Vancouver City Councillor

Downtown bus service review proposes route extensions to link West End, Yaletown in next five years

The Downtown Bus Service Review proposes route changes and extensions.

The Downtown Bus Service Review proposes route changes and extensions.

Key downtown bus routes will see route changes and extensions in the next five years to improve service and provide better links between the West End and Yaletown if Translink implements recommendations of the Downtown Bus Service Review.

City engineer Jerry Dobrovolny outlined the proposed changes in a memo to city council yesterday. The review, undertaken three years ago, involved several rounds of consultation and study.


August 20, 2015 Bookmark and Share

Burrard Bridge poised to pass 1 million bike trips . . . and that’s just in 2015!

Remember when satellite news trucks gathered at the Burrard Bridge to document the fiasco of the Burrard Bridge bike lane? Way back in 2009? It was the disaster that didn’t happen and the bike lane has been a big success.

Now Burrard Bridge bike route, now much improved, is set to register its one millionth trip of 2015. It’s a great achievement, and folks, traffic is flowing smoothly. Final upgrades to the north end are set to begin soon. Here are the details just released by the city:

This week, the one millionth person in 2015 will cycle across the Burrard Bridge. Join the City of Vancouver’s BikeVancouver and the Greenest City Bright Green Summer teams to celebrate this milestone!
Stop by the celebration station this Thursday, August 20 between 4:30 and 6:30 pm near the bike counter at Burrard Street and Cornwall Avenue to learn more about cycling in Vancouver, collect a bike map, and to share your story of how you’ve contributed to Vancouver’s Greenest City initiative. You can also submit a prediction as to when the Burrard Bridge cycling counter will reach 1,000,000.  Enter at the event, post your predictions on the BikeVancouver Facebook event page, or send it by email to to win a beautiful Herschel backpack loaded with BikeVancouver and Greenest City gear.
Event location: south end of Burrard Bridge at Cornwall Avenue
Date: Thursday August 20th 2015
Time: 4:30-6:30 pm
For more information and to enter the contest, visit:

August 18, 2015 Bookmark and Share

Single zone bus fare signals Translink heading into home stretch on Compass card, tough decisions to come

bus picture

The single-zone bus system implemented to launch Compass is a temporary measure. Tough debates lie ahead on the fare system.

The new single zone for bus riders under the Compass card system, announced by acting Translink CEO Cathy McLay yesterday, signals Translink’s surrender, at last, on its requirement for Compass users to “tap off” on buses.

The “tap off” requirement was intended to monitor the length of rides and pave the way for “distance-based” fares, but Translink couldn’t make the policy work, a key reason the Compass rollout was seriously delayed. The solution: a single zone fare, no tap off.

The only way the single zone would fly with riders was if the fare was frozen at the current single zone rate. That way it would be a financial win for some riders but no one would pay more. Equally significant: any fare increase on the base fare must go to the Mayor’s Council for approval, not a great idea at the moment.

The single zone also means Translink has abandoned the very heavy fines it was proposing to levy, right or wrong, on anyone who didn’t tap off. Despite the constant references to technical flaws in the system, I believe these policy issues were at least as much to blame for the delay in the Compass rollout.

“Distance based fares” may make a return; the current system is temporary.

Very tough conversations will follow, given the failure of the funding referendum and the general agreement fares cannot increase without killing ridership. Still to come: resolution of important fare issues like Compass cards for the homeless.

McLay’s first day is actually Aug. 11. Until then, former acting CEO Doug Allen is technically at the wheel. It’s safe to assume this announcement had his approval, as well as that of incoming provincial Translink czar Peter Fassbender. It is also likely that the departure of a platoon of senior staff, engineered by Allen in recent weeks, was a curtain-raiser to yesterday’s announcement.

August 7, 2015 Bookmark and Share

Did the Chretien Liberals eliminate the federal minimum wage? Did the Trudeau Liberals vote to make it $15? Yes and yes.

Where you stand on minimum wage laws is usually a failsafe predictor of where you stand on many other social justice issues.

Okay, Tom Mulcair’s pledge to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 applies only to 123,000 federal workers. I don’t think he ever suggested otherwise, but where do other political leaders stand on the question?

Justin Trudeau says the pledge raises “false hopes,” but does he support the idea? I would think so, given the Liberals under his leadership supported a motion to that effect brought to Parliament by Mulcair in September 2014. But after this week’s attacks on the proposal by Trudeau, I wonder.

Is he now channelling former Liberal leader and Prime Minister Jean Chretien, who eliminated the federal minimum wage in the 1990s? Maybe. Vote for a federal minimum wage and then eliminate it? That really would be raising false hopes, but there’s precedent for either action in Liberal history.

For a detailed history of the federal minimum wage issue, see this excellent survey by Toronto labour lawyer Andrew Langille.

August 7, 2015 Bookmark and Share