The following letter to the Georgia Straight sums up transit planning in Vancouver and the region, an almost mythical blind faith in the SkyTrain light-metro and the complete inability to debate transit issues. The SkyTrain lobby’s preference is based purely on mass hysteria not technical merit and the comments following letter clearly illustrates a hysterical response; there is no level headed debate. The reason for building light-metro in Vancouver as SkyTrain and it’s diminutive metro cousin, the Canada Line, in Greater Vancouver was purely political; what was best for political ambitions of the day and not what was best for regional transit, the transit customer or the taxpayer.
That LRT may or may not be the best option on Broadway is open to debate but the hysterical lies, deceit and deliberate misinformation about a LRT option, not only diminishes the debates but it shows the ignorance of the SkyTrain lobby as they can’t honestly debate about transit and transportation issues at the same time making international fools of themselves.
New Broadway SkyTrain would be true farceThe Broadway Follies, or should I say the UBC rapid-transit planning, have started, with TransLink intentionally fumbling the ball from the starting gate [“Vancouver council approves guiding principles for Broadway rapid transit planning”, Web-only]. The decision has been made: it’s going to be a subway, because the term “rapid transit” is defined as a subway. LRT [light rail transit] need not apply!
It is the same tiresome game plan that the city, TransLink, and B.C. Transit before have used in the past, with the same tired old clichés supporting a subway. The trouble is, we have moved on; SkyTrain has been made obsolete by modern LRT, and subways, due to their high cost, are avoided where possible. The problem is, TransLink is not listening. Claims that SkyTrain is faster (it isn’t), that subways attract more ridership (they don’t), and that automatic metros cost less to operate because they don’t have drivers (the opposite is true) border on professional misconduct.
SkyTrain, which was conceived to mitigate massive subway construction costs, is now being sold as a subway. The transit farce continues. The cost of a Broadway UBC subway? About $3 billion to $4 billion, or enough money to fund a deluxe Vancouver-to-Chilliwack tram train and a BCIT–to–UBC–and–Stanley Park LRT, and an Evergreen Line LRT, and LRT in Surrey! Even more strange is the fact that Vancouver is one of only seven cities that operate SkyTrain.