Vancouver does not need more road tolls

The city is pricey as it is, let’s not add another fee for driving to work

Rush hour traffic on the Georgia Viaduct in Vancouver, BC. (Kristen Frier)

Rush hour traffic on the Georgia Viaduct in Vancouver, BC. (Kristen Frier)

Both road congestion and increasing emissions are issues that have been impacting the world’s climate and Vancouverites at an increasing pace. Millions of people commute to work in a vehicle, and according to Statistic Canada, four out of five Canadian commuters use private vehicles. 

That number is expected to increase with the addition of 600,000 more vehicles by 2040, it’s no wonder that as of 2018, the study on whether to implement road tolls in the city became something that everyone wanted to talk about. 

The term “mobility pricing” is widely used for this idea, and it is defined as the charging of vehicles for road usage using different methods such as point charges, which is also known as road tolls. 

After surveys indicating that more people were becoming frustrated with traffic and the impacts driving had on their schedules and jobs, it wasn’t long before Vancouver city council invested $1.5 million into this study for three main goals: reducing congestion, advising fairness, and supporting investments. 

Not only is implementing the extra fees for driving in Vancouver unnecessary, but it is also unfair to those who have no choice but to commute using their vehicles downtown. 

While climate change is an issue that was considered in this study, it is the opportunities that will arise within the next couple decades that drive these decisions.

With the statistics of a million new residents and job openings coming by 2040, many have worried about the continued development of residential areas and transportation routes. 

If mobility pricing was added to the mix, the unnecessary frustration could cause more conflict than benefits. When thinking of the different ways people get to work, driving in an individual’s own vehicle is the most popular way. Sure, you can ride a bike, but that is not the most ideal way to transport when you need to take the freeway to get into the city. 

Not many people are eager to carpool with someone or take the bus if they don’t have to during the pandemic. The hesitancy is still there, and the comfort lies within an individual’s own vehicle. 

Thinking of all the people that have no other choice but to drive their own car and commute a long distance does not seem fair to add a toll on top of that, especially when someone might have to pay an unneeded fee just to cross a bridge to get to the office. 

Imagine the different routes people would take to avoid paying that fee if we are only talking about tolls in the city or on the way to the city. Some people might go out of their way to avoid the extra cost, leading to more congestion in different areas. Not to mention, the emission rate would not change, it would just be moved elsewhere. 

Driving is a way of life. While horrible for the climate, emissions are going to be so hard to get rid of until there is more investment in renewable energy. 

Mobility pricing will cause anger and unnecessary stress for people, and we shouldn’t add extra costs to living in an already expensive city, when our city council can put their minds together and find other ways to help fix these issues.