Archive for October 6th, 2009

A letter to the Editor in the Tri-Cities news – TransLink is broke and broken

October 6, 2009


The Editor,

TransLink is broke and the reasons are easy to understand.

TransLink operates light metro (in the guise of SkyTrain and the Canada Line) on routes that do not have the ridership to support them. SkyTrain is subsidized by more than $230 million annually and to date more than $8 billion has been spent on light metro in the region, yet TransLink’s regional share of ridership is about 11% to 12% and has not changed in almost two decades.

There has not been a discernible modal shift from car to transit in the region in almost two decades.

TransLink operates buses on routes with little or no ridership for social reasons and squanders vast amounts of money trying to please everyone, yet pleasing no one.

TransLink offers deep discounted fares such as the U-Pass while operating a premium light metro system. This causes much crowding of the transit system in strategic areas, discouraging transit customers who pay full fares while at the same time starves TransLink of much needed revenue.

Yet TransLink wants more taxpayers money to do more of the same; building more light metro, operate more buses on questionable routes and offer more deep discounted fares.

Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results has been defined as madness.

Regional politicians must ignore TransLink’s well-orchestrated propaganda campaign of deceit and deception and see the organization for what it is: a poorly run bloated bureaucracy, achieving very little at great expense and walk away from it and let it die a natural death.

French Delights – Part 4: Le Mans Trams for small cities.

October 6, 2009

LM 1

Le Mans, with a population of 150,000 and an urban population of 300,000 (with a density of 2,806 per km/2), opened its first tram line on 17 November 2007. The north-south route, about 15 km long, serves the city center and the railway station, besides other major urban transit destinations including the university and the main hospital.
An eastern branch-line joins popular residential suburbs and many public structures. The choice for classic ‘tram’ choice (modern rolling stock with steel wheels) was made despite stiff opposition from proponents of guided bus, a sort of tram-on-tires.

Ridership is now over 50,000 Pass./day, a significant number considering the small population of Le Mans and shows that a true modal switch from car to tram is possible with LRT, including classic traffic calming measures to reduce congestion in the city center.

Le Mans new light rail operation belies the home grown myth that the Fraser Valley does not have the density to build with LRT. It also belies the myth being perpetuated by TransLink and the Minister of Transportation that light rail cost just a little less than SkyTrain to build! After many years of intensive study, modern LRT has become the predominant transit mode to alleviate traffic congestion and pollution, while at the same time providing a quality public transit service that attracts the all important motorist from the car.

The cost of the Le Mans LRT was about $31.2 million/km. to build, with the higher cost attributed for the French passion of making modern light rail a people/pedestrian friendly linear park, with lawned rights-of-ways, bike paths, trees, shrubbery and art along the route.


Country France
Inhabitants City 150.000, District 530.000
Date opening 2007
Future development: Line 2 (Gare Nord-Bellevue)
Length (km) 15
Track sections
Stops 29average distance 535 m
Platform doors
general characteristics
n. of vehicles 23
n. of cars per vehicle 5
Type steel wheels bidirectional
Vehicle dimensions (m) length 32 – width 2.40
Vehicle capacity (pax) 209 (64 seated)
Current/Voltage 750 V DC overhead
Speed Km/h
Accel./Decel. (m/sec2)
System capacity
Ridership 50,000 pass/day
Total cost 20 M Euro/km
System builder ALSTOM
Model Citadis 302