Brutal Metro Vancouver commute times set tone for mayors’ consultations on Translink funding

Vancouver’s dismal “D” grade in an international comparison of city transportation networks, highlighted in this weekend’s Globe and Mail, is a good backdrop to Metro Vancouver-wide consultations on future funding for Translink scheduled to kick off early in April.

That’s when North Vancouver District Mayor Richard Walton, chair of the Translink Mayor’s Council, begins shipping out binders of technical information to his colleagues as they wrestle with ways to fund new expansion of the region’s transit and transportation system.

Metro Vancouver’s average commute time of 67 minutes probably sounds like a dream world to Fraser Valley commuters who must challenge the Port Mann every day, but it’s a far cry from Milan (53 minutes) or Barcelona (48 minutes).

Will the new emphasis on “family-friendly” policies at both the federal and provincial levels lead to transit investments that get people out of their cars and back to their homes for more family time? We’ll see.

Meanwhile, Walton is fending off suggestions from Delta Mayor Lois Jackson that her municipality may break away from Translink and use its share of federal gas tax money to build its own transit system.

Clearly, this consultation could take a while.

Metro Vancouver is not alone in commuter hell.

As the Globe noted:

Not a single Canadian city cracked the top 10 on transportation issues, which measured such factors as commute times, transit ridership, kilometres of existing rail and vehicles per capita.

Montreal fared best, in 12th place, followed by Calgary (13), Toronto (19) and Vancouver (21), but all were outperformed by Hong Kong, Stockholm, Paris, London and New York.