I’m having a hard time keeping up with the blog now that I have two jobs: General Manager of City Opera Vancouver, as I have had since March, and now also Administrative Manager of Flamenco Rosario. These are both wonderful companies to work for and with, and I am enjoying my work with both of them, but it’s been a real adjustment. For the Flamenco Rosario job, I commute three days a week from White Rock to the Scotiabank Dance Centre on Davie. I catch the 351 bus near my house, ride it to Bridgeport Station at the northern end of Richmond, and then catch the Canada Line skytrain to Yaletown Roundhouse, from where I walk a few blocks to the office. It takes over an hour each way and costs just over $4.
The buses are plush-seated commuter buses with seats in pairs behind the accessible section at the front. If a trip is uncomfortable, it’s because I’m seated next to someone who is too large for the seat, or because there is too much traffic in the tunnel. The other day, some poor woman had a seizure while we were stuck in traffic in the tunnel for a prolonged period of time; we all waited for an ambulance to come pick her up from the Steveston off-ramp stop. That day, the bus was so crowded, there were people standing up all the way to the very back. On certain trips, the train is also very crowded, which people packed in like sardines, right to the doors. Sometimes, one must wait an extra three to five minutes for another train, if the one that arrives is packed and no one gets off at your station. I don’t really mind any of this, although the need for improvements to the transit system here is glaringly obvious. I often read and/or listen to music on headphones. I also meet people and make friends on transit.
One of my favourite questions to ask people on transit is “how good would they have to make transit, so that no one would bother to drive?” The question is generally regarded as absurd. How many trips? How many seats? What routes? What pricing? If enough transit was provided now, it could drastically improve the conditions for driving by reducing traffic. The financial incentive is a complex problem that could be simplified by making transit free. To me, this would be a perfect way to make things easier for the lower mainland’s poorest residents; to reduce traffic congestion; to reduce emissions; to improve public safety (since private auto accidents are so common); and, in a modest way, to alleviate the housing crisis, by making it easier to choose to be located farther away from the most expensive areas. The obvious downside is the tax lift that would be necessary to pay for it, especially with a vastly expanded transit ridership—but on the other hand, I wonder how much could be saved by eliminating the need for fare enforcement? How much would we save on auto accident reduction? This could also be the most painless way to reduce emissions.
I am going to catch up my blog posts within the next week. I hope you enjoy them! I always enjoy writing them to you.