SkyTrain in Burnaby, looking towards Vancouver

Transit is more affordable in Vancouver (Infographic)

SkyTrain in Burnaby, looking towards Vancouver

SkyTrain in Burnaby, looking towards Vancouver

A few days ago I was speaking to a good friend and a colleague of mine, who really wasn’t a fan of TransLink. I noticed that much of that judgments seemed to come from his experiences as a transit rider, and from a generally negative shadow that has been/is being cast over TransLink by many institutions and groups – the media, politicians, and – of course – public transit users from all over Metro Vancouver. It’s a perception that can affect the most important choices that will make or break the hopes of many people who are pining for better transit, especially if the B.C. Liberals happen to win the upcoming provincial election and subject future TransLink funding to a referendum in which there is a status-quo option (my response to that at [CLICK HERE]).


There are a few things I know about TransLink, however, that many others don’t – things I have found out through spontaneous or targeted research sessions. So, I decided to tell him one thing I knew about how TransLink’s fares and affordability compare with the rates in other cities in Canada. It took me several messages on Facebook just to get the message to him about what the facts were in terms of fares, but by the end he was quite satisfied with what he was hearing.

I’ve never really tried to get this knowledge out to the public in a big way before, and I don’t think too many people are like him and would be willing to read long messages for me for 20 minutes straight. So, I’ve decided to try something new and different. Inspired by a recent series of Infographics that have concerned similar topics on the Metro604 website (former Civic Surrey)…. here is something that everyone can read at their own pace.


12 thoughts on “Transit is more affordable in Vancouver (Infographic)

  1. What your infographic fails to take into account is that Toronto’s transit is 1000 times better than Vancouver’s.

    – Buses are on time
    – Buses are more frequent
    – Buses have reasonable routes
    – you can get transit 24 hrs a day in a huge number of areas, that is reasonably scheduled.

    • I’d like to see statistics backing these claims up. Night bus service is definitely better out in Toronto, but then again different cities have different night transit needs. In Metro Vancouver, there’s not a lot of nightlife outside of Granville Street. I’m sure that’s different in Toronto. Everything else you’ve claimed, however, doesn’t seem to add up.

      I’d bet that with the conditions being faced by buses and streetcars in Toronto such as some of the worst congestion of any city in Canada and a lack of left turn lanes on streetcar corridors (which can block them), statistically this might not be an actuality. I’m not tempted to think that, with measures such as short-turning being needed on Toronto’s surface transit and having to be explained to riders with YouTube videos because they happen so often, transit is more on time here than it is there.

      Your frequency claims are also very subjective, because you’re making an apples to orange comparison. In some cases, you might be right; in others, you would be totally wrong. For example: on Eglinton West, there are some 32 trips with 40-foot buses per hour in the morning rush (average frequency, 1.875 minutes). On a comparable crosstown corridor in Vancouver (Broadway), you have the 99 B-Line express and 9 Broadway local trolley. The 99 does service every 2 minutes (and with 60-foot buses), and the 9 supplements that with 6 minute service. 40 buses an hour. In the end, every corridor is different and not entirely comparable. But, when you look at a number that really matters (bus service hours per passenger revenue dollar – that is, how many bus service hours are provided to every dollar paid by a rider in fares), TransLink’s is much higher than the TTC’s on a system-wide basis.

      Same goes for routing. In the end, every corridor has different transit needs.

      As my infographic and your comment both seem to point out, what a lot of people perceive isn’t usually in line with what is statistically right.

  2. Wow, I completely changed my perspective on Translink. Except for the fact that they have several to none night buses, and I have to work 3 weeks a year to afford to get to work, for which I’m fashionably late at least once a week (because skytrains are a little to crowded to squeeze in, or buses are a little late, which means I’, late for the second or third bus I have to catch).

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  4. Interesting analysis, but there is an error in your comparison of transfer rules. The TTC allows transfers to be used multiple times during a single trip, as long as the trip is continuous (i.e. you don’t make any stops) and one-way (you have to take the shortest route). However, all return trips require two tokens or cash fares.

    I also find it odd that you analyzed cash fares and passes but not bulk fares, i.e., tickets and tokens. The cash fare is irrelevant to most regular transit users.

    • I did attempt to confirm this with a friend in Toronto, so there may have been a misinterpretation. I just found the guide, so it explains that pretty well. The interactive infographic is easily modified so I’ll have that changed.

      Tickets and tokens are kind of like TransLink fare savers, same with 2-10 trips on STM. I could have added them, but that would have made the infographic way too long (it’s long enough already).

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