Skip to main content

A search for more sustainable business in Vancouver

I recently saw that the government is wanting to introduce a sales tax to help improve the transportation services in the lower mainland. There was massive uproar from people who claim that they're already paying too much ($151 per month for 3-zones). While I do agree that the costs of living in Vancouver are becoming insane, I do believe that the government is doing a great job of keeping the service up and running.

The Skytrain is the backbone of our city. The interesting thing about Vancouver is that the core of downtown is full during work hours but drops drastically in the evening. This is because most people who are downtown are only there for their jobs. Incidentally, an increase in tax would require too much effort to collect and would dispel its advantages. I'm sure they have run the numbers on this strategy but I'm thinking a better way to go about lowering the cost of transportation is to help businesses transition to a model that

  • allows remote working (usage of Skype/IRC/Yammer/Basecamp/JIRA/Confluence to communicate) -- this will allow employees with a growing family to take care of their kids while working
  • provides biking/walking incentives (if you have a bike and you bike to work, provide showers, enviromentally-focused employee awards, etc)
  • redistributes startups/divisions across the lower mainland (Surrey, Port Coquitlam, Burnaby, Cloverdale) instead of staying in downtown core
The problems with Skytrain aren't the cleanliness issues, the crime, or the ridiculous cost per month -- it's the reliability and scalability of the system as a whole. During the mornings, if there's a problem and people are late coming to work by a specific amount of time -- that's a cost that businesses are swallowing every morning. One can easily say, "just go to work earlier" -- waking up at 5am and leaving for work at 6am sounds like a logical plan but practice that for several months -- you'll find that on average an employee will be in "work mode" for 11+ hours (3 hours transit and 8 hours of work). I don't think any person with a growing family will find this sustainable.

Zooming out, that 0.5% tax increase is nothing compared to how many businesses are literally losing money from the Skytrain being delayed for several minutes across multiple stations. In my mind, the Skytrain is an intermediate service that should be used in order to transition to a new, more cost efficient way of living -- a more sustainable, environmentally-focused way of "going to work".

In order to help companies adopt these initiatives, a program much like SRED but for "environmentally-focused / healthy living companies" would need to emerge. If a company was to allow remote working (tracked by hours and results), provide biking/walking incentives, and create sub-offices/shared offices in other cities (branching), they would receive a tax credit. The problem I am trying to solve in my thinking is, how can we make Vancouver a city with healthier, happier employees?

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

TextMate Tutorial: How to add a Strikethrough keybind to your Markdown bundle

Markdown is awesome for quickly generating Readme's on Github. After looking at other projects using the strike tag, I've decided to create a custom keybind for it in my TextMate Markdown bundle. Here's how:

1) Click the + sign on the bottom left and click New Command.
2) Paste this into the editbox and make sure you name your command "Strikethrough".

For the input field, select WORD in the drop down.
For the output field, select "insert as snippet".
As for the keybind, you can totally map it to whatever you're comfortable with but I chose Command-D as it is the same thing in Microsoft Word.


World of Warcraft Ninjalist addon: version 0.1 coming along quite nicely

After toying around with more GUI related issues in World of Warcraft's API, I've decided to take a totally different direction. Originally when I architected this addon, I knew in my mind it would be a super simple Console application that a user could easily paste in a name and add it to the database; however, why stop there?

After discovering AceGUI, I can easily start developing UI components in no time! As of right now, I've got it saving data in between game sessions--the interesting part will come when I'll have to develop the web service that will parse the SavedVariable.lua, eliminate duplicate entries, as well as, do a huge merge between their copy and whats on the server's (per realm basis of course).

Here's a screen shot of the responses when adding new Ninjas to your list:
When a user clicks add after entering a name in the textbox, it'll go ahead and add that person to the ninjalist tagging the user's realm and current date/time. Someday, I…

Using Git Hooks: Prepare Commit Message to automatically prepend branch names on commit messages

When you're practicing branch by feature with distributed version control, typically you'll get assigned a ticket or issue and that ends up being your feature branch. Instead of always typing in the branch name in every commit, you can edit your Git hooks (specifically prepare-commit-msg).

Assuming that this is a brand new git repository:

mv .git/hooks/prepare-commit-msg.sample .git/hooks/prepare-commit-msg
vi .git/hooks/prepare-commit-msg

Edit the file by commenting out what was originally in the file and then add this:

Now, whenever you make a commit, it should show up like this in the log:

Since GitHub and Bitbucket both support Emojis inside commit messages, you can do something cute like this

Want more emojis? check out the Emoji Mardown Cheatsheet!