Beefed up transit essential

letter to the Vancouver Sun from Pascal Spothelfer, UBC vice president of communications and community partnership

Re: Vancouver mayor renews push for Broadway transit line, May 6.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson is championing the UBC rapid transit line because he knows how critical this is to economic growth and jobs in our region.

The UBC-Broadway corridor is home to a burgeoning technology industry, British Columbia’s largest health care and life sciences hub, and UBC — the third largest employer in the Lower Mainland, with a total economic impact of almost $13 billion a year.

The UBC-Broadway corridor is the busiest bus route in North America. After the downtown core, the central Broadway area and UBC are the region’s top two transit destinations. But the current transit system along Broadway simply can’t meet the needs of the 200,000 people who work and live along the corridor. Add to that the Point Grey campus where the average daytime population now exceeds 60,000 people, and it’s clear we’ve got a serious transit problem.

Yes, the UBC-Broadway corridor buses manage to shuttle 100,000 people along the corridor each day. But when you add it up, an astounding 500,000 riders get passed up every year.

Surely we can do better.

The mayor says the UBC rapid transit line is the “single best thing that we can do for our environment, our livability and our economy.” Despite the financial challenges of constructing a transit line of this scale, we at UBC agree the line is critical to B.C.’s future prosperity. This is not just a project for UBC or for Vancouver. Better transit is essential for the Broadway corridor to become a real engine of growth, spurring new businesses and new jobs, for the benefit of the entire province.

PASCAL SPOTHELFER, VP Communications and Community Partnership, UBC