By Ken Wuschke. The FVRD’s and BC Transit’s proposed Fraser Valley Express [FVX] linking Chilliwack, Abbotsford, and Langley seems to be set up to fail before it even starts.There are good plans and there are plans that seem to be designed to fail before they are even implemented.
There are issues with pricing and there are missing stops along the route.
While many people see transit as a “loser cruiser”, I see transit as providing an affordable transportation option for low and even middle wage earners.
Here are the fare challenges with the FVX.
There will be no zone fares. Instead it will have one fare of $6 regardless of distance travelled. Langley to Abbotsford is the same rate as Langley to Chilliwack.
Second problem with the fare is the FVX will not allow transfers between Chilliwack, Abbotsford, and TransLink’s transit systems. This means if you are doing a trip from Seven Oaks Mall to Vancouver you have to pay $13.75 per trip. This compares to the West Coast Express at $12.75. Or using the 21 Aldergrove Connector and the 503 to the SkyTrain at a cost of $7.75
So an extra $6 per trip on the FVX. For many people this doesn’t seem much but then think about low wage earners. If you are making BC’s minimum wage of $10.25/hour you have to work 38 minutes to afford the one-way fare of the FVX. And this doesn’t factor in the extra fares to complete the trip.
The other problem with the FVX is there will be no stop at 264th Street in Langley. This is right beside the Gloucester Industrial Estates which has no transit service. And yet the many businesses there constantly struggle asking for people to apply for jobs.
Meanwhile the Abbotsford-Mission area has one of the highest unemployment rates in Western Canada at 8.3%.
This makes me wonder if the FVRD and BC Transit really care if the FVX will be success. But more importantly, will it be there for people in Abbotsford to affordably access jobs.
And what is Abbotsford City Council doing about lobbying the FVRD and BC Transit to find solutions that work for the people of Abbotsford. Little at this time.
We need to change this attitude. We need a city council that will lobby to support people having access to jobs. We need a council that understands the needs of low and middle wage earners.
If elected to Abbotsford City Council I would lobby BC Transit, the Township of Langley, and the Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure to have a stop installed at 264th Street. I would lobby BC Transit and the FVRD to have fare zones on the FVX and to allow reduced fare transfers between local Abbotsford transit and the FVX.
For transit to work we need to have good affordable fare options and we need to access jobs along the route.
The only way to build a stronger community is by supporting everyone who lives in Abbotsford.
A wage earner making $10.50 takes home $9.45/hour after taxes. This is based on a standard 40 hour week, 50 weeks of the year.