Come On Now Mainstream Media, Why All The Hype And Hoopla Over The Canada Line?

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Subways & metros cost a lot of money to build and operate.

In the past week, the mainstream media have been singing loud hosannas about the success of the Canada Line, how it is surpassing ridership projections and all is happiness. What the MSM failed to mention is that over 80% of the total trips on the RAV/Canada line have come from about 40,000 or so bus riders who have been forced onto the new metro. The bus routes that now force feed the Canada line include the 98-B Line & 401-2-4 buses in Richmond; 601-2-3-4-5-6-20 series of buses from South Delta and the 351-2-4 from South Surrey and the former daily 15 minute service Airporter Bus. The new ridership on the Canada line is mainly $1.00 a day U-Pass holders, older Asians shopping in Richmond and gamblers going to the River Rock Casino to be relieved of their money. What the MSM have completely ignored is that the promised 200,000 car trips a day taken off the road because of the Canada Line has not materialized because the motorist has not left his/her car in favour of using public transit. In fact, TransLink is threatening to cancel some peak hour bus services because of a lack of predicted ridership.

The Canada Line is the epitome of poor transit planning, political interference and squandering of precious transit dollars on a politically prestigious mega metro project!

The problems with the RAV/Canada line, are conveniently ‘swept under the carpet’ by the mainstream media.

The MSM ignore that the RAV/Canada Line’s first estimate was a mere $1.3 billion and they continue to ignore why there was such an unrealistic low estimate for metro/subway construction?

The main supporters of the Vancouver subway portion of the Canada Line were the City of Vancouver, influential West side Liberals, Vancouver’s NPA civic party, and former City manager and close political crony of the premier Ken Dobell,who did not want much cheaper light rail (LRT) operating on an existing ‘rapid transit’ route, the politically contentious Arbutus Corridor. To that end, the estimates for a subway were deliberately low-balled in an attempt to pass public and media scrutiny, giving rise to the anti-LRT rhetoric that Vancouver has become so famous!

The problem is subways are very expensive to build; so expensive in fact that the original SkyTrain ICTS/ALRT light-metro was designed to be elevated to mitigate the high cost of subway construction!

As the costs for the RAV/Canada Line began to spiral out of control, the scope of the project was reduced to try to contain the ever higher cost estimates for the metro. The following economies to reduce costs were emplaced.

  1. A switch was made from SkyTrain to a cheaper generic, yet incompatible metro system.
  2. A switch was made from bored tunnel to cheaper (if you do not compensate adjacent businesses) cut-and cover subway construction.
  3. The stations we so designed to only accommodate three car trains.
  4. The terminus’s In Richmond and YVR are single stub stations.
  5. Minor items like omitting escalators, etc.

Despite major downsizing of the Canada Line, according to Susan Heyes (who is one of the few people who have done due diligent cost analysis of the Canada Line for her successful court case against TransLink) now estimates the real cost of the truncated metro in the neighbourhood of $2.8 billion!

Here is what the taxpayer got for his/hers nearly $2.8 billion RAV/Canada Line; a truncated heavy-rail metro which by design has a much lower capacity than if light rail were to have been built on the Arbutus Corridor at about $2 billion cheaper!

 The cost to upgrade the RAV/Canada Line? About $1 billion to $2 billion!

Where was the massive media investigation and feeding frenzy which happened with the ill fated FastFerries? Could it be that the political party associated with the Fast Ferry debacle was NDP and not Liberal? Why has the RAV/Canada Line been given a free pass by the mainstream media?

There is absolutely no chance the the Canada line will be extended to Steveston or across the river to South Delta/Surrey and for many the only way to use RAV, is to take a bus and buses are very poor in attracting new customers to public transit! For all the boasting by Richmond Mayor, Malcolm Brodie, the Canada line is absolutely useless for Richmond residents to use locally and it will only act as funnel, taking commuters to YVR (driving would be faster) and Vancouver.

So the next time one hears MSM reporters and commentators sing high praises for the Canada Line, the real story is a hugely expensive, truncated heavy-rail metro line, that has less capacity than a much cheaper light rail line, which has not attracted the all important motorist from the car and what new ridership the metro has attracted are concession fare types, taking advantage to shop or gamble in Richmond on the cheap.

The  Joseph Goebbels gambit: Repeat a lie often enough and the public will believe it is true!

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One Response to “Come On Now Mainstream Media, Why All The Hype And Hoopla Over The Canada Line?”

  1. Alex MacKinnon Says:

    Zwei I think many people would take these numbers a lot more seriously if you add in what the kinds of dollars we’re talking here? If you want to properly explain how much something costs you need to explain what years currency value these estimates use.

    Just to throw out a number without attaching a date can add in some pretty huge uncertainty into whether or not these value hold really differ all that much from the estimates given in 2005 dollars. It’s a big difference.

    Zweisystem replies: To jump from $1.3 billion in 2003 to about $2.8 billion in 2010 is an over 100$ increase in 7 years. The real problem is that the public have never been given honest answers and the Liberal government’s much vaunted P-3 was done to hide the true cost. Only when the Auditor General of BC discloses the real price, will the truth be known and the premier and Ministers of Transportation have never let the Auditor General anyway near this project.

    The sad fact is, in the real world, subways need about 300,000 to 400,000 customers a day before one says they are successful, The Canada Line with over 80% of its ridership being force fed onto the metro with about 10% being new to riders attracted by the metro is in no way said to be successful!

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