June 6, 2017 11:57 am
Updated: June 6, 2017 5:22 pm

Metro Vancouver mayor’s council sets up commission to introduce mobility pricing for drivers

Metro Vancouver has taken another step toward mobility pricing -- that means different rates for road travel -- depending on how far you go, and how much you drive. Jordan Armstrong reports.

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Metro Vancouver has taken another step toward mobility pricing for drivers in the region.

Tuesday morning, the mayor’s council unveiled the Mobility Pricing Independent Commission, which is tasked with figuring out exactly how the new transit plan would work.

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Mobility pricing has already been part of the 10-Year Vision for Metro Vancouver Transit and Transportation with the goal to reduce traffic congestion on roads and bridges, look at the fairness of tolling some bridges over others, and support transportation investment to improve the current transportation system.

The council says with one million more people expected to move into Metro Vancouver over the next 30 years, a plan needs to be put in place to move people around the region easier.

Mobility pricing has already been put in place in other cities like Stockholm, Singapore and Oregon and the independent commission will look at a variety of models to examine how best to get the system to work in Metro Vancouver.

Stockholm has a congestion tax in which a bill is sent to the registered owner of the vehicle when that vehicle drives past a control point. Singapore has had an urban congestion pricing scheme for many years and by 2020 the city hopes to have one based on a Global Navigation Satellite System, meaning the charge would be based on the distance, time, location and vehicle type. Oregon has implemented a road usage charge program, designed so drivers only pay by the mile and not the gallon. OReGO participants pay a per-mile fee of 1.5 cents instead of the traditional fuel tax, and receive a tax credit for fuel used.

Any further details about Metro Vancouver’s potential plan have not yet been released.

A small expert staff team, supported by technical consultants, will support the research, analysis and public engagement for the road pricing. This team will be led by internationally-recognized mobility pricing expert, Daniel Firth, who has been appointed Executive Director.

The commission will deliver recommendations to the TransLink Board and the mayors’ council by next spring. Members of the public will have the opportunity to have their say at public meetings across Metro Vancouver and online.

On some key commuter routes, the council found it is already taking drivers an additional 10 to 15 minutes longer to get to work than it did 10 years ago.

“Mobility pricing is a key pillar of the Mayors’ Council’s 10-Year Vision that could fix Metro Vancouver’s unfair user pricing regime, significantly reduce congestion, and deliver fair and stable funding for our transit and transportation network,” said Gregor Robertson, Mayor of Vancouver and chair, Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation, in a release. “It’s crucial that people are able to move efficiently and affordably around our growing region using the route, time and mode that works best for them and for the transportation network overall. I look forward to hearing the Independent Commission’s recommendations on a made-in-Metro Vancouver mobility pricing system that will work for everyone.”

The mayors have previously pushed for mobility pricing, despite a previous lack of support from the provincial government. During the election campaign, the Green Party came out in favour of the model to help cut traffic congestion and the NDP stated it would work with mayors to build a framework for a transportation plan, including mobility pricing.

Meanwhile, on July 1, transit fares will increase between five and 10 cents.

Starting July 1:

• Single-use concession fares will increase by five cents and single-use adult fares will increase by 10 cents (this includes HandyDART).
• DayPass fares will increase by 25 cents.
• Monthly pass fares will increase between $1 and $2, depending on zone type.
• Fares for one-, two- and three-zone products will all increase by the same amount (this includes West Coast Express).

  • With files from Yuliya Talmazan

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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