Vancouver City Councillor

Category — Transit

Flawless rollout of Sydney’s new Opal transit card highlights delays on Translink’s Compass project

Sydney, Australia, overcame dire predictions of commuter chaos Aug. 31 with the flawless launch of its new Opal card system, a cousin of Tranlink’s long-awaited Compass card, which is being implemented by the same company. The complete launch came only nine months after the start of basic service.

It’s a stark contrast to the long-delayed rollout of the $197 million Compass card, now more than a year overdue. Translink officials have promised an update on the Compass program this month, but there doesn’t seem to be any chance that Translink will deliver on its 2013 vow to launch the program in 2014.

If Translink doesn’t announce a firm launch date, many commuters will want to know why not — not to mention the Translink Mayor’s Council, which now has two representatives on the Translink board.

Both Sydney and Translink are using systems developed by Cubic Transportation Systems.

Just a month after the Opal rollout, the main criticism is coming from seniors and students who are angry that the system has not delivered promised concession cares. Translink’s Compass fare system has been developed, but questions remain here about how it will work for students and special groups like the homeless.

September 28, 2014

Translink review has tough calls to make in face of riders’ urge to walk tracks during shutdowns

What’s the solution to Translink riders’ new urge to pry open the doors and walk the guideways during service shutdowns?

Commenters online after last week’s Sept. 8 shutdown urged heavy fines and stronger warnings, which make perfect sense, but that assumes Translink has enough personnel to despatch to such situations with the power to lay the necessary charges. (The current fine is $115.)

One of Skytrain’s great features is the low operating cost that result from automated train control. For Gary McNeil, the independent expert engaged to review the July shutdowns, the latest episodes pose a tough challenge. Adding more staff will erode that advantage.

There will be times when people do need to be escorted from stranded trains. But when they make up their own minds when and how to leave, they risk their lives and hold up everyone else. A solution will not be simple, quick or easy.

September 11, 2014

Toronto transit improvements would raise the bar with more frequency, night service, time-based fares

The Toronto Transit Commission is proposing a rider-focussed set of service improvements for its sprawling system, with more frequent service; a commitment to operate all routes all day long, every day; more night service; more transit priority; and a switch to fare payments that buy two hours on the system, not just a single trip.

It’s a package that raises the bar for transit improvements, particularly when major capital investments like streetcar and subway expansion take decades to implement. Most of the cost in the TTC plan is driven by wages, fuel and maintenance.

But the proposal has much in common with the Mayor’s Council 10-year plan for Metro Vancouver, which includes many of the same reforms. The cost of the Toronto plan: $69 million a year by 2018, with $288 million in new capital over over five years.

August 18, 2014

#Translink has Compass card provider Cubic on hold, but Transport for London is taking their calls

Translink may have have put Compass-card provider Cubic on hold with its recent decision to further delay roll-out of the new farecard system, but the global ticketing company is getting its calls returned in London.

Transport for London has just awarded the firm a 10-year, $1.2 billion contract for ticketing and faregate systems. The contract takes effect next year.


July 30, 2014