Painful Truth: Future transport referenda ugly

Last year’s transit referendum was ugly. TransLink lost, but nobody really won, because we were left without an immediate path forward on getting more buses, light rail, SkyTrain, SeaBuses, or anything at all.

But sometimes you have to take the long view.

Thanks to recent experiments at the Large Hadron Collider, we can peer into the future of transit in Metro Vancouver! Gaze with me, into the years yet to come as we uncover how our descendants will deal with transit!

2017: Surrey Light Rail ceremonial groundbreaking. Politicians in purely decorative hardhats will plunge gleaming golden shovels into the dirt to kick off construction of the multi-year project.

2018: Surrey Light Rail ceremonial budget increase. Politicians will scatter and be very, very busy as the first cost overruns arrive.

2020: Second TransLink Plebiscite. The plebiscite is aimed at increasing property taxes only on those homeowners whose properties are worth more than $2 million. Fails because by 2020 in Metro Vancouver a tenth of an acre occupied by two mortally ill goats is going for roughly $3 million.

2022: Light rail service reaches Langley. Chilliwack (population 700,000) demands light rail immediately to serve its burgeoning population.

2026: Light rail reaches Chilliwack. Hope (population 500,000) demands light rail.

2027: As the Third Great Housing Crash hits, ridership finally equalizes as people colonize the long-vacant mansions of Vancouver. A split level in Burnaby now sells for $500,000 again, rather than the GDP of Argentina.

2030: Hyperloop opens, connecting Vancouver, Richmond, Delta, Surrey, Langley, Abbotsford, Maple Ridge, Tri-Cities, Burnaby, and North Shore.

2031: Hyperloop accident sends several cars of passengers sailing through the upper atmosphere. Hyperloop closes.

2032: Remains of Hyperloop repurposed as low-cost, high-speed alternative to ferry travel to Vancouver Island. Passengers report arriving disoriented, bruised, nauseous. Still more popular than waiting for the ferry.

2040: Fifth TransLink Plebiscite. Populace rejects bid to tax digital cryptocurrency transactions. Sad TransLink CEO announces that this will mean no extension of nuclear powered double-decker commuter trains to Salmon Arm.

2042: All self-driven cars banned from the roads. Robot cars strike for higher wages, better grade of electrical current, overtime pay.

2046: Seventh TransLink Plebiscite held secretly. TransLink keeps 27 voters in a Skinner box for a month. Still fails to convince them to increase taxes on tissue paper, light beer, and mint flavoured toothpaste. TransLink reluctantly scraps plan to build orbital launch facility.

2070: Cheap matter transmission gates invented. Traffic woes solved. Buses and trains recycled. Populace rejoices. TransLink CEOs, finally popular, are awarded key to MegaVan (formerly known as Metro Vancouver).

2071: Lineups begin outside popular matter transmission stations. Patrons complain about having to wait up to four minutes to get from Harrison Hot Springs to Kits Beach.

2072: Populace demands new matter transporters. Robot cars offer to resume taking people, but are shooed back to their pens at Mission raceway.

2073: Tenth TransLink plebiscite fails to charge fees on dog licences to pay for a matter transporter in every house.

Read Bob Groeneveld’s Odd Thoughts online this week at

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