Posts Tagged ‘Burnaby’

Light Rail Fits In! Useful Links for LRT

June 30, 2010

A reader of this blog from the UK has sent Rail For The Valley some very useful links for those advocating for light rail.

Zweisystem send a a hearty thank you!


Is it time to replan the Evergreen Line? Could diesel LRT be the answer for the Tri-Cities?

September 29, 2009


Both the provincial and federal government want TransLink to build SkyTrain on the Evergreen Line and it is clearly evident that the decision to build with SkyTrain is purely political to keep Ontario and Quebec jobs secure in Bombardier owned plants. With the ongoing propaganda campaign of the SkyTrain lobby, combined with the complete ignorance of Transportation Ministers, both provincial and federal on the subject of regional transit, TransLink persists in planning for unworkable and unfordable light-metro. Despite clear indications that after the huge investment in SkyTrain and RAV light-metro (SkyTrain was too expensive for the Canada Line) TransLink’s ridership share has only risen with population increase. There has not been a modal shift from car to transit. Yet, TransLink and provincial and federal governments still want to squander billions of dollars more on SkyTrain and light-metro, in the vain hope they will get different results on the next metro line they build.

They won’t. Then the question should be asked: “should there be complete rethink on both mode (light-rail & light-metro) and TransLink’s role in transit planning in the region that is free of political interference.”

Regional Mayors want light-rail to be built on the Evergreen Line at a supposedly $400 million cheaper cost, but the provincial Transportation Minister and her federal counterpart will hear none of it. It’s SkyTrain or nothing.


Simple, to keep jobs in Ontario and Quebec. Further proof that the regions rapid transit plans are geared for Eastern Canadian politicians using local taxpayers subsidize jobs in both Ontario and Quebec.

This further gives credence for the call for TransLink to get out of transit planning altogether and shed the ponderous bureaucracy that is fixated on SkyTrain and light-metro and rejects light-rail out of hand. By rejecting light-rail, TransLink’s planners rejects modern public transit philosophy based on almost forty years of proven and affordable light-rail, in revenue operation in over 600 cities around the world.

One must remember American transit expert, Gerald Fox’s comments on the TransLink’s Evergreen Line business case:

“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.”

Fox sums up with:

“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 analysed honestly, and the taxpayers’ interests are protected. No SkyTrain project has ever passed this scrutiny in the US.”

A different plan for the Evergreen Line

The Light Rail Committee proposed a different plan for light-rail in the Tri-City area which is based on modern light-rail philosophy that has proven so effective elsewhere in the world.

The plan also takes into account the advice of several transit consultants, would use use diesel and diesel-electric light-rail vehicles, combining track sharing with existing railways and the use of on-street operation where practical. The plan consisted of on-street operation from Port Moody to Coquitlam Centre, with a spur line using the Ioco freight branch to the Esso refinery line to 1st Ave. in Ioco. The line would then travel South along Lougheed highway till it connected to the  CPR rail line paralleling the Lougheed highway, connecting to the BNSF/CN mainline until it reached Pacific Central Station in Vancouver.

This would give very fast journeys for people living in the Tri-Cities to Vancouver and visa versa. The Light Rail Committee estimated that the cost of this line would have been in the neighbourhood of $400 million to $600 million and giving a superior and direct service to downtown Vancouver. For a fraction the cost of SkyTrain or TransLink’s grossly over engineered light-rail plans, we could get a much larger usable ‘rail’ network that would be available to far more transit customers than a truncated light-metro line.

TransLink officials quickly shot down the plan because: “We had just built a $1.2 billion metro line and we had get get as many passengers on the new rapid transit line as we can.”

Maybe the time has come for TransLink to get out of the business of transit planning and hire independent consultants to compete to provide plans for the best and most affordable transit solutions for our endemic regional transportation chaos. The taxpayer can no longer afford TransLink’s grandiose gold-plated rapid transit lines that, in the past, have not attracted the motorist from the car and at best, gives the bus rider a questionably faster, yet more inconvenient journey.




From the Georgia Straight – Metro Vancouver board pushes for $450 million a year increase in TransLink funding

September 26, 2009
Is TransLink like the Titanic, sailing full steam ahead into a "financial" iceberg?

Is TransLink like the Titanic, sailing full steam ahead into a "financial" iceberg?

If one really wanted any more evidence that our regional politicians are completely out of touch on regional transit issues, this item from the Georgia Straight should put that to rest.

The financial problems with TransLink are simple:

1) It operates light-metro (an obsolete transit mode) on routes that do not have the ridership to support it. Result – high annual subsidies must be paid to sustain the light-metro.

2) Operates buses on routes that have little or no ridership, while ignoring bus routes with endemic overcrowding. Result – bus service is diverted from high demand areas to areas of low demand.  High subsidies must be paid to sustain less than marginal bus operations, while at the same time limiting revenues from high demand bus services.

3) Offers deep discounted fares while at the same time providing a very expensive ‘premium’ transit service with light metro. Result – Over crowding of high demand services and limiting much needed revenue from full fare paying customers and again demanding large subsidies needed to sustain the premium transit service.

Huge annual subsidies for SkyTrain and RAV/Canada Line, in excess of $200 million annually and a growing deficit as scarce transit monies are poured into unworkable transit solutions has created a burgeoning deficit. TransLink has run into a financial iceberg.

And regional politicians want more of this hocus-pocus planning?

Regional politicos suffer from complete ‘transit denial’ in the region, where the SkyTrain myth reigns supreme and combined with a complete lack of accountability by TransLink to the taxpayer, has left us in a regional hubris. Despite over $8 billion spent on light metro to date, for three metro lines of which one is incompatible in operation with the other two, has not created the all important modal shift from car to transit.

And regional politicians what more of this? 

Do they not  realize that with the impending HST and other downloaded provincial taxes onto regional taxpayers, there is no money left for this “pixie dust’ TransLink planning.

What should worry advocates for the return of the interurban is that regional politicians want to continue TransLink’s extremely expensive, yet grossly inept transit planning and not wanting to pursue more affordable transit solutions. To be blunt, by voting to fund TransLink, regional politicians have voted to leave South of Fraser residents out of the mix, while gladly tapping their wallets to pay for dated transit plans that have proven unworkable.

Man the lifeboats!

Metro Vancouver board pushes for $450 million a year increase in TransLink funding

By Matthew Burrows

Metro Vancouver directors voted today (September 25) to push for the best-case TransLink funding scenario.

Burnaby councilor Sav Dhaliwal was the only politician who voted against Vancouver mayor and director Gregor Robertson’s motion.

Now the board will send the message to TransLink’s private board of directors and its mayors’ council that it should implement $450 million in annual funding above current levels—the most generous of the three options presented in TransLink’s 2010 10-Year Plan to address funding constraints at the regional transportation authority.

The Metro motion originated through its regional planning committee earlier this month. At the latest meeting at Metro headquarters in Burnaby, directors also expressed concerns over the first business-as-usual “base plan” funding scenario proposed, which would lead to “drastic cuts”, according to TransLink.

TransLink CEO Tom Prendergast was at the meeting, and said he wanted to avoid the potential “chaos” the base plan would unleash on transit riders across the region.

Robertson said at the meeting that significant consultation had taken place to get to the Metro consensus. He said it was important that directors “don’t fold tents now” and “remain united”. In response,

Corrigan said he understood why people would want to avoid cuts, but said the $450 million had to come from somewhere. The former B.C. Transit chair also cautioned that “there is a limit to what the taxpayer can expect”.

He said that, like with the discussions around the previous 10-year plan in 2004, there is a temptation to be overly optimistic on the accounting side. “We keep on supporting things; then we don’t know how to pay for them.”

Surrey councillor and director Linda Hepner moved an amendment, which passed, that—in the event funding is constrained—priority be given to the northeast sector and areas south of the Fraser.

Corrigan added his own amendment, which stated: “Without additional funding any 10-year plan cannot be successfully implemented.” Corrigan’s motion passed ahead of the main motion.


Will the regional taxpayer go down with the 'TransLink' ship? Will politicians and bureaucrats get to the 'financial' lifeboats first?

Will the regional taxpayer go down with the 'TransLink' ship? Will politicians and bureaucrats get to the 'financial' lifeboats first?