Archive for May, 2009

The Light Rail Committee’s position for Valley Rail from Vancouver to Chilliwack

May 31, 2009

The following  is the Light Rail Committee’s proposal for ‘rail’ transit,  from Vancouver to Chilliwack.


Diesel powered TramTrain, track-sharing with mainline railways, except for portions of the route in Langley and Chilliwack. TramTrain is a proven concept pioneered in Karlsruhe Germany in1992 and now used in many cities in Europe and North America. Track-sharing enables light rail vehicles to extend their service range, by using existing railway infrastructure, to affordably penetrate into less populated areas, while at the same time providing a high quality transit service. The following U-Tube clip demonstrates track-sharing on the Karlsruhe LRT system.

Single track operation is used in almost every LRT operation in Europe, providing cheaper service to less frequently used routes. Single track operation of a Vancouver to Chilliwack TramTrain will have double track portions at strategic placed to allow trains to pass each other, enabling a 30 minute service. The following U-Tube clip shows LRT operation on single track through a village.

Diesel LRT:

A concept of using diesel powered light rail vehicles on lightly used rail routes, providing light rail service without the expense of electrification. D-LRT conforms to strict EEC noise and pollution standards and provides a service on par with modern Light Rail Vehicles. Using D-LRT, enables transit service to operate in areas of small population, by track-sharing, yet still retain the ability to network onto city LRT rights-of-ways.

This U-Tube clip shows D-LRT in Ottawa.

The Plan:

The Light Rail Committee plan for the reinstatement of the Vancouver to Chilliwack Interurban service, combines modern light rail philosophy and operation, based on successful applications in Europe and North America with the need to provide an affordable service to the Fraser Valley. The line would start at Vancouver Central Station and track-share with existing railways to the Fraser River Bridge. This would entail double tracking the Grandview Cut, upgrading level crossing protection and adding two Stations at Braid and Rupert St.

Crossing the Fraser River Rail Bridge, the line would traverse the existing Southern Railway of BC rights-of-ways through Surrey to HWY 10, with double tracking and level crossing closures at strategic points. Future LRT lines could extend along King George HWY. & 152nd, North to Guilford and Whalley, creating a desired circle route in Surrey.

From Hwy 10 to Glover Rd. (Langley by-pass), the proposed D-LRT line would network off the Southern Railway rights-of-way at HWY 10 and operate, on a double track rights-of-way, through Cloverdale and Langley, to the Langley by-pass, in the median. This route would service Willowbrook Mall and adjacent businesses. Also a future extension may also travel up 200th to service a large population node, North of Willowbrook Mall.

From Glover Road to Sumas; the route would track share with the mainline ‘Superport’ railway until it reaches the CN cut-off and then travel along the old interurban route, now the Southern Railway of  BC, through Abbotsfords to Sumas. There would be a short rail connection from Sumas to Abbotsford Airport, providing direct Vancouver to airport service.

Sumas to Chilliwack; trains would travel on the existing rights-of-way until it reaches Chilliwack where a small 2 km. to 3 km. loop would turn around trains and provide a limited local service to the city.

As ridership increases and demand warrants the line could be electrified from Vancouver to Langley and full double tracking will be needed and a new Fraser River rail bridge will also be needed. A new multi track bridge would also enable D-LRT to service North Delta and Crescent Beach/Whiterock.

A 54 metre tram from Budapest

May 29, 2009

Long tram

A new 54 metre Combino tram for Budapest Hungary, capacity 350 persons!

Ex-Cambie merchant’s court victory linked to defendants’ failure to mitigate effects of Canada Line by Charlie Smith & The Georgia Straight

May 29, 2009

Publish Date: May 28, 2009

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Ian Pitfield’s decision to award $600,000 to a Vancouver businesswoman was based, in part, on the fact that three of the six defendants didn’t take sufficient action to mitigate the effects of Canada Line construction.

Susan Heyes, owner of Hazel & Co., will also be entitled to prejudgment interest and legal costs after she won a lawsuit against TransLink, a TransLink subsidiary called Canada Line Rapid Transit Inc., and InTransit BC Limited Partnership.

Pitfield noted the defendants claimed they took all possible steps outside of direct payments to offset the impact of a cut-and-cover construction project.

These measures included an advertising program to lure shoppers to the area. As well, there were frequent public announcements concerning changes in traffic patterns and the timing and duration of construction along the line.

“With respect,” Pitfield wrote, “the defendants’ submissions are not persuasive.”

Hazel & Co., which was near the corner of 16th Avenue and Cambie Street for 10 years, posted a gross annual profit averaging $329,424 between 2000 and 2004, according to the decision.

It fell to an annual average of $171,258 in the following four years—a drop of 48 percent—while Canada Line construction was taking place.  Heyes has since moved her store to 4280 Main Street.

“The loss of business income in the period from mid-2005 through December 2008, a period of just over three years, exceeded $500,000, and was wholly attributable to cut and cover construction on Cambie Street north of King Edward Avenue,” Pitfield wrote.

Heyes’s claims of misrepresentation and negligence were dismissed against all defendants, including the City of Vancouver and the provincial and federal governments.

She succeeded with a tort of nuisance—which is concerned with the effect of the use of one’s land on the use and enjoyment of land owned or occupied by another—against TransLink, CLRT, and InTransit BC, This claim was dismissed against the three levels of government.

In 2003, Vancouver city council approved a resolution supporting the project subject to several conditions.

Pitfield wrote that one of those conditions was that the line would be in a tunnel from Waterfront Station south to 46th Street, at the least.

At the time, the COPE-controlled council did not stipulate that this should be a bored tunnel, which would have created minimal disruption to businesses along Cambie Street.

Pitfield wrote that a February 2003 “final draft” of the project-definition report listed 10 options for placement of the Canada Line.

“Each contemplated a bored tunnel under Cambie Street between 6th Avenue and King Edward or 25th Avenue to the south,” he wrote, noting that cut-and-cover construction was not considered north of King Edward Avenue.

“Neither the bored nor mined methods of tunnel construction disrupt the surface except in the vicinity of a portal or a shaft,” Pitfield wrote. “Cut and cover tunnel construction, by contrast, requires the excavation of a trench from the surface to the depth of the tunnel floor, the placing of pre-cast tunnel sections in the open trench, and the return of excavated material to cover the tunnel structure and restroe the land to its original surface grade.”

CLRT’s request for proposals did not mention the possibility of cut-and-cover construction.

However, one SNC-Lavalin/Serco proposal called for cut-and-cover construction from 2nd Avenue to 37th Avenue. The other bidder, the RAVexpress consortium, did not propose a cut-and-cover project.

“The indisputable fact which I find evidence in this case is that the use of cut and cover construction was endorsed because it was cheaper and, in combination with some other aspects of the SNC-Lavalin/Serco proposal, reduced cost by more than $400 million so as to permit construction within the range of public funding commitments,” Pitfield wrote. “The reduction in cost was achieved by imposing an unacceptable burden on Hazel & Co.”

After the decision was made to proceed with a cut-and-cover project, CLRT CEO Jane Bird told Cambie Street merchants at a public meeting that the open-trench construction would last for three months.

“I find, in any event, that the statement that the tunnel trench would be open in front of a particular location on Cambie Street for a period of three months was a gross over-simplification of the impact that cut-and-cover construction would have on Cambie Street,” Pitfield wrote.

However, he dismissed the claim of misrepresentation, suggesting that Bird’s comment was based on “reliable information presented to her in January 2005”.

“The representation became inaccurate when conditions encountered in the course of construction necessitated change,” Pitfield wrote.

Source URL:

Urban Transit News from the Light Rail Transit Association ~ Oregon streetcar gamble starts to pay off

May 28, 2009


Oregon streetcar gamble starts to pay off : The project to set up a US tram manufacturing capability in the Oregon city of Portland seems to be paying off. After last month’s order for six Czech-licensed cars for Portland, Oregon Iron Works has announced a USD 26 M order for seven trams of the 10T type from the Arizonan city of Tucson.

The Tucson version will have more powerful air conditioning. The city has enjoyed heritage tramway operation on city streets by a volunteer group for several years, and is now extending the tracks into the city to provide a city centre circulator.

It seems modern streetcars are being made quite close to the Greater Vancouver area.

28 May 2009

Influences on success of light rail – From ‘Future of Urban Transport: Learning from Success and Weakness: Light Rail’

May 26, 2009

The following is an excerpt from ”Future of Urban Transport: Learning from Success and Weakness: Light Rail” a study by Carmen Hass-Klau & Graham Crampton.

Influences on success

The available data allowed the effects of eleven different influences to be examined, using correlation and multivariate regression methods:

  • the average light rail speed,
  • population density 300m light rail corridors, following the lines,
  • monthly fare relative to the country’s GDP/Capita,
  • percentage of new light rail vehicles,
  • peak headway in minutes of light rail service,
  • park and ride spaces per light rail track/km,
  • pedestrian street length per city population,
  • % of passengers using travel cards,
  • light rail network density, number of public parking spaces in the city centre according to city centre size,
  • other suburban rail provision.

The four factors in bold are those which, on first analysis, seem to have statically significant effect on the overall indicator of success on their own, before considering their combined effect with other vehicles. The three strongest of these – travel card use, length of pedestrianized streets and corridor density, have positive effects, i.e. they improve the likelihood of the system scoring well in the combined measure of success. High levels of fares worked in the opposite direction.

To College, by Interurban?

May 22, 2009

The following article from the Light Rail now folks has some valuable lessons for those advocating for the Vancouver to Chilliwack Interurban. The following universities and colleges would be potential destinations for students: BCIT, Simon Fraser University, Kwantlen College (Cloverdale and Langley campuses), Trinity Western University, and the University of the Fraser Valley (Chilliwack Campus). Students attending these places of higher education, alone, could support a 30 minute Vancouver to Chilliwack Interurban service. Something to think about Mr. Falcon!


University Station in Denver Colorado. The Valley Interurban stations would be much smaller in scale.

Light Rail Now! NewsLog
20 March 2009

Salt Lake: One-third of campus travel via light rail

In Salt Lake City, detractors of public transportation almost always with the aim of disparaging the impact of rail transit like to contend that public transit ridership is basically irrelevant in urban areas. To argue this, they often compare the ridership of a relatively weak transit system, or a single rail system, with virtually all the street and highway traffic of a huge region, typically much of which is outside the transit service area.

In reality, public transit in major urban areas tends to be a true workhorse, carrying much of the traffic load into concentrated, highly congested areas.

An excellent case in point would seem to be one of Salt Lake City’s TRAX light rail transit (LRT) lines that serves the University of Utah. Although TRAX ridership has somewhat “leveled off” since motor fuel prices dropped from the $4.50-per-gallon levels of last fall, an article in the Salt Lake Tribune (2009/02/16) reports that approximately 45,000 travelers a week ride the LRT system  representing 33% of total travel to the campus.

That means that even with the cost of using a car lower, and ridership down fully one-third of trips to the campus are handled by the Utah Transit Authority’s light rail service. That’s a relatively huge number of trips that would otherwise mean more private motor vehicles clogging streets and highways, and contending with one another for scarce parking … and a lot less pressure on the university administration to devote valuable real estate to providing more parking facilities.

So much for the “irrelevance” of rail transit at least in Salt Lake City.

Is LRT becoming the new Light-Metro?

May 20, 2009


A metre gauge tram in Germany is still considered LRT.

Since the early 1970’s, the term LRT or light rail transit, has been in common use describing streetcar or interurban type rail transit. The first generation of modern LRT were German ‘Stadtbahn’ (City railway) style of tram, generally articulated and heavier built than trams or streetcars of the age. The first generation of North American LRT lines used the Duewag or Siemens, BN of Belgium, now Bombardier Inc., licensed built versions of ubiquitous ‘U-2’s’. These vehicles acted both as a streetcar and as an interurban, proving very successful in operation in cities including San Diego, Portland, Calgary and Edmonton. The original concept of LRT was build it cheap and build lots and it will be successful and LRT was.


Lille VAL light-metro.

During the same period, several proprietary transit systems were developed including Ontario’s Urban Transportation Development Corporation (UTDC) ICTS and France’s MATRA VAL system. These proprietary transit systems were labeled Intermediate Capacity Transportation Systems (ICTS) or simply ‘light-metro’; though poor sales led the UTDC to rename SkyTrain ALRT or Advanced Light Rail Transit in the late 70’s. ICTS was supposed to bridge the gap of what a streetcar could carry and that which would justify a full fledged metro, but ended up costing as much as a heavy-rail metro, while having the same potential capacity of LRT. ICTS was designed to be elevated as speed of a transit system was the ‘flavour of the month’ and thought essential for a successful transit system. Sadly for the companies developing and marketing ICTS or light-metro, LRT and with articulated cars, priority signaling at intersections, and the concept of the reserved rights-of-way,  proved superior to its much more expensive light-metro cousin. Light-metro became another dead branch on the tree of railway evolution.

The legacy of ICTS or light-metro lives on and despite overwhelming evidence that there is little benefit of very expensive grade separated transit systems, much political, bureaucratic, and academic prestige is still wedded to the notion that speed trumps all for a successful transit system. To increase the commercial speed of a transit system, the number of stations per route km. must be reduced. Thus light-metro systems have one half to one third the stations or stops than a comparable LRT system.

Manila, Philippines.

With 4-car trains and carrying over 500,000 passengers a day, Manilla’s LRT systems justifies the need for grade separation.

Grade separation of a transit line is very expensive and propels LRT into the category of light-metro, complete with its failings. Of course, when ridership demand, such as Manila, or Kuala Lumpor is very high, then it’s quite right to build LRT as a light metro; yet operating as a light-metro, the elevated (or underground) light-rail still maintains the ability to operate on much cheaper, at-grade rights-of-ways.

Seattle LRT

Seattle’s new LRT has more in common with light-metro, than light-rail.

There is a disturbing trend in North America to build LRT on miles of viaduct or tunnels (subways), with Seattle being a good example of masquerading light-metro as light-rail! The result is a very expensive transit system, which despite their much higher costs, will attract the same or fewer passengers than at-grade LRT. Many planners have blurred the definition of LRT and plan for light-metro, while still calling it LRT, with TransLink’s Evergreen line light-rail proposals being a good example. More confusion is sewn, by calling ‘rail’ transit systems the meaningless ‘rapid transit’ or ‘mass transit’, which do not define transit mode at all.


There are several reasons:

  1. Because the huge sums involved, politicians turn light-rail projects into make work mega-projects, spreading the taxpayers money to many more politically friendly companies and organizations.
  2. Local officials desperate for funding, try to fool more frugal Senior governments by building a politically prestigious metro by calling it LRT.
  3. The auto lobby wants all transit up in the air, out of sight, leaving the roads for cars.
  4. Land next to light metro lines tends to be rezoned for higher densities, giving windfall profits to landowners.
  5. Transit bureaucrats can hire more employees with light-metro, enhancing their departmental ‘prestige’.
  6. Planners do not understand the difference between metro, light-metro, and light-rail and lump them together as ‘rapid transit’.

Despite the much higher cost of light-metro, there is little evidence of superior operation. Cities that build hugely expensive light-metro and/or LRT built as light-metro, tend to have smaller networks with higher operating costs. Higher transit costs means new taxes must be found (carbon tax?) to fund the light-metro and taxes curbs the appetite for ‘rail’ transit expansion. Smaller ‘rail’ systems mean a much smaller modal shift from car to transit and in the time of global warming and peak oil, one wants to get the biggest bang for their transit buck.

In the U.S.A., planners now consider LRT as a variant of a metro and what once was called LRT, is now being labeled fast streetcar! In Europe, a tram can be the simplest of streetcar or a commuter train (Karlsruhe’s Two-system LRT).  A dichotomy has appeared; in Europe transit planners strive to simplify and reduce costs of LRT, while in North America planners do the opposite, making LRT far more complicated and expensive than it need be! 

Have American and Canadian transit planners lost their way?

One wonders if transit planners should get back to the basics and again plan for user and taxpayer friendly transit systems that were so popular, successful, and affordable thirty years ago. Maybe the old adage: “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it!” should be remembered by those advocating turning LRT into a metro.


Calgary’s C-Train LRT in the transit mall. 90% of the line is at-grade.

New Hope For-Light Rail Folks ~ Brian Lewis, May 17, 2009 Province

May 17, 2009

New hope for light-rail folks


Brian Lewis has done some research on the ‘Interurban’ project and has written another interesting and supportive article.

Discovery of a long-forgotten legal document is giving new hope to advocates for re-establishing passenger rail service in the Fraser Valley.

It’s a 21-year-old Master Agreement between B.C. Hydro and Canadian Pacific. The Township of Langley says it discloses for the first time that the B.C. government, not the railway, holds the legal rights to run passenger-rail services on a section of the old Interurban line through Langley Township and the City of Langley.

As the original owner of the Interurban service that ran from Vancouver through Surrey, Langley and Abbotsford to Chilliwack until the early 1950s, B.C. Hydro and the provincial government maintained title to the entire right-of-way, even though above-ground rail assets on the section through Langley — known as the Pratt-Livingstone Corridor — were sold to CP for its service to Deltaport.

In effect, says Langley Township Mayor Rick Green, not only does the deal mean that CP must allow passenger-rail service on its freight line, but that it must allow that service to run at no charge. This, the mayor adds, means that the economics for establishing some form of light-rail transit on the old Interurban would be enhanced considerably, unlike the West Coast Express north of the Fraser River, which pays significant fees to CP for use of those tracks.

“Our provincial government of the day deserves an abundance of credit in its efforts to protect the public’s right to passenger transportation on the Pratt-Livingston Corridor, a right previously thought not to exist,” Green adds. And the mayor says the agreement’s requirement on passenger service may also check growth in additional freight rail traffic that carries containers and coal exports through Langley if future expansions of Deltaport are completed.

The mayor says 18 heavy freight trains now run through Langley daily, but if Deltaport’s full expansion proceeds that could increase to as many as 90 trains per day. “You can’t build a healthy community under those circumstances and anyone who wouldn’t stand up and fight against that must have something wrong with them,” he adds.

Green also sees the agreement as a key to advancing establishment of rapid-rail transit in the Fraser Valley.

He says that given discovery of the agreement, the township will now ask the Fraser Valley Heritage Railway Society to expand its planned 2010 Heritage Rail Demonstration Project, which will utilize a refurbished Interurban heritage car to run a tourist service from Sullivan Station in Surrey to Cloverdale. Green wants this pilot service to extend into the township’s Milner area, where a heritage Interurban station would be constructed.

However, before any of this happens the Master Agreement must be renewed; it expires Aug. 29. The township is now seeking assurances from B.C. Hydro that it will renew the agreement in full with the railway. “Our legal team is reviewing the agreement right now and we definitely support the preservation of passenger-rail rights on the corridor,” says Hydro spokesman Dag Sharman.

As for CP, it’s being tight-lipped. “We haven’t seen the township’s analysis or its legal opinions,” says spokesman Mike LoVecchio. “At this stage, in our view whatever they’re saying is speculative.”

Stay tuned.

Track facts – Modern light-rail track

May 15, 2009


The recently built tramtrain line in Heilbron Germany

There has been much debate about the cost of track laying and the cost for new tracks for light rail or streetcars. The following will hopefully shed some light on how modern LRT (streetcar) tracks are laid on-street. With the interurban, of course, the majority of the route will be shared with other railways and the costs would be to upgrade existing tracks (relaying) and adjustments to switches. Portland Ore. give good insight on modern track laying principles.

The Portland streetcar is laid with girder rail, set in concrete, which is sturdy enough to handle the larger MAX LRV’s. The main problem is that the streetcar line has tighter turning radius, which the larger LRV’s can’t negotiate.

The continued nonsense about relocating utilities has more to do renewing utilities on the back of light rail construction, and making work for municipal employees than anything else.

Many alignments of new LRT systems are increasingly placed in public thoroughfare rights-of-way (on-street). For example:

· Portland – over 28%
· Sacramento – nearly 23%
· San Jose – nearly 56%
· Dallas – over 20%
· Salt Lake City – nearly 19%
· Tacoma – 100%
· Houston – 100%
· Minneapolis – nearly 22%
· Phoenix (planned) – over 95%
· Seattle (planned) – over 32%

As much as possible, construction methods and practices which have significant potential for lowering costs should be considered. For example, in the case of the Portland Streetcar, the shallow-slab construction method (see Figure 3) proved to be a major cost-saving technique for in-street construction. Instead of digging three and four feet deep, disrupting utilities, and rebuilding much of the street in the process, builders use a quick “cut and cover” European-style track system that goes down between 12 and 18 inches and is 6 to 7 feet wide. A pad is laid down, followed by a light layer of gravel, and then a special dual rebar side frame is laid into this shallow trench.

Each running rail is encased in a “rubber extrusion rail boot” to provide electrical isolation as a corrosion control measure. This covers the rail entirely wherever there is ground contact, and is then attached to the specially shaped rebar frame with dielectric fasteners. The boot also provides some basic level of noise/vibration attenuation. The boot-encased rails are held only by the concrete between anchor plate assemblies, which are placed at 3.0-meter intervals on straight track and broad curves, or at 1.5-meter intervals on curves sharper than 300 meters in radius. The fastener assemblies remain separated from the running rails by the rubber boots to maintain electrical isolation of the rails. There are no gauge bars.

A major advantage is the minimization of subsurface utilities relocation. Instead, a kind of “bridge” (the slab, carrying the guidance rails) is installed over utilities. This enables utilities workers to make an adjacent excavation, as necessary, to access under-street utilities for repairs or other servicing.

Slab depths are 300 mm (about 12 in) for the RI 52 girder rail used on streetcar construction for cars weighing about 30 tons empty, and 360 mm (14 inches) for RI 59 girder rail used where streetcar and “interurban” tracks cross. Prudent planning would suggest designing and building for future use of heavier, interurban-type vehicles, since these might ultimately be needed if the original system is successful. It’s far more difficult to upgrade under-designed trackage than to upgrade stations and procure larger vehicles. To accommodate the possibility of heavier, “interurban”-style LRT in the future, a slab depth of 18 inches is sufficient. If the design of the rail line is to be in a raised median, then a depth of 12 inches can be maintained, with the slab, rising in a media, six inches above the roadway.

Seems a whole lot simpler and cheaper than tearing up entire streets and moving utilities, but then, this is exactly what the SkyTrain lobby wants!

Debunking the SkyTrain myth – Part 2

May 12, 2009


A tramtrain traveling through a village near Karlsruhe Germany.

The “Debunking the SkyTrain myth. Rail for the Valley answers the UBC SkyTrain Lobby” , post……..

…….has become the most read  and commented one to date, yet no one with the SkyTrain lobby has posted a credible reply. On the various SkyTrain blog sites, the one term used over and over is “cherry-picking” and how the LRT supporters cherry pick the best about modern LRT when they comment about SkyTrain. This argument is pathetic and certainly demonstrates a lack of knowledge about light rail, SkyTrain, and public transit as a whole!

What is forgotten by the various supporters of SkyTrain, is that it is a proprietary light-metro which was made obsolete by light-rail/LRT in the early 90’s. Light-metro had little advantage over LRT and cost a whole lot more to build and operate. As one could build up to ten times more light-rail for the cost of one light-metro line, the writing was on the wall so to speak for the mode.  The RAV/Canada line is testament to the fact light-metro is obsolete, RAV being a regular heavy-rail metro was cheaper to build than SkyTrain light-metro! No wonder the mode disappeared into obsolescence. As SkyTrain is a proprietary (not compatible with other transit modes) light-metro, the owner, Bombardier Inc., continue to sell the mode today as a prestigious airport people mover and not an urban transit system. Unless a transit system has routes with traffic flows in excess of 500,000 passengers a day, there is no economic case to build a subway.

Light-rail is a generic transit mode and adheres to the basic operational capabilities obtained by other systems, it all interchangeable. Speed of a light rail vehicle is based on motor size; commercial speed of a LRT line is based on the quality of rights-of-ways and station or stop spacing; capacity of a transit system is a function of headway; the industry standard for LRT climbing grades is 8%, with more powerful vehicles able to climb 10% grades and so on. Light rail operating on a reserved rights-of-ways or routes reserved strictly for trams (the Arbutus Corridor is an excellent example of a reserved rights-of-ways) was found to bring a slightly superior service than light-metro, at a far cheaper cost! Except for Vancouver, no other city in the world uses the existing six SkyTrain installations solely for urban transportation. The SkyTrain lobby would have us think otherwise.

The following are general facts about modern LRT, not cherry-picked, that the SkyTrain lobby, wish the general public not to know.

  1. A twined tracked LRT line has the ability to carry over 20,000 persons per hour per direction.
  2. A light rail vehicle has a passenger capacity, based on the industry standard of all seat taken and 4 persons per metre/sq., depending on size of vehicle, range from 95 persons to 350 persons, depending on the size of vehicle. (Note: The SkyTrain lobby uses capacity formulas of all seats taken and standing passengers at 6 or 8 persons per metre/sq.!)
  3. LRT or streetcar, operating on-street, with no reservation and no preemptive signaling is still about 10% faster than a bus on the same route.
  4. One light rail vehicle (1 driver) is as efficient as six to eight buses (6 to 8 bus drivers).
  5. On-street LRT (streetcar) can be built for under $10 million/km. (not including vehicles), what drives up prices is needless add-ons, strictly for political or bureaucratic reasons!
  6. It is not speed that attracts customers to transit, rather it is the overall ambiance of the system including ease of use, ease of ticketing, vehicle comfort (seating) and the seamless or no transfer journey.
  7. Modern light-rail has a proven ability to attract the motorist from the car, where 20% to 30% modal shifts, car to LRT, are common on new systems. SkyTrain’s claimed high ridership is based on Translink management cascading every bus and bus rider it can onto the metro!

It is no great feat that a simple tram line in Hong Kong carries over 260,000 a day, or a modern LRT line in the same city carries over 25,000 pphpd in the peak hours. Yet the SkyTrain lobby bang the drums and shouts great things if SkyTrain achieves anything close to what modern LRT does in every day service. The LRT types do not cherry-pick statistics, rather state operational facts that pertain to light rail.

Quoting Gerald Fox, a well respected American transit expert about SkyTrain, “……anyway, most of the world has moved on.” It’s time the SkyTrain lobby do to!