Monday, 13 June 2016

Our transit system currently is a joke.

Today, I'm going to do a final exam for high school. And tomorrow and Thursday. And I am beginning to get really mad at the transit system.

Well, not really the people who do run it. I heard that only Edmonton and other Canadian citizens thank their bus drivers when they leave the bus.

I am really only annoyed at the people who have the funds and the decision making authority.

It takes a minimum of 85 minutes to take the bus to the school. It takes 23 minutes by car. The bus isn't very direct, with many twists and turns through the collector roads, with many stop signs to deal with. It is also pretty infrequent, showing up every half hour. And because my dad wants me to be a bus early, I have to tack on another 30 minutes to the trip time just in case. In Japan, trains leave to the 10 second or so. Average delay being 6 seconds off chart. And these are on the bullet trains, arriving every 3 minutes. Extremely punctual, you can rely on them without accounting for extra time to your trip.

Good buses and good transit is relatively isolated from things that can delay them, congestion, with reserved bus lanes or train tracks, priority at crossings with other traffic, stops that allow quick boarding and unloading. You get your ticket before boarding, and you can board from any door, and following a fairly straight line.

I also cannot borrow a bicycle at the other end of the trip. I either have to have a pre arranged bicycle at the other end, feasible only for commutes, or bring my own bicycle, something I cannot do on the train during peak hours and it's awkward to take it around on the stairs and elevators.

Incidentally, my trip could actually be built with quite simple LRT construction projects. A 2.7 km extension from Strathearn on 95 Ave and 85 St to Capilano and an already planned extension to Heritage Valley is all I need. One simple transfer at Churchill Station and I can ride the 2.5 km to the transit centre intended to be built at Ellerslie Rd. The extension on the Capilano side isn't even hard, no bridges, nothing really difficult, a rebuild of the transit centre there maybe, no demolitions, nothing problematic, no grade separations even and just 4 low floor stops.

I'm pretty sure that the system we have isn't worth $3.25/90 minutes on it. A trip like the one I need would need very nearly this entire length for a trip that can be done in less than a third the time in a car for a price of about 2 dollars in fuel costs.

Edmonton has completely failed to build transit at nearly the rate it should have. For 24 km of LRT, over 38 years to build, we get about 1.58 km per year. We twin arterial roads at a rate probably at least 10 times higher. The LRT takes about 110 thousand people per day on it. More than the Whitemud Drive did in 2014. A system that can be used by anyone, regardless of age. They can be blind and use the train. They can be less than 16 and use the train on their own. The system is essential to me, as I cannot drive a car on my own. I know that many people are sick and tired of driving, and it can be quite expensive for them. It's also quite risky. A train is incapable of leaving the tracks on a pure whim. A second of distraction will not be a problem for the train given the automatic safety systems. Parents don't want to need to drive their kids around, my mom doesn't want to drive me to the test taking place despite the ridiculous amount of time the bus takes. By making cars practically a necessity to get around for non communing and even commuting trips, it encourages car use, even in a city with an LRT line,

Cities that continue to chose this path, I have a message for you. Stop hitting your heads on the asphalt and K rails and start putting them to work making high quality transit, almost like BRT on arterials and LRT on main routes, high quality cycleways, and walking attractive. To not do so is a direct infringement of my right as a citizen to travel in Canada. By that right, it means to effectively travel, not being theoretically capable of doing so. I should be able to decide on what means I get around. Amsterdam allows all means. Edmonton is not among the cities which is effective at getting people to get around.


  1. A good way expressing yourself. The authority should take note of this, address arising issues.

    1. I started this blog actually by a suggestion from someone on Youtube. The best decision I've made this last year.

      I've actually emailed the city before with letters as detailed as this when I had less self control over content and frequency so often that Catherine Tsiolkovsky, Kloskoskie? Kowalski? I don't know Polish names (the smart penguin from Madagascar I think has the same name). Whatever her name is, she's the communications director for the city, and she had to tell me to stop emailing so often. I try to get my mom to get her to re think this. She keeps refusing to let me. I like it when the city is obligated to respond. With this blog, I can't require the city to listen. You can email them though on your own behalf. The more people thinking alike, the better.

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