Burnaby gondola, Fraser Valley expansion top suggestions in TransLink survey

What should Metro Vancouver transit look like in 2050? @TomCityNews explains what the priorities are for commuters, including a gondola up Burnaby Mountain.

NEW WESTMINSTER (NEWS 1130) – Expanding transit to the Fraser Valley and building a gondola in Burnaby are the top suggestions from thousands of people helping map out Metro Vancouver’s transit priorities over the next 30 years.

Nearly 32,000 people participated in the first round of public engagement for TransLink’s Transport 2050, which saw extending service into the Fraser Valley as the most frequently-submitted idea. The most liked idea was a gondola up Burnaby Mountain to help Simon Fraser University students get to campus.

RELATED: Expansion, mouthwash, pets: Translink CEO weighs in on latest survey

TransLink spokesperson Jill Drews says extending transit outside regional boundaries is a possibility.

“For example, the West Coast Express has a stop in Mission, and at the beginning when that service was planned, an agreement was put in place to allow for that,” she says.

Mobility pricing – charging drivers based on distance and routes, like a busy intersection or heavily-congested area during rush hour – was the idea that received the most comments.

Drews says nothing will be finalized until late next year, but concerns have been raised about who’s going to pay for what.

“Our operating budget is only 50 per cent funded through fares, and that’s not including anything on the capital side, which are the major projects that we build, and the expansion that we’re going through,” she says. “Fares can’t be the only answer, fuel tax can’t be the only answer.”

RELATED: SFU commuters say gondola would ease travel pains on Burnaby Mountain

The survey and engagement also looked at people’s ideas for overall changes they want to see in Metro Vancouver over the next 30 years. Expanding and improving transit, housing choice and affordability, and creating jobs and services closer to home were top priorities.

It was TransLink’s largest engagement to date: 31,700 responded to the survey, and more than 4,000 ideas were submitted.

The next round of public engagement is set for the spring.

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