FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – October 11, 2019 – Surrey, BC
The need for a full 16-kilometre SkyTrain extension linking Surrey and Langley is clearer than ever. Just yesterday, the Ministry of Transportation released data that showed traffic volumes on the Port Mann Bridge have seen a 60% spike in the past 5 years.
This significant increase in traffic can be attributed to three main factors:
Many are also blaming the traffic spikes on “induced demand” (traffic filling the new capacity from bridge expansion), but with the record-high gas prices over the past few years, South-of-Fraser commuters are cutting back on unnecessary trips. The commuters responsible for the spike in traffic are the ones that drive to work or school because they need to—and they need to drive because transit alternatives are just not good enough.
The South-of-Fraser region (comprising of Surrey and the Langleys) remains one of the fastest growing areas in the Lower Mainland. Thousands of residents moving in every month, adding thousands of new commute trips. The pressure of this growth not only being felt on city roads and bridges: it is also being felt the largely bus-based transit network. Transit ridership in Surrey and the Langleys is increasing faster than the rest of the region, with a 2017-2018 increase of 15.6% year-over-year (over 6.5 million more trips, an average of 18,000 additional bus boardings per day).
Despite the increase in transit ridership, the majority of all commuters are still driving. According to TransLink trip diary data, over 100,000 daily commuters from Surrey and the Langleys cross a bridge to a North-of-Fraser city (such as Vancouver or Burnaby) to get to work or university—nearly one-third of all journey-to-work trips made by Surrey and Langley residents. 60% of these trips are made by private automobile.
The only way to reduce congestion on our bridges is to convert those trips from driving trips to transit trips. The primary obstacle to this is the lack of reliable rail rapid transit: many Surrey and Langley transit riders take long bus rides to catch the SkyTrain in downtown Surrey and from there commute to work or school. As these trips take a long time and are subject to the reliability of buses, many people choose to not take transit at all.
According to TransLink’s trip diary, commuters who already do take transit to work or university commute an average 50% farther than those who are driving; the acceptance of transit for longer-distance commutes underscores the significant potential of a full Surrey-Langley SkyTrain to reduce congestion by offering a fast and convenient rapid transit alternative to bridge commuters. With a full 16 kilometre extension, bridge commuters will be able to access SkyTrain and the greater region from one of 8 new stations that are closer to them where they are.
SkyTrain for Surrey urges the federal and provincial governments to extend their funding commitment to a full 16 kilometre Surrey-Langley SkyTrain extension as soon as possible. A full 16 kilometre Surrey-Langley SkyTrain is the best solution to addressing growing traffic volumes and congestion on the Port Mann Bridge.
SkyTrain for Surrey is the community organization that advocated for the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain extension, and continues to push for high-quality rapid transit projects in Surrey and Langley. We began as a petition calling for the scrapping of a street-level LRT proposal, which eventually amassed more than 6,000 signatures, and later contributed to making SkyTrain an election issue as a registered third-party advertiser. SkyTrain for Surrey continues to call for high-quality projects that offer a positive return-on-investment and recognize the rapidly increasing demand for transit.
Daryl Dela Cruz – Founder, SkyTrain for Surrey
Phone: +1 604 329 3529, [email protected]