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Nearly all Surrey commuters drive, snub transit and biking as inefficient, survey finds

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With major transit upgrades still years away, many in Surrey are increasingly turning to their own cars to get around

Surrey Board of Trade report finds fewer people choosing alternative modes of travel even as roads grow more congested

The Board of Trade says report shows a need to separate transportation planning from politics

SURREY (NEWS 1130) – Surrey has fallen behind and is in urgent need of transit and road improvements says the Surrey Board of Trade.

The group’s fourth-annual road survey shows most Surrey commuters — about 93 per cent — are driving their own cars, despite increasing congestion and rising costs.

The City of Vancouver is boasting that more than half of all trips are made by walking, bike or transit, but that’s far from the reality in rapidly growing suburban Surrey, where those modes of commuting are apparently on the decline.

Transit is unreliable, respondents tell the SBoT.

“Transit usage is consistently below 5 per cent,” says the report, with people in Surrey saying there’s a lack of buses servicing residential neighbourhoods and that a planned SkyTrain to Langley is badly needed.

“The low ridership numbers are more indicative of a lack of reasonable transit options for potential riders in Surrey. ‘Reasonable’ is variously defined by municipal or transit planners as being within 5 to 10 minutes walking distance to a transit stop,” says the survey report.

When it comes to the controversial issue of ride-hailing, the majority of people say companies like Uber and Lyft shouldn’t be restricted from picking up in Surrey, despite the mayor’s vocal opposition.

Bike-sharing didn’t get a lot of support from respondents, with only 12 percent saying they’re likely to use such a service in the large city with little biking infrastructure. Almost 60 per cent of people surveyed say they “would be very unlikely to cycle to work if Surrey had bike sharing.”

However in the four years of the survey only 1.1 respondents have said they count themselves as cyclists.

Since many people forego these options for their own vehicles, there are calls for new overpasses and widened interchanges along Highway 99, as well as demands to widen Fraser Highway to four lanes through Green Timbers.

The Board of Trade is making a number of recommendations, including widening the on-and-off ramps of bridges and planning all major infrastructure projects to anticipate population growth and its needs.

The SBoT is also asking all levels of government to work together on a “comprehensive and sustainable inter-regional transit/transportation plan for the South Fraser Economic Region that would not change with election cycles.”

But the survey shows people have their own idea of what the priorities should be; 79.1% want the new Pattullo Bridge to have six lanes available on opening day.

And the majority want a bridge (as was originally planned) to replace the Massey Tunnel; only 15.6 per cent would support expanding the tunnel.


Read the full report: