Another day, another article about South Delta residents who don’t want to lose their direct bus routes into the city.  This one’s from Sandor Gyarmati in the Delta Optimist.  I’ve said this before and it’s worth repeating: Any realistically possible change to the transit system is going to disadvantage some people.  The question is, is the change advantageous enough for more people to justify the disadvantage to others?  And that’s a question we won’t have an answer to until the Canada Line and new bus routes have been in effect for at least a couple of months.

But there’s something else that bugs me about Gyarmati’s piece.  It seems like he’s laundered a bunch of people’s complaints about the terrible things that are going to happen when the direct buses stop running, and he hasn’t bothered in any way to verify the plausibility of the complaints.  You remember verification?  It’s that thing reporters are supposed to do.  Take a look at this:

Another resident who recently called the Delta Optimist complained her daughter works at Granville Island and, in addition to waiting for a train in Richmond, will now have to take two extra buses to get to work, adding over an hour of travel time.

Maybe this is true, but frankly it cries out for some skepticism and more than a little explanation.  I get how this trip is going to add one extra bus.  The 600 buses used to stop on Granville–nice and close to Granville Island.  But now people going to Granville Island are going to have to get off at Olympic Village station and transfer to an 84.  (In a few months, they’ll transfer to a brand-spanking new light rail line going straight from Olympic Village station to Granville Island.)  So where’s the second bus?  I’m not saying it’s not there.  I’m just saying that anyone with a cursory knowledge of Vancouver buses should know that this claim needs a lot more explanation.

Next, let’s take a look at that claim about an extra hour of travel time.  Let’s assume that means an extra 30 minutes in both directions.  How often does the Skytrain come?  How often does the 84 come?  Peak hours?  Off-peak hours?  Are people going to be waiting for 15 minutes for the Skytrain and then another 15 minutes for the 84?  Well, maybe.  But I’ve certainly never waited anything like that much time for either of them.  Again, I’m not saying there isn’t an extra hour of travel time here.  I’m saying that this claim needs a little interrogation.

So maybe in the absence of any actual, you know, experience with how people’s travel times are going to be affected, we could avoid writing newspaper articles that fling around baseless speculation.  Deal?

Advertisements