The SkyTrain Lobby Just Can’t Debate Transit Issues


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 farce

The 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.


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6 Responses to “The SkyTrain Lobby Just Can’t Debate Transit Issues”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Take a look at the comments on that article to get the sense of the public at large. Safe to say you and the author are in the small minority.

    Zweisystem replies: This post isn’t about an LRT versus SkyTrain, rather rabid anti-LRT scaremongering. It is about a lack of honest debate about transit in the past, today and the future. In fact, I severely doubt that the comments are from the public at large, rather a small cadre of anti-LRT zealots who are afraid of an open and honest debate. What are they afraid of?

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Zwei it looks like some of the skytrain lobby are posting comments there using your name to try and discredit you.

    Zweisystem replies: Yes I know, it is very sad that the SkyTrain Lobby is so afraid of open and honest debate and resort to cheap tricks that fool almost no one.

  3. David Says:

    The general public is sick and tired of being taxed to death, but they don’t seem to have made the connection between transit and highway mega-projects and higher taxes.

    All we’re asking for is honest debate of the merits and costs of various options. Presented with the facts there’s little doubt the public would say “NO!” to more SkyTrain and subway construction.

  4. Justin Bernard Says:

    The Skytrain lobby is pretty pathetic, if they have to resort to slandering any opposition to automated metro. I respect other people’s opinion, but the skytrain lobby lost my respect with those shamefuls comments.

    Zweisystem replies: Welcome to Vancouver’s SkyTrain politics!

  5. Joe G Says:

    To be fair, all it takes is 1 or 2 idiots.

  6. BCPhil Says:

    Zweisystem, you don’t help the situation much yourself. You have compared people who support Skytrain to Nazis in the past. You continually put down Skytrain using, as far as I can tell, made up numbers about it’s cost and subsidy. If you want to help your position, how about posting some references and citations to your claims/facts?

    NOW you post a link to a “random letter” that sums up transit planning in Vancouver. The writer of that letter is Malcolm Johnston, who, if it’s not Zweisystem himself, is a supporter/founder of Rail for the Valley. This is not a random letter written in by a concerned citizen showcasing the viewpoint of the average joe… it’s Malcolm Johnston!

    Why are you trying to pass off this letter like it’s a startling revelation when it’s just you or your friends writing in the same comments you write in every week? You demean the comments in response to the letter as coming from nothing more than the Skytrain Lobby, when the letter itself just comes from the equally biased LRT Lobby.

    Maybe if you didn’t use dirty tricks and manipulation yourself, people wouldn’t have such disdain for you.

    I’m a huge supporter for seeing way more rail in the valley, but undermining everyone else, name calling, and using dirty tricks, is not the best way to get what you want.

    Zweisystem replies: I did not call those who support SkyTrain Nazi’s, what I did do is post a quote from the then NAZI Minister of propaganda, Joesph Goebels, which basically said, “repeat a lie often enough and the public believe it is a fact.” Fits perfectly I think.

    So Mr. Johnston is not allowed to write letters to the press? Really, it is like the pot calling the kettle black. And before you libel Mr. Johnston any further, what dirty tricks is he guilty of?

    The trouble is simple, the SkyTrain lobby don’t like facts and instead of researching for the answer they have little name calling hissy fits on the Skyscraper blog – pathetic.

    All I can say BC Phil is read some books on the subject. There must be a reason that very few transit authorities that want to buy SkyTrain – oh I’m sorry, that is an unsubstantiated claim based on the fact that only 7 such systems are in operation, despite being on the market for over 30 years.

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