Vancouver transit earns high ranking
(24 HOURS FILE PHOTO)
Vancouver’s transit score sits at a comfortable third in Canada, closely behind Montreal and Toronto — with rapid rail lines to thank for it.
Matt Lerner, co-founder of U.S. research firm Walk Score, ranked using a points system. He said Seattle and even Portland — cities commonly referenced locally as fine examples of light rail use — were beat out by the Vancouver’s score of 74. The score applies only to the city of Vancouver and not all of the area covered by TransLink.
“We treat rail as more advantageous than bus, because rail (such as SkyTrain or the West Coast Express) has its own right of way. It has usability advantages — the routes are fixed and don’t change,” Lerner said.
“They’re easy for people to recognize and you tend to get more real estate development by their stations.”
First-place Toronto scored 78 with Montreal at 77. Lerner said Portland and Seattle ranked far lower at 57 and 50, respectively. The rankings use only city proper boundaries and do not include suburban municipalities.
“If a city has a large boundary, which Portland does, it can pull down the score because it includes more suburban areas,” he said.
South and east Vancouver are partly to blame for the city’s ranking behind Toronto and Montreal, however. Other factors include the eastern cities’ comparatively denser populations around frequent transit areas.
“As you get towards Burnaby and the southern areas of the city, you get to areas that are less served,” Lerner said, pointing to how a large portion of the city is within a 30-minute transit ride to downtown.