*Victoria aims to eliminate public transit fares *
VICTORIA wants to eliminate public transit fares for everyone in the region
to encourage more ridership and reduce the effects of climate change.
Mayor Lisa Helps will bring a motion to the regional transit commission
today, asking it to embrace a policy of phasing out user fees and expanding
bus service to meet an anticipated increase in demand. Coun. Ben Isitt, who
introduced the motion that was passed Thursday by council, said it would
begin with the elimination of fares for youth under 19 next year and the
broader community would be phased in.
Isitt said there’s almost no more space in the city for expanding roads or
“Driving is only going to get more challenging, so I think as we make
transit more convenient and cheaper, that provides a further incentive for
people to leave their cars at home.”
The transit system currently depends on $40 million in annual revenue from
fares but is primarily funded through taxation in the form of provincial
subsidies, gas taxes and property taxes. Isitt said the proposal would see
the fare revenue loss replaced with an expansion of the existing tax
Similar policies have been adopted in jurisdictions such as Luxembourg and
Estonia’s capital city Tallinn.
Other places offer free fare for certain demographics or in geographic
areas, such as Madison, Wis., where fare is free in the city’s core.
In Toronto, children under 12 ride for free, and in Kingston, Ont., high
schoolers can too. The City of Kingston said the objective of the program
launched in 2012 was to expose students to the transit system, building
habits they may continue after graduation.
Jeff Casello, a transportation professor at the University of Waterloo,
said eliminating fares can encourage ridership, including for those who
avoid public transit because they don’t know how the fee structure works.
“The idea of free public transport has been talked about in many cities,”
he said. “What many public transport systems are trying to do is increase
It can be an unpopular policy for municipalities that expect to recover
operating costs. Aside from some exceptions in megacities in Asia, Casello
said few public transit systems actually break even, so every dollar counts.
In North America, user fares typically support between 40 and 60 per cent
of the operating budget, he said.
Fare incentives also aren’t enough to make many people change their habits.
Those who already depend on transit will continue to use it and high-income
earners who don’t use transit won’t be incentivized by a fare change from
something like $2 to zero, he said.
There is a larger group in the middle that has some price sensitivity and
can shift habits depending on fare, but price isn’t typically the most
important factor, Casello said in an interview on Friday.
“It’s often the quality and the calibre of the public transport system. So
in a city where I can drive and it will take me 10 minutes and I have
hourly transit service that takes 30 minutes, reducing their fare is not
going to change people’s habits, at least not those discretionary users,”
But if transit is competitive and people are considering the option, then
making it free can shift behaviours where it will generate new riders, he
In Victoria, Isitt said an important part of the proposal involves both
electrifying the fleet and expanding bus routes and service to meet the
— The Canadian Press
Guardian article on results of biking infrastructure in the UK;
Cycle lanes are one of the most efficient and healthiest ways of moving people. A single bike lane can transport five times as many people as a motor traffic lane, without the air and noise pollution. This is good news for everyone, whether you drive, walk or cycle – or breathe.
What’s clear from the data, though – despite occasional bizarre claims to the contrary, and attempts to have lanes removed – is that to reap cycling’s benefits you have to build proper infrastructure. But if you build it, they will come – and the cycle counters prove it.
2018 was a record year for cycle lane usage in the UK, thanks to the construction of new, high-quality cycle tracks, the growing popularity of existing routes and good networks that feed into those routes.
The country’s big hitter for cycling, problems with data collection have hampered publication of digital counts on its two major cycle superhighways, which opened in April 2016. In February 2018, digital counters were installed and soon started displaying prodigious numbers
By August, 574,304 cycle trips had been logged on CS6, the north-south cycle superhighway, and by October 1,654,441 trips on CS3, the east-west route. After that, both counters failed and were switched off, but the CSH counters blog estimates they would have logged more than 3m cycle trips by Christmas. Using manual counts, Transport for London has recorded up to a 200% increase in cycling on the east-west route, and 124% on the north-south route, compared with numbers pre-construction. The city’s walking and cycling commissioner, Will Norman, announced on Tuesday that the counters were fixed again.
Closure of streets to through motor traffic – filtering – also boosts cycling. Goldsmiths Row in Hackney, where more people commute by bike than by car, was filtered in 2013. The cycle counter has logged 6.28m rides so far – an average of 3,917 on weekdays and 1,854 on weekends. It is estimated 1.4 million people used the route in 2018; in 2017 it was 1.1 million.
Interested in helping to improve transit service in our city? *Functional
Transit Winnipeg (FTW) is seeking applicants for board director positions. *See
attached for details.
Also, check out the upcoming FTW events:
*1) Functional Transit Annual General Meeting*
The AGM will take place on Monday, May 6th at 7:00 PM at St. Boniface
Library. This is a great opportunity for everyone to learn more about FTW
and what's been accomplished and what is upcoming. See (and please share)
*2) 101 Years of the Bus ft. Glen Murray and Dr. Orly Linovski*
This FREE event will take place on Wednesday, May 29th from 6:30 PM - 9:00
PM at The Good Will Social Club. For more info, please visit FTW's event
page and please share with anyone you feel would be interested.
*Vancouver sees record low in trips made by private automobile: report*
A new report released by the City of Vancouver illustrates the extent to
which city residents have taken up to modes of active transportation,
specifically walking, cycling, and public transit.
In Fall 2018, the municipal government commissioned Mustel Group to conduct
an extensive survey of the transportation patterns of residents living in
Vancouver. It found that 52.8% of all trips were made by walking, cycling,
and transit — up from 48.4% in 2017.
Compared to the survey conducted in 2017, there was a 4% decrease in
private vehicle trips in 2018, with the automobile mode share falling from
52% to 47% during this one-year period. The distance travelled using an
automobile also fell by 2.9% compared to the previous year.
But car sharing increased to 34% in 2018, an increase from 31% in 2017 and
29% in 2016, and access to private vehicles remained steady at 87%.
Overall, city residents had an “all-time low” for automobile trips, while
the share of those who walked increased from 25.1% to 28.5% year-over-year.
The downtown peninsula had the highest walking mode share, with 30% in the
Central Business District and West End getting around by foot and 31% in
False Creek. The Central Broadway Corridor’s walking mode share is 14% in
The area with the lowest walking mode share was the southeast quadrant of
the city at just 2%.
The mode share for cycling remained relatively constant compared to the
previous three years, with the mode share in 2018 at 7.3% — up from 6.7% in
2015 and 4.4% in 2013.
According to the data, interest in biking is two times higher during fair
weather conditions than cold and wet conditions. Cycling in fair weather is
highest in the Strathcona and Grandview-Woodlands areas (43%), followed by
Kitsilano and Point Grey (38%), and Central Broadway and Mount Pleasant
(32%). The cycling mode share for residents living in the downtown
peninsula is roughly half those of Central Broadway and Mount Pleasant.
Although regional transit ridership growth has been high in recent years
citywide transit mode share was relatively constant at 17% in 2018, with
the prior five-year period seeing a high of 18% and a low of 15.9%.
Kitsilano and Point Grey saw the highest level of transit use (41%) for
people travelling to work, and in most areas of the city over 50% of
students reported transit as their usual mode of travel.
Interestingly, the proportion of those who used transit passes was highest
amongst residents in the West End and the eastern half of Vancouver.
The vast majority of Vancouver residents regularly travelled within the
city; about 77% of trips originate and end within city boundaries.
These findings are based on 2,600 randomly-selected respondents who
completed trip diaries throughout the fall. But it identified some
challenges with the under-sampling of the 15 to 35-year-old age group and
the over-sampling of the 55+ age group, as the younger age group typically
does not have a landline and smartphone lists do not provide the home
location of cell owners.
Look here for charts:
Ciclovia cycling event cancelled
By: Geralyn Wichers
Posted: 04/17/2019 5:21 PM
Ciclovia, the annual Winnipeg cycling event, is on an indefinite hiatus, Bike Week organizers announced Wednesday.
Ciclovia began 10 years ago, when a section of Broadway was closed on a Sunday in September so cyclists could ride unimpeded by cars.
The event was part of ManyFest and was run by the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ. It was patterned after a weekly event in Bogota, Colombia, where, on Sundays, miles of road are closed to all but cyclists and pedestrians.
The event "has never really been able to achieve what was originally envisioned," Bike Week chairman Dave Elmore said, adding it became more about the street festival than a celebration of cycling.
Last year, Ciclovia was held during a cycling celebration event called Bike Week, which is held annually in June.
"We had a vision of building it into a true Ciclovia event," Elmore said, but explained closing roadways would involve city permission and a lot of funding.
Until they can do Ciclovia right, they won't do it at all, said Elmore. He wasn't able to give details on what a revamped event would look like.
*Pedestrians needn’t die in city traffic *
ON April 1, a 57-year-old woman died after she was hit by a half-ton truck
in the parking lot of Garden City Shopping Centre.
On March 26, a 41-year-old man died after he was hit by a vehicle on March
20 while he was crossing Osborne Street at Morley Avenue.
On March 19, a four-year-old girl died a day after being hit by a vehicle
while using the crosswalk with her mother at Isabel Street and Alexander
Those are examples of the many recent traffic deaths that cause grim
concern when newsroom editors gather to discuss Winnipeg issues.
Meanwhile, at city hall, councillors learned last week that the
administration seems unable to develop a plan to make streets safer. The
public works department was directed in January 2017 to produce a
road-safety strategy. More than two years later, the department hasn’t
started the plan. David Patman, the city’s transportation manager, blamed
the procrastination on turnover in two senior positions.
Coun. Janice Lukes expressed dismay, which was unsurprising because she’s
pushed since 2016 for Winnipeg to implement Vision Zero, a traffic safety
initiative created in Sweden that gets its name from its mandate of
achieving zero fatalities on roads. It’s working wonders in Edmonton.
To be fair, it should be noted that, even without a plan, Winnipeg has
tried to improve traffic safety in recent years. Examples include
pedestrian countdown signals at busy intersections, traffic signal poles
with breakaway bases so hitting them will cause less damage, new bike
lanes, traffic-calming devices such as traffic circles, and speed limits
around schools reduced to 30 km/h during the school year.
The problem is that such changes seem random, not part of a comprehensive
strategy. The public has no way of evaluating how these isolated
improvements fit together, which ones are working to improve safety and
what’s ahead for the future.
If Lukes had her way, the department would adopt the Vision Zero plan.
There was confusion on this matter Tuesday when Mayor Brian Bowman said the
city has already produced a plan, but the mayor was mistakenly thinking of
the similarly named provincial road safety plan called The Road to Zero:
Manitoba Road Safety Plan 2017-2020.
If this city had a true Vision Zero plan, everyone, including the mayor,
would remember it because the plan’s premise — no loss of life is
acceptable — would require a revolutionary change in Winnipeg’s car
culture. No longer would pedestrians, cyclists, school kids and senior
citizens be only an afterthought. The safety of these vulnerable people
would be the city’s top priority, ahead of the convenience of vehicles.
Since it originated the strategy in 1997, Sweden has cut its number of
traffic deaths in half. They did it with an all-in commitment to
redesigning roads, mandating changes to vehicles and changing the behaviour
of drivers. Jurisdictions around the world took notice.
“The countries with the lowest levels of road violence have adopted a
radically different paradigm of traffic safety, in which the state assumes
full responsibility and the focus is on implementing fail-safe roads and
vehicles,” reads a mission statement on the website of Vision Zero Canada.
To understand real-life implications of a Vision Zero commitment, it’s
instructive to scan the City of Edmonton’s 2018 annual traffic safety
Since Edmonton adopted Vision Zero three years ago, traffic deaths have
decreased by 40 per cent, collisions involving pedestrians have dropped 21
per cent and collisions involving cyclists have fallen 27 per cent.
The report gives a comprehensive list of upgrades in 2018 alone: 20 new
pedestrian signals; 65 new driver feedback signs that display a vehicle’s
speed; 27 school zones got safety improvements; 21 intersections where
turning safety was improved; and the introduction of five new pedestrian
scrambles, which are intersections where traffic is stopped in all
directions to let pedestrians cross laterally or diagonally.
To get drivers to slow down, Edmonton uses a controversial blitz of
cameras, laser and photo radar devices that move to different locations. In
2018, they gave out 379,000 tickets. They’re currently debating whether to
implement a blanket speed limit of 30 km/h in residential areas.
Would it work in Winnipeg? Vision Zero depends on results-based policies
and practices, so it would likely flop in a city where the public works
department is allowed to ignore for two years a directive to produce a
Implementing Vision Zero here would require strong leadership to change the
culture of Winnipeg drivers. We would need to drive as if every pedestrian
and cyclist were one of our loved ones.
It would also require a substantial investment of public money to change
infrastructure in a city designed to be the domain of motor vehicles.
Is it worth it? Ask the families of the people killed on Winnipeg streets.
*Carl DeGurse is a member of the Free Press editorial board.*
Even Junius has to get to work in the morning.
The Globe and Mail editorial board's fictional leader and author of the
newspaper's motto - "The subject who is truly loyal to the chief magistrate
will neither advise nor submit to arbitrary measures" - tends to spend his
time wrestling with weighty questions. Issues of principle. Matters of
state. The capital-F Future.
But before any of that happens, there's the small matter of getting to the
office on time.
And each day, like
84,000 other people in Canada's largest city, Junius rides the King Street
A little more than a year ago, Toronto, site of some of North America's
longest commutes and home to the continent's least taxpayer-subsidized
public transit system, decided to try a little experiment. On the stretch of
King Street running through downtown, streetcars would be given priority
over cars. The goal was speeding up commuting times - with nothing more than
a little change in the rules of the road. It involved installing a few
concrete barriers and painting some yellow lines, over a weekend.
It wasn't a multidecade, multibillion-dollar megaproject. It was an instant,
cheap micro-project. And the impact has been enormous.
So far, though, it's just an experiment - the King Street Transit Pilot
isn't permanent. Last week, city bureaucrats recommended that Toronto
Council make it permanent, essentially creating a kind of instant,
low-budget surface subway through the centre of town.
That should be a no-brainer. The little transit miracle on King Street
deserves to be studied, expanded and emulated.
Thanks to the project, commuting times have been significantly shortened,
and passenger traffic on the streetcars is up 17 per cent. New streetcars
have been added to the route, but they're still overcrowded at rush hour.
It proves that shortening commuting times doesn't just benefit existing
riders; it encourages new people to switch to public transit. The more a
transit service is quick, frequent and convenient, the more people will use
The King car is not just Toronto's busiest surface transit route. It carries
as many people as the number riding the Sheppard subway and the Scarborough
In fact, this one streetcar route serves more people than entire public
ship-APTA.pdf> transit systems in many American cities.
The King car carries more commuters than the Miami Metro. The subway in
Florida's largest city has 23 stations and is 39 kilometres long.
The King car carries as many people as the Denver, Colo., system of light
rail (LRT) and commuter rail, with 63 stations and 141 km of track.
On an average day, the number of passengers exceeds the entire daily traffic
of each of the LRT networks in Phoenix; Minneapolis, Minn.; Seattle; and
It carries more people than the Seattle trolley-bus system, which has 15
routes and 109 km of overhead wires. It carries only slightly fewer people
than the LRT network of Dallas - which with four lines and 150 km of track
is the longest light-rail transit system in the United States.
At first, the King Street pilot project generated pushback from drivers who
feared their bumper-to-bumper gridlock would only get worse, and from a
small but vocal group of local restaurateurs along King Street who worried
about losing car-driving patrons. But Toronto's downtown is so crowded that
the only way to reduce paralyzingly heavy car traffic is to create more
options for people to abandon cars for public transit.
And while Toronto still needs several big fixes, such as the so-called
Downtown Relief Line subway, the quality of life in a city is also the
product of lots of small decisions that can either improve the life of
citizens, or immiserate them.
Right now, the stretch of King Street where streetcars have priority is only
a couple of kilometres long. It should be gradually expanded, especially to
the fast-growing neighbourhood of condos to the west of downtown. More
streetcars should be added, further speeding up service. And, as in cities
such as Montreal, restaurants can even be given the opportunity to set up
patios on the street.
The big stuff - making a city easier to live in, faster to commute to and
more desirable to visit or do business in - is the product of a lot of small
steps. On King Street, Toronto's small steps are having a big impact.
11 Harvard Ave
Winnipeg R3M 0J6