Over ten years ago the Greer Report, done by Greer Consulting Services, issued a scathing report on the Broadway/Lougheed Rapid Transit Projects, later to be know as the SkyTrain Millennium Line. The report found:
- cost comparisons appear to have been contrived to favour SkyTrain over LRT
- no ridership (demand) analysis was reported to justify the high capacity system
- air quality and transportation benefits are unsubstantiated
- accelerated construction advantages of SkyTrain were clearly unrealistic
- risks associated with the SkyTrain car manufacture have not been assessed.
Fast forward to 2009, has anything changed?
Nada, nope, not a chance!
How can TransLink be trusted with any honest rapid transit planning, especially when they want hundreds of millions more in taxpayers money to pay for ‘pie-in-the-sky’ light-metro planning based on contrived planning and phony studies? The RAV/Canada line is just a symptom of a major problem: TransLink refuses to plan for affordable light-rail and instead invents statistics to suit their in-house light-metro planning. The 100,000 passengers a day, quoted by RAV officials and Liberal politicians, needed so the RAV/Canada line will operate subsidy free is ‘stuff-and-nonsense’ as TransLink has absolutely no mechanism in place to apportion fares between SkyTrain, RAV/Canada line, Seabus, and the regular buses. TransLink doesn’t know what percentage of fares are full fares, concession fares, and the deeply discounted U-Pass, nor do they have a formula for allocating fares between bus, seabus and metro.
Example: A South Surrey student (3 zone fare) going to UBC via transit pays just $25 a month for a U-Pass; he/she takes a bus to Casino/Bridgeport Junction, transfers to the RAV/Canada Line and then transfers again to a bus going to UBC. The apportioned fare should be $8.33 for the RAV/Canada line and $16.67 for the bus system. The RAV/Canada Line’s share of an U-Pass (1,2,or 3 zones) would be $8.33 a month or about $0.41.5 cents a day (based on 20 days use)! There is absolutely no way with the current fare structure that RAV will pay for itself with 100,000 passengers a day; especially when other metros need 400,000 to 500,000 passengers a day to justify construction.
Clearly TransLink hasn’t a clue about apportioned fares or even how the RAV/Canada line will determine what percentage will be paid to the metro and buses. What may happen is that TransLink will count all ridership on RAV as full adult cash fares and ‘fiddle away’ monies that rightfully should go to the bus system’s coffers.
What is known for certain is that the 100,000 a day claim made by TransLink, Kevin Falcon and Gordon Campbell is completely bogus!
Certainly nothing has changed much at TransLink as American transit expert, Gerald Fox, stated in a Feb.2008 letter regarding the Evergreen line:
“I found several instances where the analysis had made assumptions that were inaccurate, or had been manipulated to make the case for SkyTrain. If the underlying assumptions are inaccurate, the conclusions may be so too.” And adding: ” 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.”
Metro politicians take note, TransLink is about to take you and your taxpayers on a wild ride, “around, around, TransLink goes; where it will stop nobody knows!”
For the full Greer Report
Gerald Fox’s letter
Tags: Canada Line, Chilliwack, cost per km, economic stimulus, Evergreen Line, Fraser Valley, gateway, interurban, Langley, light rail, LRT, NDP, Patrick Condon, Rail for the Valley, skytrain, streetcars, Surrey, transit, Translink, UBC, UBC SkyTrain, VALTAC, Vancouver