UBC Prof. Patrick Condon and Kari Dow have come to the startling conclusion that when you add capital costs together with operating costs, light rail is actually cheaper, per passenger per km, than any type of bus, and that Skytrain is the most expensive by far.
This is very significant for the Fraser Valley, because of the government’s promise to implement rapid buses to Langley by 2020 and Abbotsford by 2030. Rapid buses are not the affordable option for the valley. Particularly when you consider this study assumes construction of new light rail track in their cost estimates, when in fact we already have a strategically located rail line (the Interurban) that is sitting mainly idle and is far cheaper (and takes far less time) to uprade and use for LRT than a new line.
Condon also points out that for the cost of the proposed $2.8 billion Skytrain subway to UBC, you could supply each new UBC student with a hybrid car, forever!
Or, for that money we could fund the construction of a comprehensive light rail and transit network extending from UBC through Vancouver and right through the whole Fraser Valley, including a new rail bridge. One question though: if we spend the $2.8 billion UBC subway money on a comprehensive Lower Mainland rail and transit network, how on Earth would we spend the extra $1.1 billion that’s now allocated for a Surrey Skytrain extension?