The Greer Report – 20 Years On

This item is a reprint from 2009.

After rereading the Greer Report, I see TransLink making the same unsubstantiated claims about SkyTrain.

Another decade has passed and TransLink is still the autocratic organization, as it was twenty years ago!

Who is not afraid to “Bell the Cat?”

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

First posted by on Thursday, September 17, 2009

K

Over twenty 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 today, has anything changed?

Nada, nope, not a chance!

How can TransLink be trusted with any honest 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.

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!

(2018 update: The Canada Line is said to have 110,000 boarding’s a day, which equates to about 50,000 actual people using the system. There is also an agreement with West Coast Mountain Bus that all South Fraser buses must terminate at Brighouse Station, thus effectively forcing a transfer on all South Fraser customers. The stations only have 40m long platforms and can only operate two car trains, effectively limiting capacity to a little more than half of the ART/ALRT Innovia Lines. Translink pays the SNC Lavalin lead consortium over $100 million annually to operate the line.)

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

SkyTrain Costs That TransLink Do No Want The Taxpayer To Know

Many people who advocate for more SkyTrain extensions in the metro region, do not understand the costs associated with automatic train control or ATC, necessary for driverless operation.

The cost of resignalling just one subway line in Toronto is said to cost CAD $562 million.

TransLink’s problem is that to increase capacity on the Innovia SkyTrain Lines beyond its current maximum capacity of 15,000 pphpd, the current aging ATC system must be replaced on the entire system at a cost considerably higher than the cost of $562 million for one subway line in Toronto.

So TransLink’s way of dealing with the problem is not dealing with the problem.

For those advocating extending SkyTrain in Surrey, please add the Innovia SkyTrain’s cost of resignalling, please.

No? Thought so.

And I also forgot to mention, LRT does not have issues of the high cost of ATC.

By Ben SpurrTransportation Reporter
Wed., July 11, 2018

The TTC has placed a crucial project to increase capacity on Toronto’s most crowded subway line under review, amid a staffing shakeup that has seen senior figures involved with the program either depart the agency or placed on leave.

TTC CEO Rick Leary revealed the consultant review of the $562-million automatic train control (ATC) system last week in a single paragraph in his 68-page monthly report to the board.

The signalling system, which the TTC is in the process of installing on Line 1 (Yonge-University), would allow the agency to run trains closer together, enabling more service during the busiest times of day.

In an emailed statement, TTC spokesperson Brad Ross said a decision to launch a review “should not suggest there’s a problem with a project,” but the agency would commission a review “to ensure a project will deliver what it has promised to deliver.”

He said the exercise will determine whether the installation of ATC will enable the promised capacity improvements without any additional work, or whether the TTC might also need to upgrade the subway line’s power supply, ventilation systems, and vehicle fleet in order to run the required additional trains.

It will also determine whether ATC infrastructure can be fully installed by the previously announced date of 2019, and after that, when the capacity improvements could be fully realized.

“If there are schedule issues, this review will inform that,” Ross said.

With regular ridership of 30,000 people per hour during morning peak periods, sections of the Yonge line south of Bloor station frequently exceed scheduled capacity of about 28,000 passengers per hour. High passenger volumes, particularly during subway delays, have recently sparked safety concerns.

According to the TTC, once ATC is operational it could increase capacity on the line by as much as 25 per cent, which is critical to relieving crowding on Line 1 until the proposed relief subway line can be built. The city estimates it could be until 2031 until the new subway is complete.

News of the review follows the departure of a number of TTC managers whose responsibilities included ATC work.

For the rest of the story, please click here

Is Surrey About To Abandon The Doomed Ship TransLink?

Zwei predicted years ago that current transit planning will compel South Fraser Municipalities to abandon TransLink.

Well, it has happened, like it or not a new political group, Proudly Surrey, has made leaving TransLink as part of their electoral platform.

The following is Proudly Surrey’s platform on transit.

Transit for Surrey

 

In 1994, Surrey signed the Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority agreement, along with the other cities in Metro Vancouver and the BC government, an agreement that ultimately created TransLink. While TransLink has made some good decisions and delivered some genuine improvements to our transit system, these have been outweighed by decades of bad management, poor decisions and provincial government interference. Over time TransLink has become just another body of faceless appointees collecting fat cheques, totally out of touch with the transportation needs of our cities.

Today, we are suffering with expensive white elephant fare collection systems which do not work effectively, and cost more money than fare evasion was ever costing us.

Today, Surrey residents who work in Vancouver pay the most in transit fare while getting worse service than the residents of Burnaby, Vancouver, New West and other cities where inter-urban fares are lower.

Proudly Surrey will retake control of our transit system and the gas taxes we pay to support it.

  • We will immediately begin negotiations and prepare a legal case for the BC Supreme Court to pull Surrey out of TransLink and create a local transit system in partnership with TransLink and adjacent cities, one that maintains fare transferability, rapid transit building and maintenance and interurban service
  • We will focus any new transit development on frequent bus service to all neighbourhoods to ensure that seniors, kids and night shift workers have a bus system that meets their basic needs
  • We will work with Whatcom County municipalities to create a break-even cross-border bus network connecting to Bellingham Airport, the Alaska Marine Highway terminal and other important US destinations
  • We will base any future rapid transit decisions on two main principles: cost-effectiveness at moving people and effectiveness at combating climate change; we cannot afford to engage in a transit politics of symbolism and style

Bombardier Inc. Doesn’t Give a Damn

This is a major problem for Metro Vancouver, Bombardier Inc. doesn’t give a damn about its rail products and this should make Metro Vancouver mayors and TransLink very worried.

Why?

Bombardier is the sole suppliers of the Innovia metro car used on the Expo and Millennium/Evergreen lines and if Bombardier were to stop production, new cars must be sourced elsewhere, driving up the cost of an already expensive vehicle. As the Innovia LIM powered metro car is a proprietary product, any new car would have to be designed, tested and safety cased before entering in revenue operation and this is very expensive.

This is the genius of a proprietary railway, you are stuck with only one supplier.

Bombardier just does not care about its rail product, late and defective deliveries to Toronto is a good indication that Bombardier Inc. just does not give a damn about its customer’s, as long as federal money keeps pouring into the company. For TransLink, Bombardier Inc. could cease Innovia production with little notice, leaving TransLink without a supplier and that would prove extremely costly for the BC taxpayer.

Most new TTC streetcars to be recalled to fix welding defect, Bombardier says

By Ben SpurrTransportation Reporter
Tues., July 3, 2018

In a stunning setback for the TTC’s problem-plagued streetcar order, Bombardier now says most of the vehicles it has already delivered to the transit agency will have to be taken out of service and shipped to Quebec to correct a serious welding defect.

The Star has learned that after a lengthy investigation into long-standing welding problems with the vehicles, Bombardier has concluded the first 67 of the 89 cars it has supplied need to be fixed, or they could fail prematurely.

A TTC streetcar along Queens Quay. The Star has learned that after a long investigation, Bombardier has decided the first 67 streetcars it shipped to the city need to be fixed.
A TTC streetcar along Queens Quay. The Star has learned that after a long investigation, Bombardier has decided the first 67 streetcars it shipped to the city need to be fixed.  (Randy Risling / Toronto Star)

The cars will be sent to Bombardier’s plant in La Pocatière, Que., and according to the company will each take 19 weeks to fix. The repairs to all 67 cars are expected to take until at least 2022 to complete.

The recall is only the latest problem to affect the TTC’s repeatedly delayed vehicle purchase, and appears to undermine the claim made by both the transit agency and the rail manufacturer that while the cars have been delivered late, they are extremely reliable.Opinion | Christopher Hume: 10 disappointing things we now know about the TTC’s new streetcars

A spokesperson for the company stressed the welding problem, which originated at Bombardier’s plant in Sahagun, Mexico, poses no safety risk to the public. Eric Prud’Homme described the work as “preventative maintenance” and said Bombardier made the decision to take the vehicles out of service for repairs because without the work they may not last their contractual 30-year service life.

Prud’Homme said such problems are “not uncommon in the industry.”

“The question you have to ask is how is it handled. The way Bombardier is handling it is fair, is transparent, and of course we’re assuming responsibility,” he said.

Prud’Homme couldn’t say how much the repairs will cost, but Bombardier has agreed to pick up the bill.

In an emailed statement Tuesday, Mayor John Tory expressed “extreme frustration” with the streetcar deal, which he noted “was signed by a previous city council back in 2009,” and criticized “Bombardier’s slow progress in actually delivering the vehicles bought and paid for by Toronto taxpayers.”

Tory added that he had asked acting TTC CEO Rick Leary to ensure Bombardier would compensate the transit agency if the repairs inconvenience transit riders.

Bombardier has repeatedly failed to meet delivery targets on the $1-billion order for 204 low-floor, accessible streetcars. By the end of 2017 it was supposed to have delivered nearly 150 of the vehicles, but managed only 59.

Although the company says it has been meeting a revised schedule in the first half of this year, the TTC says the delivery delays have caused a shortage that has forced it to keep older streetcars in service past their intended lifespan, and replace some of its streetcar service with buses.

TTC spokesperson Brad Ross called the latest problem “incredibly disappointing.”

“We need these cars in service,” he said.

Ross vowed the agency “will ensure that there is little to any impact on our customers” by sending only a few cars for repairs at a time. He said the first car to be taken out of service would likely be sent to La Pocatière sometime in the fall.

According to Bombardier, the company first discovered the welding problem in 2015, but it took an 18-month investigation to discover the extent and the cause.

Company representatives said the problem is a “lack of fusion” in some of the welds on the car’s skeleton, particularly around bogie structures and the articulated portals where different sections of the articulated vehicle are joined. The company says it brought the issue “under control” last June and it won’t be repeated in future deliveries.

Ross said the TTC became aware last October the repairs would be required, but decided to accept the vehicles anyway on the assurance that Bombardier would perform the necessary maintenance.

“It was more important to us to have those cars available for service for our customers” than refuse cars with defects, Ross said.

He said the transit agency hadn’t made the issue public before now because it was working with Bombardier on a repair plan and “we needed to have as many details as possible before advising the public.”

Both the TTC and Bombardier said the problem shouldn’t affect the company’s ability to deliver the entire fleet of 204 cars by the end of 2019, as originally scheduled. In order to do so, the company will have to ramp up production to far exceed the rate it has accomplished to date. The company is opening a second production facility in Kingston, Ont. later this year to complement the factory in Thunder Bay, where the cars are currently assembled.

Even though the weld repairs will continue for years past the delivery deadline, the TTC believes there will be “no contractual impacts” to Bombardier as long as the company supplies the full fleet by the end of next year.

 

$580 Million Per Kilometre

Something TransLink and the Mayors Council on Transit likes to keep hidden.

The cost of subway construction in Toronto is pegged at $580 million per km.

By comparison, the cost for LRT (not in BC mind) is pegged at $35 million to $50 million per km.

We can build 10 or more km of LRT for every km of subway built and LRT, at present, has a higher capacity than SkyTrain!

Or put another way, just two km. of the Broadway subway could fund a 30 minute Vancouver to Chilliwack diesel LRT service via the old BC Electric route and probably attract far more new customers to transit than the proposed Broadway subway!

Please tell Premier Horgan, no more FastFerry style transit projects and do what the rest of the world does, build with light rail.

Memo to Premier Horgan: A $580 million per km FastFerry style transit project, will trump a billion dollar or more Casino scandal any day in BC!

The modern Tram; today's transit choice by transit planners around the world.

Toronto:  There’s a Ford in their future……..again !! The last one wasn’t enough. They had to elect another one.

Jeff Marinoff

LORINC: Breaking down Doug Ford’s impossible, ridiculous, scandalous subway to Pickering

Because we here in Spacing’s bustling newsroom like to provide informative and constructive analysis to politicians of all stripes, we felt it would be helpful to cost out the new premier’s plan to extend subway service to Pickering.
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I will assume, for the purposes of Spacing’s initial feasibility study, that the Ford Extension™ will run from Scarborough Town Centre to Pickering Town Centre, which, truth be told, is really the only place for a subway to go in that part of the 905. According to Google maps, the distance between the two regional mall/mobility hubs is about 17.1 km, assuming the crow flies over Highway 401.
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The route is traversed by no fewer than three of the GTA’s river/ravine systems – Highland Creek, the Rouge River and Duffins Creek, and would obviously have to dip under the 401 at some point. In short, it will have to run in an extraordinarily deep tunnel, just like the Scarborough Subway Extension does.
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Speaking of which, the going rate for a kilometer of subway is about $580 million, which is based, of course, on the amount we’ll be spending in virtual perpetuity for the 6.2 km Scarborough line. Taxpayers have been repeatedly assured — by Mayor John Tory and others — that this monumentally wasteful boondoggle will cost $3.5 billion (although no one really believes that figure). The number would be higher if there were stations, but let’s not get into that.
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If we round up to $600 million, that means a mostly stop-free straight-shot subway between STC and Pickering would cost about $10 billion, but that’s in 2014 dollars, which is when the extension funding was secured. In 2021 dollars, or whenever Doug Ford needs to remind voters in the east end of the GTA that he’s brung home the electoral bacon, the number will be, well… Don’t even bother.
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It’s hardly worth mentioning, but I shall do it anyway, that GO currently offers express bus service from STC to Pickering Town Centre. It runs every 20 minutes. The cost is probably a gazillionth of what the subway will require, but the good people of Pickering deserve a subway, and so they shall have one.
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Another point scarcely worth noting is that the outlay for the Ford Express™ would be about twice the amount the premier-designate claims he’ll cut from the province’s $150 billion+ budget. Anyway, I’ll leave it you to do the math.
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Perhaps in the way that Donald Trump has emboldened racists and thugs, Ford will encourage more ridiculous transportation ideas to emerge from their richly-deserved hiding places. How else to account for the Toronto Region Board of Trade’s pitch to deck the busiest sections of Highway 401 – a proposal (see page 14) that caused John McGrath, my colleague at TVO’s The Agenda, to express a desire to end it all.
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Packaged as one of three “bold” ideas to address bottlenecks and cargo movement around Pearson, the TRBOT document claims that, based on an elevated section of a highway in Texas, we could add six tolled lanes in the air above the 401 for somewhere between C$4 billion and $10 billion for 20 to 50 km.
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The report is more than a little misleading. The Texas project – one in Austin, based on another in Dallas – envisions a three-level highway mainly through a relatively short stretch running through the downtown, with tolls at the lower levels. TRBOT neglects to mention that the I-35 through Austin is merely a six-lane highway with plenty of land on either side, whereas the 401 around Pearson is anywhere from 12 to 16 lanes across, with not much right of way left over at the edges. Decking it poses a far more formidable engineering and logistical feat, resulting in a gigantic object that would likely cost at least twice as much as what the State of Texas intends to ram through downtown Austin.
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The blindingly obvious question is this: does Ontario really need to be taking its transportation planning cues from a jurisdiction that barely does land use planning, operates not a single kilometre of subway and venerates its highways?
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To be honest, I shouldn’t even waste pixels writing about such matters, except to point out that previous schemes to add layers to various highways around the city have inevitably floundered because they make no sense, financially or structurally.
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Senator Jerry Grafstein, for a while, shilled for a crazy private scheme to run a tolled tunnel under the Gardiner/Lakeshore corridor. And in the early days of the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corp., there was a more developed public plan to bury the Gardiner in a tunnel through the central core. Inevitably, these ideas died a deserving death because the sheer space and cost required to shift fast-moving vehicles up or down a level is so onerous as to render the whole scheme unworkable.
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Then, four or five decades after it is completed, the damn thing begins to crumble like so much stale feta, just like the Gardiner did, except there will be a lot more salt-soaked rubble raining down on a far busier stretch of road.
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Why TRBOT reached for this particular solution is totally beyond me, unless the organization — which in the recent past offered cogent and important advocacy on transportation planning — has been seized with an overwhelming desire to be ridiculed. Sure, it’s a bold idea. Mostly, though, it’s a bad idea.
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Here’s a better idea: more transit! In recent weeks, I had to travel regularly down to the Distillery District for a project: the St Clair West streetcar in its right of way to the subway; the subway to King; a wonderfully speedy streetcar ride east along the freshly de-congested King, then jogging south on the new Cherry Street loop now serving the West Donlands. All excellently synchronized, in new vehicles with multi-door access, and transfers smoothed by Presto cards. For the first time in my life, I felt like transit in Toronto had become positively European in its seamlessness.
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Oh yes, and at no point along this journey could I detect evidence that the sky had (as so many naysayers boldly predicted) fallen.
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Imagine.
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My wish is that when politicians, planners, advocacy groups and citizens talk about moving about in a city encumbered with world-beating congestion, they’ll focus on cost-effective solutions that have been thoroughly tried and tested in all those places in the world that no longer have world-beating congestion. My fear is that we will, instead, waste the next four years debating dumb ideas that burn through vast reserves of civic energy before finally exploding on the launching pad.

The Regional Mayor’s $7 Billion FastFerry Fiasco!

FastFerry fiascos tend to be common in BC, where politicians play the part of transit experts and squander the taxpayer’s money on prestige projects, that are great for ribbon cutting photo-ops, but little more.

That Translink’s American CEO applauds this only shows the Mayor’s Council on Transit picked nothing more than a “Useful Idiot” to oversee their grossly negligent transit planning that is nothing more than hugely expensive gift to political friends, the land speculators and land developers.

This transit plan is solely to move money, not transit customers.

Kiss good transit planning good bye as the region will suffer decades of congestion and say hello to an ever increasing tax bill to fund the gross incompetence associated with this plan. Also say hello to new highway construction in he region, which must happen, if there is no regional transit.

Better transit for the region, not going to happen, simply because there is no money to make it happen and this includes the Rail for the Valley’s TramTrain, linking Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Cloverdale to Vancouver.

Memo to Premier John Horgan: Stop this runaway money train; dissolve TransLink and start over again, because the Broadway subway and ill planned Surrey LRT will sink the NDP, like the Fast Ferry’s did almost two decades ago.

 

TransLink mayors, board to vote on $7b Metro Vancouver transit plan

Updated: June 27, 2018

New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Coté plans to vote in favour of the Phase 2 transportation plan. Ric Ernst / Vancouver Sun

 

TransLink’s Mayors Council and board of directors will meet Thursday to decide whether to approve the ambitious $7.3-billion second phase of a 10-year transportation plan for the region.

If the council and board vote in favour of the plan, then procurement for and implementation of the plan’s projects can begin as early as next month.

Projects include construction of the Millennium Line Broadway Extension and the first stage of the South of Fraser rapid transit in Surrey, more bus and HandyDart service, upgrades to the existing SkyTrain system, improvements to road, pedestrian and cycling networks, and planning for a proposed gondola on Burnaby Mountain.

The two major rail projects, with a combined cost of almost $4.5 billion, are expected to account for almost half of the total Phase 2 investment.

The federal government has committed to paying up to 40 per cent of the capital costs for major projects, and the province has agreed to pay for 40 per cent of all projects.

Regional funding sources include a two-per-cent transit fare hike, three-per-cent parking-tax increase, a property-tax increase of $5.50 for the average household and a development-cost charge on new development.

“I think this has been a long road for the Mayors Council to get approval and a funding arrangement for the mayors’ 10-year vision, and it’s been a difficult process over the past four years,” said New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Coté.

Coté said he can’t speak for other mayors on the council, but he plans to vote in favour of the Phase 2 plan.

“I have for years advocated for the need for us to take that next step and move on to investing in transportation infrastructure, and I can speak for myself that I feel comfortable the appropriate next step is to approve the plan and move us beyond the decade-long conversation about funding and actually start having conversations about implementing transport infrastructure in the region,” he said.

A recent public consultation on Phase 2 of the plan highlighted some concerns about individual funding sources, such as property taxes, and components of the plan, but Coté said he believes the public is generally supportive.

“I think that people are ready for us to stop debating investments into transportation and actually move on to getting on to building and investing in transportation infrastructure in the region,” he said.

Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie, who is also co-chair of the council and the board’s joint-finance committee, said he has supported the plan throughout the process and expects to continue to support it Thursday.

He said he hasn’t canvassed his colleagues, but guesses the council will approve the plan, seeing as it has expressed its support for Phase 2 on numerous occasions.

“I think that the federal government, the provincial government, the region are coming together to support a transportation plan — they’re coming together in an unprecedented way and I think the beneficiaries of the common approach will be the people of the region,” Brodie said.

The Mayors Council will also vote on the fare increase proposed in the funding formula for Phase 2. The council received an application from TransLink for the increase on April 20 and must make a decision by July 19.

jensaltman@postmedia.com

All Quiet On The Eastern Front

 

Zwei has a habit of making people mad and the list is long.

So, in an effort to even more people mad, I will recall a conversation I had a week or so back with a former NDP politician.

The former NDP politician wishes to remain anonymous as the person does not want to get harassing phone calls from the now premier’s Office.

There will be no Vancouver to Chilliwack rail service, because those in the NDP’s hierarchy do not want it and will invest only in official SkyTrain projects. As the former politico said joking; ” so please stop comparing the Broadway SkyTrain subway to a FastFerry project, even though it is.”

Why does the former NDP politico say this?

Past NDP/Liberal politicians and hanger-ons would be horribly embarrassed by any form of light rail operating anywhere in BC, as it would contradict preconceived notions based on previous private deals made to SNC Lavalin and Bombardier, holders of the proprietary SkyTrain light-metro’s patents. This includes the grand economies of the truth about cost, speed, capacity and safety.

University types would also be embarrassed by LRT, simply because it would refute the density quest for rapid transit theory they so favour, which are designed mainly to up-zone properties along the metro, for sales to overseas money launderers and handsome profits for land speculators.

The mainstream media would also be exposed for publishing almost 40 years of incompetent, non factual,  anti LRT rhetoric.

There is so much professional misconduct associated by current transit planning, that many jobs would be in jeopardy. It is just too simple to  continue to encourage the SkyTrain Lobby and the SkyTrain sheep to keep bleating SkyTrain good; light-rail bad routine.

On June 28, the Metro Vancouver’s mayor’s Council will rubber-stamp both the $3 billion Broadway SkyTrain subway and the $2.5 billion Surrey LRT, before a possible change in government and a change of transit policy.

Both projects have been planned by rank amateurs, with little or no rail background, abetted by land developers and land speculators, rubbing their hands gleefully at massive profits soon to be made with subway and light rail construction. Both projects, will run over budget; both projects will fail to attract new ridership.

The results of this foolish investment in prestige rail projects will not come into the fore until those making the inept decision, will be enjoying handsome retirement packages and perks.

I am saddened to say, unless an election hinges around a Valley rail service or returning a light DMU service to the E&N, Horgan and the NDP, just like Wilkinson and the BC Liberals, will happily spend billions on FastFerry style transit projects, designed to enrich politcal friends and insiders and to hell with the transit customer.

 

As SkyTrain Ages…………….

As predicted.

Yesterday, SkyTrain went ka-put, once again.

SkyTrain needs a massive refurbishment, about $3 billion infusion is needed to make it dependable again.

But, there is only so much money for transit projects, so the $3 billion Broadway subway and the $2.5 billion Surrey LRT get spending priority.

The result, no proper maintenance; unreliable service; and higher taxes to pay for this museum piece.

Translink’s and its CEO utter disregard for the fare paying customers is appalling and their lack of honesty, downright damning.

The transit customer in Metro Vancouver deserve better than this clown car.

SkyTrain trouble: Expect major delays on Expo Line this morning

Update: TransLink say the switch problem plaguing Expo Line service this morning has been and normal service is resuming.

Updated: June 8, 2018

Update: TransLink say the switch problem plaguing Expo Line service this morning has been and normal service is resuming.


A switch issue at Nanaimo Station is causing significant delays for people traveling on Expo Line during rush hour this morning.

TransLink says Expo Line trains are single tracking between Nanaimo and Stadium Station using Eastbound platforms.

Passengers are being told they can expect a minimum 45-minute delay.

TransLink says they are working on a bus bridge to help with passenger loads between Nanaimo and Stadium Stations. The bus bridge is for westbound travelers only.

“Due to a switch problem near Commercial-Broadway Stn, single tracking is in effect. This means trains are traveling in both directions alternating through on one side of the guideway. Service is still available, but trains are much less frequent than normal,” TransLink said in a release.

Millennium and Canada Line service is not impacted.

MORE TO COME

PEOPLE NOT HAPPY ABOUT THIS

Be thankful you don’t work for on the transit authority’s social media team this morning, because @TransLink is getting hammered on Twitter.

 

Some Smart People Out There, Not Here Apparently……

In Europe, transportation needs are designed to meet the needs of transit customers.

In BC, transportation needs are designed to further political careers and money laundering.

Example: The $3 billion Broadway SkyTrain subway, being built on a transit route which has peak hour traffic flows under 4,000 pphpd!

Who is the subway being built for?

Politicians to cut ribbons at election time?

Land developers and land speculators who are assembling properties so council will up-zone them to higher densities?

Overseas criminal gangs who want to invest their casino laundered drug money in Vancouver’s housing market, via the Vancouver Model?

We can build very affordable rail transit on many routes in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, the Okanagan, and Vancouver Island, but it seems both the BC Liberal party and the NDP just don’t give a dam, as they just want to cut ribbons.

Modern light diesel rail-cars in operation on a lightly used line in Germany

 

Reopening of two Franco-German cross-border lines proposed

Written byA� Keith Fender

The bridge over the Rhine at Wintersdorf was converted for road and rail use, but trains no longer use it. The bridge over the Rhine at Wintersdorf was converted for road and rail use, but trains no longer use it. Keith Fender

STUDIES are to commence soon on reopening two cross-border lines between southwestern Germany and eastern France. The lines would support new services as well as increase operating flexibility in the event of disruption on the one side of the border, as happened at Rastatt, Germany, last year.

The Pamina Euro-district, which brings together several German local authorities in both Rheinland Pfalz and Baden WA?rttemberg plus the Grand Est Region, DA�partement Bas-Rhin and town of Hagenau in France, has agreed to undertake a feasibility study into the re-opening of the railway between Rastatt, Germany, and Hagenau, France. The line could be used by a new SaarbrA?cken – Hagenau – Rastatt – Karlsruhe passenger service as well as a diversionary route for freight traffic.The 7km section from Rastatt to Wintersdorf, beside the Rhine, still exists and is owned by Karlsruhe area tram-train operator AVG. In France a short section remains in use to serve industrial sidings near the Rhine at Beinheim, but the 21.8km RA�schwoog – Hagenau section is disused and would need to be completely rebuilt. The old railway bridge across the Rhine is still in use as a road bridge, for cars and light vans. Two options are possible: reconstruction for rail use or construction of a new bridge.Pamina also wants to reopen the Freiburg – Breisach – Colmar line around 100km to the south. While there are lines on both side of the Rhine, the cross-border section no longer exists so a new river crossing would be required.
Pamina plans to seek funding for the studies from the European Uniona��s Interreg programme which exists to stimulate cross-border cooperation and is funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

A rural German passenger rail line, not unlike the Fraser Valley or the E&N.

Mobility Pricing -TransLink’s Desperate Ploy.

Mobility pricing, TransLink’s desperate ploy to hide their inept planning to date.

TransLink happily spends twice or three times more for “rail” transit than they should. TransLink also spends at least 60% more operation “rail” transit than they should.

The result, large deficits operating the transit system, requiring large subsidies to pay for the large deficits.

The dishonesty of TransLink and its CEO knows no bounds as recently, Kevin Desmond, repeated the old saw that “SkyTrain pays its operating costs”.

Newsflash Mr. Desmond, the GVRD in 1992, blew that myth out of the water by releasing the annual subsidy for SkyTrain Expo Line, a massive $157 million annually. Put another way, just the Expo Line cost taxpayers more to operate than the combined diesel and electric buses!

Also it should be of note, that TransLink, like BC Transit before did not apportion fares from bus and SkyTrain, which is important as over 80% of SkyTrain customers first take the bus!

This dishonesty by TransLink and its CEO has kept the public in the dark about the true costs of SkyTrain and as new lines are built, the subsidies increases with each new transit line built. Today, including the fake P-3 Canada Line which costs TransLink around $110 million annually, the total subsidy to operate SkyTrain light metro system exceeds $400 million annually!

TransLink can no longer hide this hemorrhage of cash and with the $3 billion Broadway subway, with its added $40 million annual operating costs (and not including debt servicing costs) TransLink either goes bankrupt or engages into a new revenue source.

Mobility pricing is TransLink’s desperate gamble to once again hide the real costs of the SkyTrain mini-metro from the public.

Metro Vancouver mobility pricing could cost up to $8 per day per family: report

Jennifer Saltman Jennifer Saltman

Drivers could end up paying an average of between $3 and $8 per day to get around Metro Vancouver if decongestion charging is introduced in the region.

The cost estimates were in a report presented by the Mobility Pricing Independent Commission to a joint meeting of TransLinkai??i??s Mayorsai??i?? Council and board of directors on Thursday.

The report caused concern for a number of the regionai??i??s mayors, who called it a good start and agreed the conversation needs to take place, but worried that mobility pricing would not be fair or affordable for residents.

ai???Going through the report, definitely some of the charges that are talked about here are definitely up there and certainly are going to catch peopleai??i??s attention,ai??? said New Westminster Mayor Jonathan CotAi??, who described mobility pricing as a difficult, complex and controversial issue.

Itai??i??s been proposed that mobility pricing could pay for transit and transportation improvements in the region, replace the declining gas tax and deal with traffic gridlock.

The commission looked at two options for decongestion charging, both of which could reduce congestion by 20 to 25 per cent.

One option is congestion point charges, where drivers are charged when they pass a certain location ai??i?? including bridges ai??i?? and complemented by further charges at locations on the Burrard Peninsula.

Based on early analysis, a regional congestion point charge would cost the average driving household $5 to $8 per day, or $1,800 to $2,700 per year. This option would see the regional gas tax, which is 17 cents per litre, remain in place so that people who donai??i??t cross tolled points would still contribute to paying for transportation.

The capital cost to establish congestion point charges would be in the $150 million to $300 million range, with annual operating costs of $110 million to $200 million. Itai??i??s estimated it could bring in annual net revenues in the range of $1.1 billion to $1.5 billion.

The other decongestion pricing option is distance-based charges that vary by time and location, meaning drivers would be charged for each kilometre they drive, but the amount would vary depending on where they go and at what time.

The analysis shows that a multi-zone distance-based charge could cost the average driving household $3 to $5 per day, or $1,000 to $1,700 per year. Fuel tax could be eliminated under this option.

The exact number and boundaries of zones are still to be determined, but for the purpose of analysis eight zones were identified.

Capital costs ai??i?? which include on-board units for all Metro Vancouver vehicles ai??i?? could be in the range of $400 million to $700 million, with annual operating costs between $300 million and $500 million. If capital costs are annualized over 7.5 years, itai??i??s expected that annual net revenue would be in the range of $1 billion to $1.6 billion.

The report priced out some typical trips within the region.

For instance, travelling between South Surrey and Coquitlam would cost between $3.54 and $5.30 under cost-point charges at peak time, and 75 cents to $1.11 off peak. The same trip under distance-based charging would cost $5.20 to $7.48 at peak or 64 to 96 cents off peak.

In comparison, when the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges were tolled, a person commuting from Surrey to Coquitlam paid $6.30 per day if they crossed the Port Mann Bridge twice.

Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read pointed out that there is a problem with equitable access to transit in some parts of Metro Vancouver, and that should be dealt with before mobility pricing.

ai???I think thereai??i??s a long way to go and, for me, I really need to use this opportunity to exercise a lot of caution because for people in the eastern part of the region this is a really, really concerning next conversation that we have to have,ai??? she said.

Delta Mayor Lois Jackson said she was also concerned about commuters ai???on the outer fringes of this region.ai???

ai???I know the commission has looked at this aspect of fairness and equity and I think we have to continue to look at that,ai??? Jackson said.

Kris Sims, B.C. director for the Canadian Federation of Taxpayers, called decongestion pricing ai???a non-starterai??? for the regionai??i??s residents.

ai???They just actually donai??i??t have the money for this,ai??? Sims said. ai???I was encouraged to see some of the mayors throwing cold water on this idea.ai???

Sims said she was skeptical that other taxes, such as the gas tax, would be eliminated or reduced with the introduction of mobility pricing.

CotAi?? said there does need to be more work done in the area of tax shifting.

ai???The commissionai??i??s report highlights a real need to talk about the elimination of the gas tax if this is something that we are going to be considering, and a whole host of other taxes that may not be as directly related to transportation that could ultimately be replaced,ai??? he said.

The report also put forward 13 principles for guiding mobility pricing policy around congestion, fairness, how transportation investment is supported, and other considerations.

The Mayorsai??i?? Council and board voted to share the report with the federal and provincial governments and referred it to staff for more research and follow up on the commissionai??i??s work.

They also asked TransLink to continue consulting the public and stakeholders on the proposal.

However, itai??i??s not anticipated that mobility pricing is imminent. The report itself states that it will take four to seven years to implement, if it makes it that far.

The political will to pursue mobility pricing may be difficult to find.

ai???It is not for the faint of heart politically, and we recognize that,ai??? said Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner. ai???I think that the better educated we can be both at local government and with our provincial government partners ai??i?? and even at the federal level ai??i?? the easier whatever transition to mobility pricing becomes.ai???

On Twitter, B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson said that while he appreciated the work the commission did, ai???This proposal is unaffordable and the wrong direction for British Columbians. I canai??i??t support this and I hope (Premier John Horgan) wonai??i??t either.ai???

In a statement, B.C. Green party spokesperson for transportation Adam Olsen said that because it a political minefield, there needs to be provincial leadership on the issue.

ai???Our team is closely analyzing this report and will continue to engage with local governments and British Columbians to determine the best path forward,ai??? he said. ai???We will keep pressure on government and continue to work collaboratively with them to fulfil our shared commitments on transit, climate and affordability.

jensaltman@postmedia.com

The full page from the GVRD's Cost of Transporting people......