Abbotsford News

For the commute the car is king

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In this feature series, the News is with commuters on their daily travels from Abbotsford.
John Van Putten Photo

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Armed with a coffee and the latest traffic report, thousands of Abbotsford commuters hit Highway 1 each day.

They are the road warriors, behind the wheels of their steel machines.

It’s the regular routine for more than 12,000 local residents, as they battle with the challenges of traffic congestion, weather and accidents, long before starting their working day.

Similar thoughts are in the heads of the 5,000 workers driving in the opposite direction, as they make their way into Abbotsford from Metro Vancouver.

Of the 12,250 people who tackle Highway 1 westbound every work day from Abbotsford, the vast majority at least know they will be off the freeway before hitting the renowned bottleneck that is the Port Mann Bridge.

Statistics from 2006 show that of the cities on the north side of the bridge, before Vancouver, the largest employers of Abbotsford residents are in Burnaby (705 workers) and Coquitlam (380). Only 860 Abbotsford people (or 1.87 per cent of the total Abbotsford workforce) are employed in Vancouver itself.

Instead, most westbound Abbotsford commuters who work out of town head to Langley (13 per cent) and Surrey (seven per cent).

While the stop-start commute is endured by many, far more Abbotsford workers are far less tempted by the prospect of another three or so hours added to their workday.

Sixty-three per cent of Abbotsford’s total workforce – 29,000 people – stays put, choosing to ply their trade in their hometown. Twenty thousand of those live within five kilometres of their workplace.

The figure puts Abbotsford in third place when it comes to residents in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley who live and work in the same city. Only Chilliwack (67 per cent of its workers) and Vancouver (66 per cent) have more.

As for the Abbotsford commuter’s mode of transportation – as for most in the Lower Mainland – the car is king.

Approximately 85 per cent of commuters drive their own vehicle to work, while another 10 per cent get a lift. Only three per cent walk or cycle, and just one per cent uses public transit.

Not surprisingly, there is growing grassroots demand in the Valley for another alternative – such as light rail.

Where Abbotsford works:

Abbotsford

- 28,920 (63% of the workforce)

District of Langley

- 4,580 (10%)

Surrey

- 3,245 (7%)

Mission

- 1,690 (3.7%)

Chilliwack

- 1,450 (3.2%)

Langley City

- 1,270 (2.8%)

Vancouver

- 860 (1.9%)

Burnaby

- 705 (1.5%)

Maple Ridge

- 585 (1.3%)

Richmond

- 535 (1.2%)

Where

incoming

commuters

travel from:

Chilliwack

3,445 (7.5% of the workforce)

Mission

2,825 (6.2%)

District of Langley - 2,315 (5%)

Surrey

- 1,620 (3.5%)

Maple Ridge

- 450 (1%)

Langley City

- 330 (0.7%)

Burnaby

- 290 (0.6%)

Vancouver

- 275 (0.6%)

Coquitlam

- 170 (0.4%)

Top five

cities in which workforce lives and works in the same city.

Chilliwack

- 67% stay in city,

33% commute out

Vancouver

- 66% in, 34% out

Abbotsford

- 62% in, 38% out

Richmond

- 56% in, 44% out

Surrey

- 41% in, 59% out

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