trip on both the Metro and the RER (express suburban train) within Paris itself, and also for buses and tramways.

This ticket doesn’t allow transfers from bus to metro or from tram to metro but allows transfers to other modes within Paris.

Most commuters buy a pass loaded in a transit smart card called Navigo, which is cheaper if bought for the year (paid monthly).

At any rate comparing Metro Vancouver’s transit system to these two giant systems is childish. Both carry over a billion passengers a year on the metro/tube — and then there are the buses, trams, commuter trains and more.

We should instead look at towns with a smaller population than Metro Vancouver that do allow free transfer between their various transit modes. Their validators have both a sensor for a transit smart card and a slot for tickets with a magnetic strip.

In addition, transit systems in many European towns are the responsibility of the mayor and councillors, who get an earful whenever something goes wrong and, therefore, have an incentive to make transit a practical, if not always pleasant, experience.

How approachable are TransLink Board members? Do they even use transit regularly?

And why is it that Metro Vancouver’s small transit system needs a $400,000-per-year board chair when the London transit system is only one of the many responsibilities of the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, whose current salary is £143,911 per year (around $230,000)?

 

J-L Brussac, Coquitlam

 

 

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