A letter sent to the Abby News, regarding light rail and SkyTrain

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The following letter was sent to the Abby News by the Light Rail Committee and a copy of the same was given to the ‘Rail for the Valley’ blog.
The Editor;

The article, “Rapid Transit: The light rail option”, is timely, but one is irritated by Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon’s continued economies of the truth about SkyTrain. His claim that, “the business case conducted for the Evergreen Line linking Coquitlam, Port Moody and Burnaby concluded that SkyTrain technology would draw 2.5 times as many riders as light rail and would reach destinations in almost half the time.” is pure fabrication.

No independent study has ever found that the SkyTrain light-metro alone, would attract more ridership than light-rail, in fact the opposite is true; at-grade/on-street light rail attracted more new customers than elevated or underground metros! One tires of TransLink’s and Falcon’s wanton lack of ethics on this issue.

Noted American transit specialist, Gerald Fox, easily shredded TransLink’s business case for SkyTrain on the Evergreen Line. Fox found, “several instances where the analysis had made assumptions that were inaccurate, or had been manipulated to make the case for SkyTrain.” Fox also notes, “It is interesting how TransLink has used this cunning method of manipulating analysis to justify SkyTrain in corridor after corridor, and has thus succeeded in keeping its proprietary rail system expanding. In the US, all new transit projects that seek federal support are now subjected to scrutiny by a panel of transit peers, selected and monitored by the federal government, to ensure that projects are analyzed honestly, and the taxpayers’ interests are protected. No SkyTrain project has ever passed this scrutiny in the US.”

TransLink’s spokesperson Ken Hardie is not a transit expert, nor very knowledgeable on various transit modes and merely parrots what TransLink’s masters (Premier Campbell & Kevin Falcon) tell him to say. That’s what he’s paid for.

In Europe today, new LRT systems are being built cheaply, under $10 million/km.; less than the cost of new highway construction. Track-sharing with regular railways makes LRT implementation even cheaper.

We do not need anymore expensive and questionable studies; we know what needs to be done; we know how to do it. What is lacking is the political will to make it happen!

Malcolm Johnston
Light Rail Committee
Box 105, Delta, BC
V4K 3N5
604-889-4484

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