Commutes slashed on new Port Mann, users say
Published Monday, December 3, 2012 9:10PM PST
Last Updated Monday, December 3, 2012 9:24PM PST
The new Port Mann Bridge is getting rave reviews from both drivers and transit users, who say their commuting times were slashed in half Monday.
For decades, the old Port Mann was considered the worst traffic bottleneck in B.C., so the lack of serious congestion on the new crossing was an odd sight for many motorists as they headed back to work.
Marianne Lazaro told CTV News her daily trip from Langley to Simon Fraser University used to require three buses, and sometimes lasted a full 90 minutes.
But on Monday, using TransLink’s new rapid bus service, a short SkyTrain trip and a second bus, Lazaro made it to her destination in just 45.
“That was amazing,” she said. “That’s very valuable to me. [It means] either time with my family, or I could take a later bus, or now I can go for coffee or sleep or read a book.”
Randy Robinson drove over the old Port Mann Bridge for 15 years, and his commute from Langley to Burnaby took him roughly 95 minutes.
This week, on the brand-new bridge, he saw his commute cut by more than 50 per cent.
“At this time of day, that’s good. That’s an improvement,” Robinson said.
There was still serious volume on the bridge between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m., which peaked at 4,000 vehicles per hour, but traffic moved easily over the Port Mann’s eight open lanes.
The remaining two lanes are set to open in 2013, and will make the bridge the widest in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
The bridge is toll-free for now, but users will start being charged per trip on Dec. 8.
And there are signs the new tolling system could even impact commuters who don’t use the Port Mann, as calls grow for new revenue sources.
Some Metro Vancouver mayors say tolling at more bridges and roads is a more fair way to pay for infrastructure and transit services.
“It’s keeping the price low but spread equitably across the entire region,” Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts told CTV News.
Have your say: Should toll fees be spread out to more Metro Vancouver bridges and roads?
With files from CTV British Columbia’s Michele Brunoro, Julia Foy and St. John Alexander