Posts Tagged ‘Canada Line’

Canada Line Puzzle – What’s The problem?

November 5, 2010

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

The cost of the Canada Line is now understood to be over $2.5 billion, with some estimates as high as $2.8 billion. The article illustrates the problems with automatic (driverless) transit systems is that when problems arise, service suffers. When metro stems stops it greatly inconveniences customers, many of whom have to make transfers to buses to complete there journey.

It is inexcusable that such a problems is plaguing the Canada Line and when a transit systems operates erratically, customers look elsewhere for their transportation needs.

Read, they will take the car instead.

Canada Line’s woes have people asking questions

By MATT KIELTYKA, QMI AGENCY

The Canada Line’s operators are trying to get to the bottom of an issue that’s plagued the $2.1-billion system this week.

Commuters at the rapid transit line’s Richmond stops were left frustrated during Wednesday and Thursday’s morning rush hour, and again on Sunday evening when trains unexpectedly stopped between the Aberdeen and Lansdowne stations.

PROTRANS BC’s Jason Chan said sensors on the car are detecting a loss of traction but engineers haven’t been able to determine whether the problem is mechanical or simply an electronic glitch.

Whatever the cause, the issue has forced trains to run on a single track instead of the usual two.

That’s meant delays for people looking to get in and out of Richmond.

“There is no definitive conclusion to this,” Chan said. “We’re trying to find out exactly what is going on and resolve the issue.”

Chan also dismissed the notion that the year-old system was experience teething issues.

“It ran all last year, and during the Olympics, with no problem,” he said.

Scheduled maintenance track work was completed on the same section of the line last weekend during the night when service levels are low, but Chan said the service disruptions this week are unrelated

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

August 10, 2010

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!

High ridership means Canada Line could hit break-even point 3 years early – Another Early August April Fool?

August 7, 2010

When news is slow and TransLink is in want to fund another metro line, expect good news stories.  $150 thousand a year plus TransLink spin-doctor purrs out the RAV/Canada Lines success; golly gee whiz, the Canada Line is carrying over 100,000 passengers a day and it will soon pay for itself in three years.

What is politely forgotten is that the Canada Line already has about 40,000 bus riders a day, forced onto the metro, including those who once used the 15 minute service Airporter bus. The SkyTrain Lobby crow that the Canada Line has infrared passenger counters, but TransLink fails to mention if they are used for the ridership calculation. If such counters were in use, why not post daily ridership numbers? So is TransLink using the old method of inflating vehicle capacity, plus their patented alchemy of financial income to determine ridership?

On it goes, TransLink has yet to state what portion of ones fare on the Canada Line goes to the operating consortium, which operates the P-3  portion of the Canada line or if TransLink apportions fares from the Canada line from the buses, SeaBus and the SkyTrain metro system. (For those who don’t know, the Canada line is not SkyTrain, nor is compatible with the proprietary railway.)

Oh by the way, there is absolutely no mention of the 200,000 car trips a day taken off the roads because of the Canada Line, which makes one wonder if that claim is just too inconvenient to mention.

Another irksome problem is all those $1.00 a day U-Passes using the transit system and how they fit into the financial scheme of things? How much is the taxpayer subsiding the U-Pass holder on the Canada Line?

According to Susan Heyes, who has done much due diligence research on the RAV/Canada Line (unlike the mainstream media) the cost of RAV is now almost $2.8 billion or about  $1.5 billion more than the original cost of $1.3 billion for the RAV/Canada line metro! Gee whiz, that makes the about $400 million FastFerry fiasco look like chump change and that is probably the real reason for TransLink’s August April Fools.

The Canada Line break even in three years – ha, ha, ha – sorry TransLink, you have pulled the same stunt once too often to fool ‘Zwei’ again, next time, get BC’s Auditor General to do the books, then maybe I would believe you!

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

High ridership means Canada Line could hit break-even point 3 years early

Weekday ridership on the $2-billion Canada Line has surpassed the 100,000-rider mark for four months in a row — an average the line wasn’t supposed to reach until 2013, The Province has learned.

Even factoring in lower weekend ridership, the seven-day weekly average on the rapid-transit line has still been building so steadily that it’s almost at 100,000, too.

If the boom continues, it could mean TransLink’s debt on the project could be paid off years sooner than expected, even though the overall cost grew over the years.

While the Canada Line was announced as coming in ahead of schedule and on budget, that budget changed as the plans for the line changed.

Back in 2004 and 2005, the project’s costs were pegged at $1.5 to $1.7 billion. By 2006, with inflation and financing costs, the line’s cost was tabbed at $2.05 billion.

In her investigation of TransLink last year, B.C. comptroller-general Cheryl Wenezenki-Yolland pegged the cost of operating the line at as much as $21 million a year more than fares would cover — and she said that situation would last until 2025.

“For example, the cost of operating the Canada Line . . . is expected to exceed the additional system revenue it generates until 2025, with costs exceeding incremental revenues by $14 to $21 million for most years until then,” she wrote.

TransLink spokesman Ken Hardie said Thursday that scenario could be getting brighter.

“When we’ve hit the figures we’ve hit three years early, it simply suggests we’re going to hit the break-even point earlier,” Hardie said. “It would be nice if it was three years, or even more, early.

“Right now, we’re on target to hit the break-even point in 2022, but if we keep going the way we’re going it could be even sooner than that — which would be nice.”

After a controversial construction period in which businesses struggled to deal with the Canada Line’s open ditch on their doorsteps, the connection between downtown Vancouver, Richmond and Vancouver International Airport opened ahead of schedule, with great fanfare, on Aug. 17 last year.

The line came into its own during the 2010 Winter Olympics. With access to much of downtown Vancouver restricted, local riders were forced on to public transit and people coming in from the airport began to use the taxi-free alternative.

It was during the Games that the line hit a single-day high of more than 280,000 riders, and Hardie says the positive Olympic experience is one of the reasons for increased ridership.

“It gave a lot of people the chance to try the line,” he said.

April was the first complete month in which weekday ridership exceeded 100,000, with an average of 101,676. The figure climbed to 104,682 in May, 106,320 in June and 107,198 in July.

When the lower-ridership weekend days are factored in, the May average was 94,223 rides daily. It increased to 97,969 in June and 99,210 in July.

Hardie also attributed the Canada Line ridership to the fact there are a lot of destinations on the line — downtown Vancouver, the airport and Richmond Centre.

“It wasn’t just a matter of commuters flocking one way in the morning and the other way in the afternoon,” he said. “In fact, there would be fairly strong ridership in both directions.”

The final factor in increased ridership came whenTransLink successfully integrated its system to allow bus riders to be fed into the rapid-transit line.

A quick Province survey of passengers this week revealed a generally satisfied ridership.

Grace Brunger, 27, was riding a southbound train with her bike, heading for Southlands to go horseback riding.

“It’s cheap; it’s fast,” said the Coal Harbour resident. “I can get anywhere.

“I don’t even have a car,” added Brunger, a newcomer to Vancouver. “Even with my bike, I can always get on right away.”

The line was a good investment, she said, “better than roads.”

Still, clouds remain on the Canada Line horizon.

Richmond councillors Ken Johnston, Bill McNulty and Derek Dang issued a press release Thursday calling on TransLink to crack down on fare evaders across the system — including on the Canada Line.

Recently released figures indicate there were 24,000 fare cheats system-wide in 2009, and 550 on the Canada Line in just its first five months of service.

“I’ve personally seen people without monthly passes walking directly past ticket purchase machines and hopping on to trains — with Canada Line “green jacket” staff watching the entire way and doing nothing to stop it,” McNulty said.

The councillors want a crackdown at all stations at all peak hours until fare gates are installed. They’re expected to arrive in 2013, along with new “smart card” technology.

The unhappy councillors cited a 2008 PricewaterhouseCoopers report that estimated there were 4.1 million stolen rides annually, with revenue losses ranging from $5.3 million to $9.4 million.

There are more riders now, so it’s likely there are also more cheaters.

Read more: http://www.theprovince.com/news/vancouver/High+ridership+means+Canada+Line+could+break+even+point+years+early/3364862/story.html#ixzz0vrI75Rl8

Canada Line Metro Reaches Capacity of 100,000 riders a day? Really, that little?

June 2, 2010

Here we have a classic Vancouver Sun ‘puff story’ about the Canada line, where real questions are not asked and $150 thousand a year man, the classic spin doctor himself, Ken Hardie shows why he is paid such a stipend.

The real question should be; “We just spent $2.5 billion on a metro and its capacity is a mere 100,000 a day, what bloody genius thought that one up?”

It seems only in Vancouver, metro systems pay their operating costs with such little ridership and one wonders why more cities don’t built subways? The answer of course is that they don’t and the entire article is one of stuff an nonsenses, that should have been printed on April 1, not June 1!

What the article does show is that TransLink is desperate for positive spin on the Canada Line and the Sun will print it almost verbatim what the highly paid TransLink spin-doctors claim.

Certainly Hardie, doesn’t say how many bus riders are funneled onto the Canada Line, nor how TransLink apportions fares, if they even bother to or how TransLink factors in the deep discounted U-Pass used by Langara and UBC bound students, very important calculations that must be done before any claims of “paying its operating costs“, can be made. Certainly the claim that SkyTrain pays its operating costs is laughable because the province subsidizes the proprietary metro to a tune of over $230 million annually!

What is not surprising is the weak ridership numbers that go to YVR, which are in line with what other transit systems servicing airports carry.

The quote: “Hardie didn’t have a total count of how many new riders are taking the train……” is TransLink speak for, “The Canada Line is getting over 90% of its ridership from bus riders.” It must be remembered that 80% of SkyTrain’s customers first take a bus to the metro. In effect, we are giving bus riders a $2.5 billion metro ride, which for many, increases travel times.

What this story is all about is TransLink’s desire to build more metro and to fool the public in thinking that metro is doing a wonderful job, so let’s fund the Evergreen Line and the Broadway – UBC subway.

The sad fact is, if LRT were to have been built instead, it would be carrying more passengers to more destinations at a far cheaper cost; but of course no one would ever hear that from TransLink. 100,000 passengers a day is child’s play for LRT, yet it seems a big strain for a very expensive metro costing three times as much!

It is high time for BC Auditor General to audit TransLink and its metro operations to get at the real truth!

Canada Line races toward capacity

The SkyTrain branch nears 100,000 riders per day three years ahead of schedule after Olympics brought the crowds out
By Kelly Sinoski, Vancouver Sun
June 1, 2010
The new Canada Line is nearing capacity three years ahead of schedule, prompting TransLink to look at “tactical options” to help ease pressure on the 19-km route.

The line has been recording an average of 94,000 trips per day — just shy of its capacity of 100,000 riders, a number TransLink had not expected to reach until 2013. It now anticipates it could reach that number as early as next year.

While immediate options to ease overcrowding include running an extra train from Brighouse during peak periods, passengers won’t see any more trains running regularly between Vancouver and Richmond until the summer of 2011.

TransLink believes passenger numbers are higher than projected due in part to the Olympic need to get drivers off the roads, as well as a push to funnel suburban bus commuters to the new line.

“You make your projections on what you know … years in advance of the project startup,” TransLink spokesman Ken Hardie said. “It’s probably the Olympics that have been the key difference [between] what we were expecting and what we have.”

Ridership on the $2-billion Canada Line has been growing steadily since it began operating last August.

Hardie didn’t have a total count of how many new riders are taking the train, but according to TransLink figures, the number of daily commuters from south Surrey and White Rock using the No. 351 bus was up 38.9 per cent in May from last June.

Weekend traffic also rose by 52.5 per cent on Saturdays and 53.2 per cent on Sundays.

That increase, as well as a rise in commuters from Richmond, Delta and Vancouver, has contributed to passenger crunches along the Canada Line.

The squeeze is particularly severe at Brighouse, the transit hub for all local Richmond buses, and Bridgeport, where buses shuttle long-haul commuters from Delta, south Surrey and White Rock, during rush hour.

For Percy Bond, this means he never gets a seat when he boards the train at Brighouse for his commute into Vancouver. The only way he can do so, he said, is to get off at Bridgeport and take the airport train, which is usually empty, into downtown.

“I like [Canada Line] except for the fact it’s always full,” he said. “What surprises me is they can’t put three cars on … it would be nice to see in the rush hour.”

Hardie said that now, TransLink typically runs 14 of its 20 Canada Line trains, each with two cars, at 3.5-minute intervals, with another two trains added at rush hour.

By August of 2011, the transit authority plans to regularly run 16 trains, which will represent a 12-per-cent lift in service, every 3.33 minutes.

Hardie wouldn’t say how much this would cost.

But he noted that when “we run more transit, we spend more money.”

But that doesn’t mean commuters won’t see any improvements this year, he said, as TransLink has the option to improve service during peak periods to deal with severe overcrowding or pass-ups.

Options include adding extra trains to the Brighouse line during “peak of peak” periods, he said, as well as having buses scheduled for Brighouse shifted to Bridgeport, where commuters can catch a second, nearly empty train, from the airport.

While the airport trains don’t have the same passenger numbers, Hardie said TransLink isn’t considering moving some of those trains to the Brighouse line. He noted a new park and ride facility at Templeton on the YVR line is drawing more transit users and airport traffic is expected to rise. The park and ride is for airport workers and passengers, who are travelling on the Sea Island route.

The YVR line carries an average 9,300 passengers per day, or 10 per cent of the total ridership, compared with 15 per cent on the Richmond line.

Hardie noted the Canada Line has only been running for less than 10 months so it’s still early days and variables such as high fuel costs or parking can have an effect on transit use.

Vancouver commuter Ken Law, who lives at 49th and Cambie, drove downtown regularly until the Olympics. He said transit has proven to be more convenient, faster and cheaper, especially with higher parking prices expected with the HST.

“I find it okay,” he said. “If you can save money and don’t have to drive, there’s less stress.”

Hardie noted he expects ridership to continue to grow, especially as municipalities continue to densify areas around the transit stations.

Richmond has been densifying its city centre since 2000 in anticipation of huge transit use of the Canada Line. “There was a pent-up demand for effective, reliable transit in the Richmond, Vancouver transit corridor,” Mayor Malcolm Brodie said.

Meanwhile, Hardie noted there is another silver lining for TransLink if the Canada Line reaches its capacity by next year.

The rapid transit line was built as a public-private partnership, with TransLink guaranteeing to subsidize ridership shortfalls of less than 100,000 per day. It must also provide operator InTransitBC with some capital, as well as debt-service costs of $38 million to $39 million over the life of the 35-year agreement.

Once it hits an average 100,000 riders, Canada Line will reach the break-even point in covering its own operating costs, similar to the Expo and Millennium lines.

“With a lift in capacity next year, that could move [ridership] pretty darn close,” Hardie said, but added: “All signs still point to TransLink having to hustle to meet up with the demand.”

http://www.vancouversun.com/sports/thought+crowded+Canada+Line+racing+toward+capacity/3100040/story.html

TransLink’s Ridership Numbers – Can They Be Trusted?

May 27, 2010

Several local blogs have trumpeted TransLink’s claim that March’s ridership is up over 19% from the same time last year.

http://www.vancouversun.com/sports/Olympic+commuters+sticking+with+public+transit/3065957/story.html#Comments

Yet ‘Zwei’ has some nagging questions as to how TransLink counts transit ridership, especially on the metro system.

Back in BC Transit days, the transit agency proclaimed in annual news releases; “that ridership on the SkyTrain metro has increased by over 10%“, without giving actual ridership numbers. After a great deal of research, ‘Zwei’ found that the numbers claimed by BC Transit for SkyTrain’s ridership had no basis and in fact, were quite misleading. Unlike Calgary Transit’s light rail system, which counted actual (all) boardings three times a year, BC Transit counted partial boardings and relied mainly on estimating car loadings at key points along the line. Further information revealed that bureaucrats were counting 100 persons per full (MK1) SkyTrain vehicle, instead of the at capacity of 75 persons. Also, after finding some base numbers to work with, if one added 10% increases every year as BC Transit claimed, ridership would be on par with what TransLink claims today!

In conversation with a high ranking BC Transit bureaucrat at the time, I was told that; “No way could BC Transit count actual boardings three times a year, as we don’t have the manpower to do it.

Welcome to 2010.

The SkyTrain metro system is a very expensive operation and needs every cent it can get from TransLink’s farepool, to maintain and operate its ever expanding fleet of vehicles. TransLink has admitted that 80% of SkyTrain customers first use a bus to get to the metro, thus the fare pool share for SkyTrain must take in account this alarming number. Most fares are bought through agents such as grocery and convenience stores, thus revenue collected goes first into a farepool (or whatever you may wish to call it). If the SkyTrain bureaucrats still want to maintain the fairytale that SkyTrain pays its operating costs, it must get an increasing share of the farepool. By overstating ridership on the SkyTrain system, enables bureaucrats to get a larger share of TransLink’s farepool, with the result of robbing the buses of their rightful share of revenue.

TransLink is quite sensitive on the fare evasion issue and the installation of turnstiles; could it be that turnstiles, which are very good at counting ridership, will reveal that TransLink has greatly exaggerated ridership, while at the same time gave a impression of massive fare evasion? It’s too simple, if fare revenue is much less than claimed ridership numbers, then the only assumption is that of massive fare evasion!

Taking a portion of the farepool revenue is called apportioning fares.

With the Seabus, Canadian maritime law demands that exact boarding counts must be made for maritime safety, which was done by having customers pass through turnstiles.

The Canada Line, being a P-3 is even more revenue sensitive than SkyTrain and although it has laser style automatic passenger counters, TransLink doesn’t reveal that if those numbers are indeed the ones claimed for ridership purposes. If the automatic counters are not accurate and if are giving higher than real ridership figures, all is well as the Canada Line will receive more than its fair share from TransLink’s farepool. A nifty trick if you can get away with it.

Before we believe TransLink’s claims of increased ridership, the following questions must be asked:

  1. How is ridership counted on bus, Seabus, and the metro system? Are they full boarding counts?
  2. Is there an independent audit of ridership numbers done on an annual or bi annual basis?
  3. What are the annual fare evasion numbers? What percentage of ridership are they?
  4. What portion of the farepool is apportioned to bus; Seabus; the SkyTrain metro; the Canada line metro?
  5. Why will the provincial government not let BC’s Auditor General audit TransLink’s books?
  6. Are the Canada Line’s automatic passenger counters accurate? Has anyone audited their accuracy?

Before we invest any more money into the regions’ metro and bus system, the taxpayer must be assured that the transit system is giving good value for money. At present, all the public has is TransLink’s word for it and past experience dictate that TransLink’s word is not worth a plugged nickle. Just go and ask Susan Heyes!

Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Canada Line builder SNC-Lavalin criticized – From the Georgia Straight

May 1, 2010

An interesting article from the Georgia Straight, shining some light on SNC Lavalin wining the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Engineering Excellence. Deserved or not, the comments (on the Georgia Straight Link) are worth reading. Somehow building an economy metro line, that does nothing special and when the taxpayer is kept from finding the real cost, is not worthy of any award.

Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Canada Line builder SNC-Lavalin criticized – From the Georgia Straight

By Travis Lupick

It’s been described in the media as “the big winner” of the 2010 Awards for Engineering Excellence, which were presented on April 24. And indeed, for its work on the Canada Line, SNC-Lavalin Inc. did take home the prize of the night—the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Engineering Excellence.

But the company’s record is far from spotless, former Cambie Street merchant Susan Heyes was quick to pronounce.

“The Canada Line project and SNC knowingly chose a method of construction that caused scores of businesses to fail,” Heyes told the Straight by phone. “This unreasonable, preventable nuisance—and SNC’s lack of social responsibility—is not worthy of an award, but rather of a warning: this must never happen again.”

The owner of Hazel & Co. is embroiled in a lawsuit related to the Canada Line that names as a defendant InTransit B.C. Limited Partnership, a company partly owned by SNC.

In May 2009, a B.C. Supreme Court judge found InTransit, TransLink, and Canada Line Rapid Transit Inc. “wholly” responsible for a substantial loss of income by Hazel & Co. That decision is under appeal.

During the Canada Line’s construction, SNC also came under fire for its treatment of temporary foreign workers.

In December 2008, the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal ruled that members of Local 1611 of the Construction and Specialized Workers’ Union were discriminated against by their employers.

Along with the other respondents named in the complaint, SNC was ordered to pay the Latin American workers $10,000 each as “compensation for injury to dignity”.

An InTransit representative could not immediately be reached for comment.

Glenn Martin, executive director of Consulting Engineers of British Columbia, the organization that oversees the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Engineering Excellence, told the Straight that the award was bestowed on SNC “based on the merit of the project”.

“It is an award for engineering excellence,” she said, adding, “It boils down to looking at the ‘wow factor’ of what the project is, and what sort of creative, innovative, excellent engineering goes into the project.”

Martin explained that a panel of industry leaders examines a variety of criteria when deliberating on potential recipients of the award, and noted that the emphasis is on the individual projects being considered.

SNC’s controversies extend beyond the Canada Line. SNC Technologies Inc., a former subsidiary of SNC-Lavalin, has been criticized for supplying the U.S. military with bullets for use in Iraq. The division of the company that manufactured munitions has since been sold.

http://www.straight.com/node/320038

Cambie merchants hope for better fortunes – From CKNW News Radio

December 7, 2009

As predicted, those thousands of  RAV/Canada Line passengers are not getting off the train to shop at Cambie Street stores. The sad fact is, the inference from RAVCo. and later InTransit BC, was that the Canada Line would bring thousands of shoppers to Cambie St., it hasn’t and only those merchants lucky enough to be located near a station have seen increased foot traffic.

Subways, unlike street operating light rail or trams, do not increase surface merchant’s business and was not very honest of the RAV/Canada Line folks to infer that the RAV/Canada Line subway would. What is seen now, is the attempt to try to overturn Susan Heye’s successful lawsuit and settlement against TransLink, by trying to water down the effects of the RAV/Canada Line on local business, with ‘puff‘ news reports on the effects of the new metro. TransLink is desperate to stop the flood of potential lawsuits if Ms. Heyes lawsuit survives appeal.

Cambie merchants hope for better fortunes

VANCOUVER/CKNW(AM980)
Dan Burritt

Cambie Street merchants are hoping for a good holiday season, four months after the Canada Line opened and construction on the street wrapped up.

Christine Schattenkirk opened up her clothing store, My Best Friend’s Closet, in the building once occupied by Susan Heyes’ store, Hazel and Company, on Cambie and 16th.

“It’s actually picking up for us. We get a lot of walk-in traffic, especially on the good days, sunny days. I’m absolutely thrilled with the way things are going. There are people by all the time.”

But Melinda Michalak at Black Dog Video on Cambie near 17th says the Canada Line hasn’t brought many new customers to the village.

“There doesn’t seem to be, like, a real reason to, sort of, shop in this area from out of the local vicinity.”

Michalak says it’s also tough to attract Canada Line riders when there is no stop between Broadway and King Edward Ave.

Leonard Schein with the Cambie Village Business Association agrees that stores closer to Canada Line stops have seen a lot more business than stores in between.

The Greer Report – Review of Rapid Transit Project Claims. We didn’t need an American consultant to tell us TransLink is ‘off the rails’.

September 17, 2009

K

Over ten years ago the Greer Report, done by Greer Consulting Services, issued a scathing report on the Broadway/Lougheed Rapid Transit Projects, later to be know as the SkyTrain Millennium Line. The report found:

  • cost comparisons appear to have been contrived to favour SkyTrain over LRT
  •  no ridership (demand) analysis was reported to justify the high capacity system
  •  air quality and transportation benefits are unsubstantiated
  • accelerated construction advantages of SkyTrain were clearly unrealistic
  • risks associated with the SkyTrain car manufacture have not been assessed.

Fast forward to 2009, has anything changed?

Nada, nope, not a chance!

How can TransLink be trusted with any honest rapid transit planning, especially when they want hundreds of millions more in taxpayers money to pay for ‘pie-in-the-sky’ light-metro planning based on contrived planning and phony studies? The RAV/Canada line is just a symptom of a major problem: TransLink refuses to plan for affordable light-rail and instead invents statistics to suit their in-house light-metro planning. The 100,000 passengers a day, quoted by RAV officials and Liberal politicians, needed so the RAV/Canada line will operate subsidy free is ‘stuff-and-nonsense’ as TransLink has absolutely no mechanism in place to apportion fares between SkyTrain, RAV/Canada line, Seabus, and the regular buses. TransLink doesn’t know what percentage of fares are full fares, concession fares, and the deeply discounted U-Pass, nor do they have a formula for allocating fares between bus, seabus and metro.

Example: A South Surrey student (3 zone fare) going to UBC via transit pays just $25 a month for a U-Pass; he/she takes a bus to Casino/Bridgeport Junction, transfers to the RAV/Canada Line and then transfers again to a bus going to UBC. The apportioned fare should be $8.33 for the RAV/Canada line and $16.67 for the bus system. The RAV/Canada Line’s share of an U-Pass (1,2,or 3 zones) would be $8.33 a month or about $0.41.5 cents a day (based on 20 days use)! There is absolutely no way with the current fare structure that RAV will pay for itself with 100,000 passengers a day; especially when other metros need 400,000 to 500,000 passengers a day to justify construction.

Clearly TransLink hasn’t a clue about apportioned fares or even how the RAV/Canada line will determine what percentage will be paid to the metro and buses. What may happen is that TransLink will count all ridership on RAV as full adult cash fares and ‘fiddle away’ monies that rightfully should go to the bus system’s coffers.

What is known for certain is that the 100,000 a day claim made by TransLink, Kevin Falcon and Gordon Campbell is completely bogus!

Certainly nothing has changed much at TransLink as American transit expert, Gerald Fox, stated in a Feb.2008 letter regarding the Evergreen line:

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

 Metro politicians take note, TransLink is about to take you and your taxpayers on a wild ride, “around, around, TransLink goes; where it will stop nobody knows!”

For the full Greer Report

http://www.bcgreen.com/~samuel/green/GREER_Rep-SkyTrain_April_12_1999.pdf

Gerald Fox’s letter

https://railforthevalley.wordpress.com/2008/12/26/can-translinks-business-cases-be-trusted/

From the LRTA blog: LRT, very user-friendly & tourist friendly transit!

July 30, 2009

1 Geneva tram

On the eve of RAV/Canada Line operation, with it’s premium fares to Vancouver International Airport (YVR), one reads with interest the following posting from the LRTA blog site. Now could it be, if the ‘powers that be’ opted for much larger, yet less costly light rail network instead of the  now almost $3 billion RAV/Canada Line metro, TransLink could also offer tourist friendly fares as well?

Something else to mull over. The cost of a downtown to airport limosine  is $39.00; a cab fare from Vancouver to the airport is $30.00 (direct hotel pick-up to YVR), while there will be a $2.50 RAV surcharge on a two zone ($3.75)  TransLink fare. To get to the RAV/Canada line, a potential passenger must take a cab to a RAV/Canada line station with a minimum fare of $5.00 not including tip. The minimum cost of trip via RAV to the airport is $11.25, with one transfer. But if one splits the fare, two or three ways or in the case of a limousine, six ways, the cost by taxi/limousine could be comparable too or cheaper than using RAV/Canada Line!

Watch for a $10.00, one way, (based on four persons per Limo) Limousine airport to hotel shuttle service to commence, very shortly after RAV opens!

From the LRTA blog………..

Earlier this week I visited the Swiss city of Geneva, and as I was about the leave the baggage reclaim hall I noted a ticket machine offering ‘free travel’ tickets.

Apparently these are for arriving air passengers and offers them an 80 minute ride-at will ticket for anywhere within the Geneva area. As is normal with ‘standard’ tickets in many Swiss towns and cities these allow break of journey, interchange between modes etc, the only difference is that they are free of charge and that the passengers must retain proof that they have just arrived by air (boarding pass, etc) in case they encounter a roving ticket inspector.

But thats not all… oh no…

When people check-in at hotels, camp sites, youth hostels etc in Geneva they are also given a complimentary ticket which allows free travel throughout the city for the whole duration of their stay – and back to the airport too!

These tickets are valid (within Geneva) on all transports including trams, single / double articulated trolleybuses & motor buses, water boats, and of course the mainline railway – many of which link in with major towns and cities throughout Switzerland.

From a British point of view it boggles the mind that a city should wish to do this, after all it effectively means that the tourists do not even contribute towards the cost of the transports (the burden falls on local people, etc).

As an aside, whilst there I saw some major works installing new tram tracks in the city centre. What would British politicians, the Treasury, etc think if anyone even suggested similar here?

Debunking the SkyTrain myth. Rail for the Valley answers the UBC SkyTrain Lobby!

April 23, 2009

It was brought to Zweisystem’s attention yesterday that a blog site was established by the UBC SkyTrain Lobby, critiquing modern LRT.  Zweisystem responded,  posting corrections for the many myths, half truths and anti-LRT claptrap so often used by the SkyTrain lobby. The SkyTrain folks removed the comments and by doing so, fully admit that they are afraid of the truth. Zweisystem is not surprised as this is exactly how the SkyTrain lobby operates: repeat a lie so often that it soon becomes a fact. What is lost in the LRT/SkyTrain debate is that LRT has made SkyTrain light-metro obsolete decades ago, something the SkyTrain lobby fails to admit.

Why should Rail for the Valley supporters be concerned with a UBC SkyTrain? Simple, the $4 billion subway (RAV was to cost a mere $1.3 billion and now it’s direct cost may exceed $2.8 billion) will suck money away from all ‘rail’ projects for the Fraser Valley by spending hard earned tax dollars on another needless gold-plated rapid transit project for Vancouver. We must debunk the SkyTrain myth now.

There is no mention who the UBC SkyTrain lobby are and one wonders why they are so afraid of debate?.

The following is the website of the UBC SkyTrain lobby.

http://ubcskytrain.wordpress.com/22points/

The following is the 22 myths comment, with Zweisystem’s comments in Italics.

Debunking Myths: Our 22 Points

Twenty-two points created by our organization, debunking myths and inaccuracies:

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TIME IS MONEY
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LRT SUPPORTERS:
It’s okay to have longer travel times (which is what ground-level LRT will bring) in exchange for a “community-friendly system”.

Zweisystem responds: What is lost, is that a community friendly transit system attracts ridership, something that an unfriendly transit system does not do. Subways are very user unfriendly. Speed of a transit system itself doesn’t attract ridership (Hass Clau) but the time of the total commute (doorstep to doorstep), the overall ambiance and ease of use of a transit system that has proven to attract ridership, especially the motorist from the car.

FACT:
(1) SkyTrain will have 2-3 times more capacity and more than twice the speed of an ground level LRT line due to its private right-of-way. Speed is an important factor for the daily commuter, as shown by bus ridership statistics for the Broadway corridor: 99 B-Line (60,000 passengers per day); other Broadway bus routes (40,000 per-day) = total Broadway bus ridership is 100,000 passengers per day.

There is a reason why a large majority of Broadway transit commuters take the 99 B-Line: speed and convenience. The 99 B-Line is a rapid bus service, and it is at capacity in terms of the number of buses that can be put into service (according to TransLink, over 120 articulated buses were dedicated to the 99 B-Line in 2006; 10% of the entire TransLink bus fleet). Counting the 99 B-Line’s 60,000 daily riders alone, that is more than the ridership of Toronto’s streetcar lines.

Zweisystem responds: SkyTrain does not have 2 to 3 times more capacity than LRT as SkyTrain’s potential capacity is about the same as modern light rail (Gerald Fox). This myth was created by the discredited Delcan and ND Lea studies of the early 90’s, which arbitrarily claimed that SkyTrain had more capacity than LRT, without any study backing this assertion.  Modern LRT/tram, operating on-street/at-grade, can handle over 20,000 persons per hour per direction (LRTA).

The claim that the B-Line carries more than Toronto’s streetcars is pure bunkum. Maybe on a route by route basis, the Broadway buses carry more riders than on some streetcar lines, but not the network!

(2) The 12-km SkyTrain extension from VCC/Clarke Station to UBC via the Broadway corridor will take between 15-20-minutes travel time from terminus to terminus. Stations will be located at Finning, Main/Kingsway, Cambie (vital interchange station with Canada Line), Oak (hospital precinct), Granville, Arbutus, Macdonald, Alma, Sasamat/West Point Grey Village, and UBC transit interchange. All of these stations parallel the existing 99 B-Line service. A SkyTrain would be mainly tunneled, and with its own private right-of-way would be allowed to reach speeds of 80 km/h.

A ground-level LRT line would begin from Commercial/Broadway Station, and would take a travel time of between 30-45-minutes from terminus to terminus. It would have the same stations as the above mentioned SkyTrain with an additional four to six stations. Its higher travel time, on par with the existing 99 B-Line bus service, is a result of the line running through city streets instead of its own private right-of-way; as it runs in city streets, it must abide local traffic laws and speed limit of 50 kms/h. This will no doubt affect the extension’s reliability as a real alternative to the car: peak-hour traffic, road congestion, traffic accidents, etc.

In addition, commuters will be given a one-train ride with SkyTrain: no transfer will be needed, saving significant time. It also offers higher train frequencies and flexible schedule adjustments. On the contrary, LRT tends to have less frequent schedules due to the expense of having drivers and it would require a time-costly transfer from the region’s main transit network: SkyTrain (as it would simply be an extension of the Millennium Line). Such a pointless transfer would also affect ridership.

Zweisystem responds: A light rail/tram line operating on a reserved rights-of-way, with equal number of stops, would have travel times comparable to a SkyTrain light-metro. In Germany, trams operating in mixed traffic (with autos) are allowed to travel 10 kph faster than posted auto speeds and if tram/LRT operates on a reserved rights-way (a rights-of-way used exclusively for a tram), could operate at higher speeds quite safely. The authors of the blog conveniently forget that a transfer would have to be made to the proposed UBC SkyTrain from the Expo Line, thus the transfer argument is moot.

One, also questions the validity of recent light rail studies and asks, “were they done by qualified experts in LRT”. To date not one company with a proven expertise in the construction and operation of modern light rail have ever been allowed into the study process. It is also important to know that the various owners of the proprietary SkyTrain light-metro system have never allowed it to compete against modern LRT!

(3) SkyTrain is the region’s main transit network. Such a network should be high in speed, capacity, reliability, and frequency. Metro Vancouver axed a highway expansion plan in the 1970’s in favour of building a competent transit network: we must build a competent transit backbone that makes up for our lack in road capacity.

Zweisystem responds: Many cities around the world happily operate metro with light rail and the argument is again silly. What is not mentioned is that SkyTrain is a proprietary light metro, a mode long made obsolete by modern light rail. Building with SkyTrain today, is like trying to buy a new Edsel, because “I already have one”. Who buys SkyTrain?

(4) For such a costly expense, ground-level LRT will be a minor upgrade from the existing 99 B-Line bus service. The 99 B-Line is overflowing with riders, it needs something far greater than that to take its place. LRT is a short-term solution and will simply be a “99 B-Line with steel wheels”. On the other hand, SkyTrain will provide a long-term solution for the corridor’s transit needs.

Zweisystem responds: Light Rail will be more expensive to build than upgrading the B-Line service, about 30% more, but it would be much cheaper to operate than buses. One modern light Rail vehicle, with one driver is as efficient as 6 to 8 busses, with 6 to 8  bus drivers and one needs to hire three or more people per bus or tram to drive, maintain and manage them. Do the math, cities that operate LRT have done so.  Even operating in mixed traffic, with no reserved rights-of-ways or signal priority, modern trams are about 10% faster than buses. SkyTrain on the other hand, costs a lot more to operate, almost twice as much as Calgary’s LRT C-Train, which also carries more customers daily! The higher operating costs of SkyTrain and other proprietary light-metros were well understood by the early 1990’s and helped in the demise of the mode.

(5) Frequent trolley service will still exist, given the importance of local service along the Broadway corridor. It will complement the SkyTrain service.

Zweisystem responds: Why, after spending up to $4 billion on a subway, would TransLink want to operate trolley buses as well, driving up operating costs of the route; even on Cambie St., the electric trolley buses are now replaced by diesel buses. Modern LRT is built because it is cheaper to operate than buses on a transit route, when ridership exceeds 2,000 pphpd. With LRT operating on-street, with stops every 500 to 600 metres, there would be no need for buses on Broadway.

(6) A 2000 study by the City of Vancouver concluded that an LRT line, with 16 stations from Commercial to UBC along the Broadway corridor, would rake in 140,000 daily riders. However, a SkyTrain extension from VCC/Clarke to Arbutus combined with a rapid bus service from Arbutus to UBC would bring in 150,000 daily riders.

Zweisystem responds: Based on what figures? Subways are notoriously poor in attracting new ridership and that, combined with high operating and maintenance costs, subways are avoided, unless traffic flows are over 500,000 passengers a day. It was predicted in 1980, that SkyTrain would be carrying over 20,000 pphpd, in the peak hour, by the year 2000; presently it is carrying half this number.

Note that the study was completed before the U-Pass was implemented, before record high gas prices, and before the green shift took priority. Following the 2002 implementation of the U-Pass, transit ridership at UBC increased significantly: in 2002 daily ridership was at 29,700 but by 2004 it was 50,000; a 68% increase in ridership in just two years because of the U-Pass! Transit ridership still increased significantly in the years after.

Zweisystem responds: Funny how a bus route, Broadway, operating at capacity can attract 68% more customers. The argument is moot because a LRT line could easily handle 250,000 or more passengers a day.

The study also does not account for the improved transit services since, especially the new Canada Line that will be opening in September 2009.

Taking account that the study was completed nearly ten years ago, and with all the changes to the region since then, ridership for a SkyTrain extension to UBC could rake in more than 200,000 passengers per day.

For comparison’s sake, the Expo Line (29-kms) currently has a daily ridership of 185,000; Millennium Line (20-kms) at 75,000; and the projected daily ridership for the Canada Line (19-kms) and Evergreen Line (11-kms) is at 100,000 and 80,000.

Zweisystem responds: SkyTrain, unlike other transit systems around the world, has never had an independent audit of ridership, so the figures presented are questionable; that being said TransLink admits that 80% of SkyTrain’s ridership first take a bus to the light metro and as buses are poor in attracting new ridership, one questions this 200,000 a day figure. But again the argument is moot, because LRT can easily handle such loads!

As there is no independent audit of SkyTrain’s ridership, the numbers are questionable, also Expo Line riders are double counted on the Millennium Line and visa versa. Ridership projections for the Evergreen line and RAV Canada line are speculative at best.

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ROUTE AND CONSTRUCTION METHODOLOGY: LRT
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LRT SUPPORTERS:

Building light rail is fast and painless, unlike building SkyTrain; light rail won’t require digging up the road, while SkyTrain will. Businesses will not be affected. With light rail, parking spaces will not be lost both during the construction process and after construction is complete. LRT can be built on West 4th Avenue, instead of Broadway. LRT will not require tunneling. LRT will cost only a fraction of what SkyTrain would cost.

FACT:
(7) If light rail were the chosen technology for the extension, a trunk sewer underneath Broadway will require a costly removal and relocation. Thus, it will require digging up the entire street, like a large trench, and will be time consuming…

Zweisystem responds: The sewer trunk is built in the gutter lane, why? Because the old streetcars operated in the median lanes! The argument is thus lost.

(8) …In addition to removing the Broadway trunk sewer, ground level light rail construction will require the closure of several lanes and all on-street parking lanes. Traffic will be reduced to two-lanes, similarly to Cambie Canada Line construction….

Zweisystem responds: Modern LRT construction would require street closures on a block by block basis and only for a short period of time, no different when the city tears up roads for utility maintenance.

(9) All in all, with light rail Broadway merchants will still be significantly affected by construction for about 2 years. In comparison, most of Cambie has been closed for about the same period for Canada Line construction. Light rail construction is far painless as claimed. It should also be noted that the construction timeline for an LRT line in the middle of a road should not be confused with the construction timeline for an LRT or streetcar line with its already existing private right-of-way.

Zweisystem responds: More fear mongering as Broadway would be closed on a block by block basis as track laying progressed. Street construction would be completed in about one years time or less.

(10) As Broadway is a narrow street, a ground-level light rail system would result in the permanent removal of the majority of the on-street parking spaces that Broadway merchants hold onto so dearly. Nearly all of Broadway will also be reduced to a two-lane road (one lane in each direction) due to the massive amount of spacing needed for ground level light-rail; a major east-west road artery in the city will be abolished.

Zweisystem responds: Such nonsense, there will no loss of on-street parking, unless the city of Vancouver wishes it, what will happen is that one traffic lane, in each direction, will have capacity increased from a bout 1,600 pphpd to over 20,000 pphpd, with LRT.  Traffic on Broadway will be reduced by 1 lane in each direction; this is known as traffic calming.

(11) Any mass transit extension would need to be located along the Broadway corridor. West 4th Avenue would not work as it would skip the main employment hubs along Broadway, thus reducing potential ridership significantly.

The Broadway corridor catches 16th Avenue to 4th Avenue; more people live along the upper corridor rather than 4th Avenue

Zweisystem responds: What is “mass transit”? We are dealing with light-rail and light metro and there are pros and cons about each mode. For the cost of a SkyTrain subway to UBC, one could build a 4th Ave. LRT; a Broadway LRT; 41st Ave. LRT, for a combined capacity of over 60,000 pphpd, plus at least 2 North south LRT lines in Vancouver.

(12) LRT would likely require significant tunneling due to the steep grades on the hill west of Alma Street. LRT trains will be unable to climb the hill on such a steep slope.

Zweisystem responds: Not true. The industry standard for LRT climbing grades is 8%; in Sheffield England the maximum grade is 10% and in Lisbon, their trams climb 13.8% grades. The old streetcars climbed the Alma grades and modern LRT can do the same as well.

(13) It is a myth that $2.8-billion could build you 200-kms of light rail. Such a claim would likely mean the routes for these 200-kms of light rail lines already have pre-existing rail right-of-ways: we know that certainly does not exist in Vancouver, especially not for the Broadway mass transit extension.

Zweisystem responds: In Spain, new LRT is being built for under $8 million/km. and in Helsinki, on-street tram construction, including the electrical overhead was about $5 million/km. The $2.8 billion for 200 km. of LRT is very realistic. What the SkyTrain lobby is scared of is that $2.8 billion will buy you less than 28 km. of elevated SkyTrain or less than 9 km. of subway.

Proponents also falsely advocate this claim by “cherry-picking” the best features of LRT, all of which come with a high price. The real cost of 200-kms of real LRT in the region would likely be at least $12-billion.

Zweisystem responds: More invention and uninformed assertions, showing a complete ignorance of modern light rail.

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ROUTE AND CONSTRUCTION METHODOLOGY: SkyTrain
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LRT SUPPORTERS:

SkyTrain construction along the Broadway corridor will devastate local businesses just like Canada Line construction. SkyTrain is also expensive to build and operate.

FACT:
(14) The SkyTrain extension would likely occur under 10th Avenue (and NOT on Broadway), one block/60-metres south of Broadway. Station entrances will still be located on Broadway….

(15)…Such an extension under 10th Avenue, bored or cut and cover, would significantly reduce the impact on local businesses…

(16)…With the large $2.8-billion budget, a vital long-term investment into the region’s infrastructure, it is likely that planners are planning for a bored tunnel design rather than cut and cover to avert most of the mistakes on Cambie.

 Zweisystem responds: $2.8 billion will not buy much of a subway. If the 19 km. RAV/Canada line 50% subway may cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.8 billion a Broadway subway will cost a lot more.

(17) With an underground system, built on 10th Avenue and likely a bored tunnel, businesses will not be as affected (compared to a ground-level LRT line or a Cambie-style cut and cover tunnel).

Zweisystem responds: if a bored tunnel is used, properties adjacent to the subway may settle because the surrounding ground will be disturbed. Without costly pre-engineering work, the true cost of subway construction is a guesstimate at best.

(18) Local businesses stand to benefit significantly from the additional foot traffic within SkyTrain station precincts.

Zweisystem responds: Not so, as subways have proven poor in attracting business to local merchants. Modern LRT has a proven record in increasing business by about 10% along routes where LRT runs. Passengers  in subways do not see surface businesses.

(19) SkyTrain may cost billions to build, but this is a long-term investment into our region’s infrastructure: an investment that could last up to a century. On the contrary, LRT with its limited capacity and speed is a short-term investment.

Zweisystem responds: Completely untrue. Subways lack operational flexibility and require most customers to use other transport to get to the subway. To date, SkyTrain has yet to match LRT’s capacity and speeds! Lack of stations may provide a faster service, but at the same time deter ridership. Many LRT lines operate on well maintained infrastructure that is over 100 years old; subway on the other hand require constant and expensive maintenance as London’s TUBE and Toronto’s subways have well proven.

(20) SkyTrain, with its driverless automation, is cheaper to operate annually compared to driver systems such as LRT. In addition, there are capital cost savings and efficiencies from using the same maintenance yard/facilities, operations centre, and train rolling stock.

Zweisystem responds: Actually it is the other way around, automated transit systems cost a lot more to operate than LRT. Calgary’s C-Train LRT costs less than half per annum to operate than SkyTrain and it carries more passengers as well! in 2006, the cost of wages for drivers was $6 million. SkyTrain doesn’t have drivers, rather attendants and SkyTrain police, which cost more than drivers for Calgary’s LRT system.

As SkyTrain light-metro cars cost more to purchase than equivalent LRT cars, the last statement loses much of its validity. Also, with SkyTrain, there is only one supplier of  one style of car:  Bombardier Inc.; With LRT there are many suppliers and styles of cars to choose from and all are able to operate in conjunction with each other, something that RAV/Canada line and SkyTrain cars can’t do.

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A REGIONAL CORRIDOR
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BUILD NOTHING & LRT SUPPORTERS:

There is not enough ridership to support a rapid transit rail line along the Broadway corridor. Any rapid transit rail line’s real purpose would be to solely serve the University of British Columbia.

FACT:
(21) Central Broadway/Cambie “Uptown” is the second largest employment centre in the entire region after Vancouver City Centre. According to a 1996 census, there were 40,000 jobs in the area and half of these people live outside of Vancouver making the district a regional centre. We can only assume that the number of jobs in the area has grown significantly since 13 years ago and will continue to grow. In addition, the Broadway corridor is one of the most densely populated areas outside of Downtown Vancouver.

Zweisystem responds: By building LRT down Broadway, it would protect both residents and businesses from escalating taxes to pay for a gold-plated subway project and the need to massively increase density along the route to feed the metro, while at the same time provide high quality transportation to the area.

Central Broadway is also part of the Metropolitan Core, part of Downtown Vancouver; a focus area for population and employment growth.

All of the above only serves to support ridership. And as mentioned above, there are already 100,000 daily bus riders along the Broadway corridor making it the busiest bus corridor in the entire region.

(22) The University of British Columbia is one of the largest employment centres in the entire region. With over 50,000 students and faculty, it will only continue to grow. In addition, the university is developing plans to build new dense residential neighborhoods – this will only serve to support ridership.

As already mentioned above, transit ridership at the university was at 50,000 in 2004…we can only assume it will be much more today. It will only grow with additional and improved services.

Zweisystem responds: LRT would be able to service all of UBC and with the inherent flexibility of the mode, could provide a minor LRT network on campus. Also there is the possibility of LRT carrying freight to UBC, as done in other European cities, taking commercial vehicles off city streets. The ridership forecasts certainly point to a light rail solution for UBC and not an expensive subway.