Why Can’t Translink Plan For Affordable LRT?

While Surrey’s proposed LRT is topping $100 million/km to build, in Europe new LRT lines are being built much cheaper. In Weisbaden, their new LRT is pegged at $24.5 million/km to build!

Analysis: Fire the Surrey LRT planning team and hire people that actually know what they are doing.

WEISBADEN, a city in west-central Germany with a population of 288,000, is making plans to build its first light rail (modern tramway) line, the “metro report international” site reports:

<https://tinyurl.com/hdmfr8h>

Light rail plans progress in Wiesbaden

17 Feb 2017

GERMANY: The municipality of Wiesbaden has approved €3·4m (CAD $4.72 million) ​of preliminary planning work for the city’s first tram route.

The Land of Hessen is providing €465, 000 (CAD $646, 303)​

.

When complete, the Citybahn light rail line would link Wiesbaden to the existing metre gauge tram network in the neighbouring city of Mainz at one end, and to the tourist-oriented Aartalbahn that runs north from Wiesbaden at the other.

The 12·2 km ​(7.5 mile) ​first phase, estimated to cost €165m (CAD $299, 350 million)​, would connect Hochschule Rhein-Main in the north of Wiesbaden with Theodor-Heuss-Brücke to the south.

In Canadian funds, construction would cost $24.5 million/km to build!

Further phases would see the mostly single-track Aartalbahn converted from 1 435 mm

​(standard) ​to 1 000 mm (meter) ​gauge over the 15 km (9.3 miles) ​

between Bad Schwalbach and Chausseehaus, from where a new alignment would take the tram line to Otto-Wels-Straße in Wiesbaden.

Here the Citybahn alignment would be met by a branch from Hermann-Brill-Straße, then serve Wiesbaden Hauptbahnhof and Ostbahnhof.

Crossing the Rhein on the existing road bridge, the route would then continue for 2·5 km

​(1.5 miles) ​to reach the existing Mainz tram network at Mainz Hbf West. It is envisaged that Citybahn services would run as far as Mainz Hochschule.

Light Rail Denial And TransLink

There seems to be a general naivete about Light Rail or LRT in the media, due in part to TransLink’s war on LRT, with their well advertised preference for light-metro.

Today, except for “niche transit” solutions, public transport is divided into three modes, bus, tram, and metro; with each mode built to economically deal with traffic flows on an individual transit route. Transit is to move people, not to subsidize development, a grand mistake being made by TransLink, the Ministry of Transportation and the Mayors Council on Transit.

Generally, buses can deal with traffic flows up to 6,000 to 7,000 persons per hour per direction; trams (LRT) can economically cater to traffic flows from 2,000 pphpd to over 20,000 pphpd; and metro with traffic flows exceeding 15,000 pphpd.

Though some pundits point to Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in South America as a solution. BRT in South America operates on multi-lane highways, many using three section articulated buses (greatly restricted use in Canada due to Transport Canada rules) and are sustained by very cheap wages paid, compared to Canada. There is no comparison.

LRT is built as an economic mode on heavily used transit routes because one modern tram (1 tram driver) is as efficient as four to six buses (4 to 6 bus drivers) and for every bus or tram operated one needs four or more people to drive, manage and maintain them. The modern tram can remain in service for over forty years, while the average bus lasts only fifteen years in revenue service; the scale of savings can easily seen in a long term business plan.

Modern LRT is nothing more than modern trams (the European term for streetcar), which today, have capacities of 250 persons or more, operating on a dedicated or “reserved” rights-of-way. A “reserved” rights-of-way can be as simple as a HOV lane with rails or as elaborate as a lawned, park like route.

Properly built, trams drives down operating costs of a transit system.

 

                                                  
From Siemens a 1980′s ad for LRT
​Currently, Metro Vancouver operates both unconventional and conventional light metro, which needs scores of bus lines to feed the light metro customers, this drives up costs because automatic light-metro is more expensive to maintain, as are the buses.
As most light-metro’s today, including our SkyTrain system operate “driverless’ metros, the mode has very high operating costs, even though it has no drivers, there are over 170 full time attendants to see to trouble free operation, as well as TransLink’s use of very expensive to maintain transit police. Light-metro stations are also expensive to maintain, with extra power needed to operate escalators and elevators which alone are very expensive to maintain, with annual maintenance costs now over $6 million annually. Just the Expo Line costs about 60% more to operate than comparable LRT operations.
Maintenance to the grade separated guide-way and subway sections also increase costs as does the maintenance needed to keep the automatic system operating as stoppages are catastrophic to the transit customer.Light metro drives up the cost of transit.

 

There is a a long time myth that is often repeated that SkyTrain pays it s operating costs out of fares. This is completely untrue as GVRD’s 1993 study “The Cost of Transportation in the Lower Mainland, clearly shows a $157.63 million subsidy paid to just the Expo Line, with more SkyTrain having been built since, this subsidy has greatly increased.

 

From the Cost of Transportation in the BC Lower Mainland – GVRD

It is no surprise that LRT made light-metro obsolete decades ago, yet the SkyTrain/light-metro lobby keep denying the truth. The SkyTrain Lobby act as a latter day “Cargo Cult“.

Metros are only built when traffic flows along a transit route exceed 15,000 pphpd, where long trains and station with long platforms make at-grade operation very difficult and/or impossible and the transit line needs to be grade separated either in a subway or elevated on a viaduct. By their very nature, metro are extremely expensive to operate and maintain.

Since the ALRT/ART SkyTrain light metro was first marketed, only seven have been built, with only three seriously used for regional public transit; Vancouver, Toronto, and Kuala Lumpor. One, the Detroit (mugger) people mover is a demonstration line; two, JFK and Beijing are airport people movers and one in Korea is a theme park people mover which has the ability to run only single car trains. Toronto’s life expired ICTS system is going to be torn down in the near future and replaced by a metro or LRT or a combination of both.

There is really no such thing as “rapid transit” or “mass transit” as they are a catch all phrases used by people to describe anything other than a bus. Beware of those who say rapid transit can do this or mass transit can do that because, in most cases the transit line is built to suit political and bureaucratic needs and not the customer needs and in most cases, achieves very little.

A good example is our own light-metro network that despite around $10 billion invested, mode share by car in the region has remained at around 57%, for over 20 years.

In Europe, a new LRT or tram line is not built unless many conditions are met, including a minimum modal shift of 20% from car to transit, thus it is imperative that new tram line must meet a transit customer’s needs.

Today, there are close to six hundred transit systems around the world that are in the light rail family and the mode is the first choice of transit planners in providing affordable transit solutions for mobility troubled cities.

 

         Modular trams can grow with ridership


Today, modern trams are extremely versatile:

  1. Low-floor trams are 100% accessible by the mobility impaired without the need of expensive lifts, elevators, and escalators to operate and maintain.
  2. The industry standard for trams climbing grades is 8%, though trams can easily handle 10% grades. In Lisbon, their heritage trams climb grades of 13.8%.
  3. Modern modular trams can grow with ridership, thus saving on initial start up costs and new modules can be added when needed
  4. The “reserved” rights-of-way and priority signalling at intersections enables trams to obtain commercial speeds of that of metros.
  5. Today, trams can operate as streetcars in mixed traffic; as light rail on dedicated rights-of-ways; and regional commuter trains, operating on mainline railway tracks, all on one route.
  6. Trams are interchangeable, as one companies tram will work with another companies tram in a coupled set, which is impossible with light-metro.
  7. Historic or heritage trams, restaurant trams, or special use rental trams (weddings, etc.) can be used in with regular service, which is a boon to the tourist industry.
  8. In Dresden, German, special cargo trams were used, carrying standard containers, which helps keeping diesel trucks off city streets. Service has now been discontinued due to factory closure.
  9. Construction costs range from as low as $5 million per km. for TramTrain or as high or higher than SkyTrain if the tram is built as a light metro like in Seattle, Washington or even operate as a metro.

Lawned rights-of-way and simple station

 

Both of TransLink’s major transit projects are “vanity” projects and both will be very expensive for what they will do. The Broadway subway is being built on a route with traffic flows well under 5,000 pphpd, less than one third the traffic flows needed for a subway, which makes Broadway a candidate for LRT and not a subway.

Surrey’s proposed LRT is nothing more than a poor man’s SkyTrain, designed to feed that already at capacity SkyTrain light-metro system and seemingly designed for failure!

Both projects, the Broadway subway at about $360 million/km to build and the LRT at an astonishing $100 million to build are hugely expensive, yet as built will not reduce traffic congestion, while at the same time drive up the cost of transit in the region!

If the chief goal of LRT development in Surrey is to extend to Langley, there is a much cheaper way in connecting Langley to the Expo Line and that is a diesel multiple unit (DMU) service from Langley to Scott Road Station (via Cloverdale, Johnston Road; King George Highway; and Scott Road) to Scott Road Station. Such a service could be had for under $10 million/km., using Transport Canada approved DMU’s.

This of course makes many at TransLink apprehensive and uneasy as it comes very close in duplicating the Rail for the Valley group’s Leewood Study for the reinstatement of the Vancouver to Chilliwack interurban, only using modern signalling and vehicles. As per the 2010 Leewod study, we could connect. Scott Road Station to Chilliwack for about $500 million; a Vancouver to Chilliwack service would cost about $1 billion.



The Kassel Regiotram TramTrain, enables quality public transit to each lightly populated areas.

I find extremely disturbing that many who complain about light rail are ill informed about LRT and I also find it shocking that many who plan for LRT in the region are equally ill informed about the mode.

The five faux arguments against modern LRT are:

  1. LRT is slow. No, LRT operating in urban areas has stops or stations every 500 metre to 600 metre apart, optimizing customer demand and as such, tends to have lower commercial speeds than comparable metro stations which has stops every kilometre or more, which generally increases total commute times, due longer times to access stations. The maximum speed that LRT or light-metro can operate is about 90 kph.
  2. LRT causes havoc at intersections. No, LRT must adhere to all signals pertaining to intersections and if a tram driver passes a red light and causes an accident, he would be charged criminally and lose his job, while a car driver who ignores a red light and causes an accident, merely gets his wrist slap. Adding ‘red light cameras’ to LRT/road intersections will greatly reduce accidents. U.S. studies show that LRT/road intersections are about ten times safer than road/road intersections.
  3. LRT is expensive to operate. No, the opposite is true, it is light-metro that is expensive to operate.
  4. You need more density to build with LRT. No, this argument is based on the B.C. Crown Corporation’s Secretariat’s appraisal of SkyTrain light-metro and erroneously classified LRT as the same as SkyTrain, as rapid transit.
  5. LRT does not have capacity. No, light rail is able carry more people than light-metro. Presently the Expo Line is at capacity, carrying around 15,000 pphpd in peak times; the Canada line, with trains and platforms half the length of the Expo and Millennium Lines, has effectively half the capacity. Light rail, as noted above can handle over 20,000 pphpd if need be.

 



A comparison of Ottawa’s new LRT and Vancouver’s SkyTrain.

 

If the Metro Vancouver region wants an affordable public transit alternative to the car, it must abandon all planning for subways and light-metro, as the huge costs involved to build, operate and maintain light-metro greatly increases the cost of ‘rail’ transit, while at the same time, giving the region and customer an expensive and user unfriendly transit system, that will do little to alleviate traffic congestion and pollution in the region. It is the failure of light-metro, in part, that is driving the province into building new bridges and highways to accommodate the expected traffic increases, because the regional transit system is deemed little more than a conveyance for the poor, the elderly and students.

The following quote from American transportation consultant and transit expert, Gerald fox, sums up TransLink’s problem; ” But, eventually, Vancouver will need to adopt lower-cost LRT in its lesser corridors, or else limit the extent of its rail system. And that seems to make some TransLink people very nervous.”

 

The Return Of The Branch Line – Can You Say E&N, RftV?

Most railway enthusiasts in the UK treat Beeching as a leper. In fact, Beeching predicted the end of local railways altogether, leaving the UK with just three or four trunk lines, connecting major cities by the 21st century.

This is not to argue that rationalization should not have taken place, but to tear up the UK’s newest Railway the Great Central, built to continental standards, is on par with Gordon Campbell’s selling of BC Rail.

BC has several rail lines that could support a service using cheaper rail-cars, such as the E&N; the former BCE interurban from Vancouver to Chilliwack and a few lines in the interior.

The problem is simply “blacktop” politics practiced by dishonest politico’s and enabled by equally dishonest planners and engineers – all to win votes from gullible voters.

What would Dr Beeching say? New generation of ‘no-frills trains’ will open up little-used lines that have been closed since his controversial 1960s review’

  • Train lines closed in 1960s under Dr Beeching report could be reopened
  • Plans drawn up for new lightweight vehicles in £4million railway project
  • Said to cost around £500,000 each, half the price of standard diesel engines

By Joseph Curtis For Mailonline

Published: 12 February 2017

Train lines closed under the controversial ‘Dr Beeching’ cuts are set to be re-opened and serviced by ‘no-frills’ trains.

It is understood a £4milion trial will be launched within the next two years using cheap, low-speed trains built from ‘lightweight’ materials.

And the new vehicles could be trialled on the Northern Rail network between Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle.

Transport Design International have come up with plans for new lightweight trains that could cut costs and lead to railways closed by Dr Beeching in the 1960s being reopened

Transport Design International have come up with plans for new lightweight trains that could cut costs and lead to railways closed by Dr Beeching in the 1960s being reopened

The new technology could see some of 5,000 miles of disused track opened again after it was originally closed in Dr Richard Beeching’s review in the 1960s, when he was chairman of British Railways.

According to The Times, rail bosses say the trains will be manufactured at ‘half the cost’ of an existing carriage and be smaller than a standard bus.

The project is set to be funded by both the Department for Transport and the Rail Safety and Standards Board, with the new trains also said to cause less damage to tracks.

It is believed the trains will be constructed out of a mixture of aluminium, steel and carbon fibre and be around 60ft long, although they could be reduced to just 30ft long.

They will weigh around 28tonnes compared to the 50tonne weight of a normal carriage when full.

The Times claims the trains will be powered by 3.8-litre diesel-hybrid engines and reach speeds of between 50mph-70mph. They will cost around £500,000 each, which is half the price of a regular diesel train.

One of the firms behind the plan is Transport Design International, which is believed to be working alongside the University of Warwick and Unipart Rail.

Dr Richard Beeching, right, recommended shutting thousands of miles of rural train lines in the 1960s, leading to much criticism

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Dr Richard Beeching, right, recommended shutting thousands of miles of rural train lines in the 1960s, leading to much criticism

A statement on TDI’s website said: ‘The underlying concept is to be able to offer a bespoke design and supply service to customers in potentially ‘one-off’ or niche applications where conventional light rail is inappropriate.

‘It involves providing lighter weight, smaller capacity and consequently lower cost vehicles and infrastructure than would otherwise be affordable and allows rails be laid over existing services if necessary, without the need to relocate them.’

The statement added: ‘Sometimes called ‘ultra light or ‘very light’ rail, these unique trains can be built to narrow or ‘standard gauge’ as required, either as single, bi-directional vehicle (with an option to have a cab at both ends) or as multiple unit consists.

‘Internal layouts and aesthetics can be varied to suit individual needs and the ratio of seated and standing accommodation adjusted.’

A prototype version is expected to be ready within the next 18 months.

But the lightweight design will mean the trains can only operate on lines not used by heavy trains.

According to The Times, the news has been welcomed by passenger groups.

Stephen Joseph, of Campaign for Better Transport, said: ‘One of the things that bedevils plans to reopen old lines is cost so this has potential to really make a positive difference.’

Nick Mallinson, of Warwick Manufacturing Group, told the paper: ‘Lots of lines that Beeching closed could benefit from this. A lot of councils are saying they want to reopen them.’

MailOnline has contacted the Department for Transport for comment.

DR BEECHING: HERO OR VILLAIN OF BRITAIN’S RAILWAYS?
Dr Beeching, pictured, has been branded a villain by many but others have claimed his recommended cuts were necessary

Dr Beeching, pictured, has been branded a villain by many but others have claimed his recommended cuts were necessary

Dr Beeching is synonymous with the mass destruction of Britain’s rail network.

His famous report, Reshaping The British Railways, which led to a massive programme of track and station closures.

Dr Beeching’s report identified 2,363 stations — one-third of those in the network — and around 6,000 miles of track to be closed.

His proposal sparked outrage from commuters, local councils and the trade unions, who were appalled at the talk of 70,000 job losses.

But others have called Dr Beeching was a courageous man who forced the railways to face up to commercial realities.

By 1961, when Beeching launched his commission, the network was losing £140 million a year.

Battles between management and the unions were rife, and led to a rail strike in 1955 which lasted 17 days and so badly paralysed the country that the Government had to call a state of emergency.

For all the blame heaped on him, he did not take the actual decisions on line closures.

That was done by transport ministers in the Tory and Labour Governments of the Sixties.

 

Bombardier Takes A Disruntled Customer To Court

Bombardier is late delivering new trams to Toronto, so Toronto’s Metrolinx threatened to cancel the contract.

The Federal Liberals just gave Bombardier Inc. a $372.5 million loan, so what does Bombardier do?

That’s right, sue Metrolinx because Bombardier cannot deliver trams as per contract.

Funny, I thought that money was to help Bombardier produce its goods and not sue disgruntled customers.

 

Bombardier taking Metrolinx to court

Legal gambit comes three months after Metrolinx signaled it could cancel a $770-million contract for light rail vehicles.

 

The LRV is to run on the Eglington Crosstown line.
The LRV is to run on the Eglington Crosstown line.  (Aaron Harris / for Toronto Star file photo)  
By Ben SpurrTransportation Reporter
Fri., Feb. 10, 2017

Bombardier is taking Metrolinx to court over the transit agency’s “threat” to cancel a $770-million contract for light rail vehicles.

According to a statement from Bombardier, the Quebec-based company filed an injunction against Metrolinx with the Ontario Superior Court on Friday.

The statement cited Metrolinx’s “unjustified threats to terminate our contract.”

“Bombardier has taken this action to protect our employees, protect our legal rights and to allow for the on-time delivery of light rail vehicles to the people of Toronto,” it said.

Metrolinx responded in a statement of its own, in which the provincially-owned transit agency said it was “disappointed” Bombardier had taken legal action.

“We have been frank in sharing our reservations about their ability to deliver vehicles on time and to a level of quality we expect,” the statement said.

“Bombardier’s focus should be on getting the all the vehicles delivered on schedule and with the quality expected, not on legal proceedings of this nature.”

Bombardier’s legal gambit comes three months after Metrolinx issued the company a notice of intention to cancel its contract for up to 182 light rail vehicles.

The two parties reached a deal in 2010 for Metrolinx to purchase the cars, which were to run on the Eglinton Crosstown, Finch West and other Toronto-area light rail lines.

But the order has been plagued by delays.

Bombardier has not yet delivered a pilot vehicle Metrolinx says was scheduled to arrive almost two years ago, and the transit agency has publicly expressed concerns about allowing any problems with the order to affect the opening of the Crosstown, which is scheduled for 2021.

In its statement, Bombardier blamed Metrolinx for the setbacks, asserting that the agency has changed the scope and technical specifications of the project “countless times.”

The company claimed the pilot vehicle was finished, but Metrolinx has refused to take delivery.

“The simple truth is (Bombardier is) fully capable of delivering its trains on time,” the statement said.

Bombardier has been unable to deliver vehicles for another Toronto project on schedule. The TTC has placed a $1-billion order with the company for 204 new streetcars, and the agency was supposed to have more than 100 of the vehicles on its property by now. Bombardier delivered the 31st of these this month.

Earlier this week, the federal government agreed to give Bombardier a $372.5-million interest free loan.

The money is intended to support the company’s aerospace division, which has struggled with delays and cost overruns on its CSeries passenger jet program.

 

For more >>>>>>

Even Your Auditor General Seems To Have Done His Sums On The Back Of Envelopes

Let us hearken back to the days of yesteryear and remember Zwei’s take on the AG’s audit of the Evergreen Line was.

SkyTrain cheaper than LRT, not a chance unless it was deliberately designed to be so!

As one overseas expert succinctly put it; “”Even your Auditor General seems to have done his sums on the back of envelopes.”

March 28, 2013

March 29, 2013

April 18, 2013

May 24, 2013

Sadly, the AG’s office was mislead about light rail and still refuses to admit they were wrong

We’ve released a progress audit on changes made since our 2013 report, Audit of the Evergreen Line Rapid Transit System.

 

Since 2013, Partnerships BC and the Ministries of Transportation and Infrastructure, and Finance have been working to implement the seven recommendations from our original report. We reviewed their progress and found that they have fully implemented five of the seven recommendations.

 

All three organizations have taken steps to better document project reviews and analysis, and the Evergreen Line project team has developed a performance management plan that details how the Line’s performance will be measured against the project’s original goals.

 

The first outstanding recommendation concerns government’s Capital Asset Management Framework, and recommends that the Ministry of Finance implement a plan to improve guidance for future projects. While the ministry has made updates to the framework, the ones that will address our recommendation are included in its project plan, but have not yet been implemented.

 

The other outstanding recommendation targets the due diligence around developing and reviewing business cases for projects. Partnerships BC and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure have completed their work, and once the Ministry of Finance reviews project planning and approval guidelines, we will likely consider the recommendation fully completed.

 

We will continue to monitor the Ministry of Finance’s progress.

 

There should always be complete information about the costs, benefits and risks to be managed when making decisions about capital projects. This is especially true for high-cost, large-scale projects like the Evergreen Line.

 

Our original audit looked at the quality of information provided to Treasury Board while planning the Evergreen Line. We expected to find more evidence of due diligence from government agencies, and that Treasury Board received more information given the large scale and the $1.43 billion cost of the project.

 

Watch our short audio/visual summary of this report.

 

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Canada Line Ka-Put For Evening Rush Again! – CEO Kevin Desmond Must Resign!

Twice in three days, the Canada Line has called it quits during Monday’s evenings rush hour. Snow, again is the culprit, but really, that excuse is wearing thin.

By world standards, it isn’t a lot of snow that has fallen (1 cm per hour) and with trains every three to five minutes crossing the bridge over the Fraser River, there should be no large accumulation of snow that would stop the metro.

Why is this $2.2 billion mini-metro not able to cross the bridge over the Fraser River when it snows?

In other jurisdictions, questions would have been asked in Parliament or legislature and demands made on operating authority to answer why this disruption is taking place.

But this is is a BC Liberal built mini-metro and the mainstream media remain mute, no questions are asked and the transit customer is once again treated like crap!

Translink’s total incompetence is breathtaking and again, TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond  must resign or be fired

 

Canada Line SkyTrain service delays, shuttle buses to come

Vancouver, BC, Canada / News Talk 980 CKNW | Vancouver’s News. Vancouver’s Talk
Posted: February 06, 2017

Canada Line SkyTrain service delays, shuttle buses to come

 

After a hold on trains at all Canada Line stations, some service is now resuming, but only between particular stations.

Service from Oakridge to Templeton, and Oakridge to Aberdeen is not running at this time.

TransLink says they’re in the process of assembling a bus shuttle service.

Expo and Millennium lines are unaffected, and are running normally.

Additional security and Transit Police are at the stations to ensure passenger safety and crowd control.

‘Very serious’ allegations over Scarborough subway debate referred to Ontario’s auditor general

I wonder if the same thing could happen in Metro Vancouver as well?

The AG’s office did a review of the Evergreen Line and it was fraught with misinformation and professional misconduct, sadly I doubt they could do an honest review of any transit project in BC.

Maybe we should invite Ontario’s AG to do an audit on TransLink’s Broadway SkyTrain subway and Surrey’s LRT?

‘Very serious’ allegations over Scarborough subway debate referred to auditor general

Complaint from residents, transit advocacy group is at ‘its core” about alleged wrongdoing of public service, watchdog says

By JENNIFER PAGLIAROCity Hall reporter
Sat., Feb. 4, 2017

A city watchdog is recommending referral of a complaint of alleged wrongdoing by staff in the controversial Scarborough subway debate to the auditor general’s office, calling the allegations it contains “very serious.”

In a letter dated Jan. 24, Ombudsman Susan Opler told a group of residents their complaint was best submitted to the auditor general, who is responsible for investigating alleged wrongdoing by the public service.

The residents, backed by the transit advocacy group Scarborough Transit Action, filed the complaint Jan. 19 following a Star story over a misleading briefing note produced by the TTC in the midst of a controversial debate that saw council again approve a more than $3.2 billion one-stop subway extension over the alternative of light rail line fully paid for by the province.

Opler wrote that “at its core” the complaint appeared to be allegations against TTC CEO Andy Byford under the Toronto Public Service bylaw, according to the letter provided to the Star by the complainants.

While she said her office did not come to any conclusions about the “validity” of the allegations, Opler said it’s her opinion the allegations fall under the definition of “wrongdoing” in the bylaw, which is described as “serious actions that are contrary to the public interest,” including fraud and waste but also “breach of public trust.”

The bylaw makes the auditor general responsible to investigate such alleged wrongdoing.

“Those are very serious accusations that are being made there and if in fact those things, occurred would be a very serious matter and it would certainly be very much contrary to the public interest,” she said.

The Star has reported the briefing note — which was used by Tory’s office and allies to sway the vote — raised unanswered questions for which there were available answers.

Auditor General Beverly Romeo-Beehler said legislation gives her the power to evaluate “the quality of stewardship over public funds.”   (DAVID RIDER)

It also importantly presented a revised cost of the LRT, which put it in the same range as a subway. In a response to questions from Councillor Josh Matlow on the floor of council, Byford said he was “asked to provide” that comparison “for the same finish date as a subway” — that would seem to have inflated the numbers arbitrarily.

Byford, who has said he stands by what was written in the two-page briefing note, earlier told the Star he “cannot recall” who asked for that comparison.

The complainants wrote that with the commitment of billions to the subway project there has never been an “objective and complete comparison of costs, delivery dates and funding commitments from higher levels of government for the seven-stop LRT option.”

“At a time when there is increasingly limited funding allocated to basic services in Toronto, solid evidence-based decision-making must be used for all significant infrastructure spending.”

The public service bylaw came into force in December 2015.

Opler said she recognizes there is some confusion over the roles of the watchdog offices.

“I think many people think of the auditor general in the context of fraud and waste but the public service bylaw is very clear that council has also assigned to that office the responsibility for looking into wrongdoing,” she said, adding her office deals more with systems and processes of service to the public. “It’s not a question of giving anybody the runaround. We gave this complaint very serious consideration as to how it was appropriately and properly dealt with.”

She said referring the complaint in no way suggests the allegations are not worth investigating.

“In fact, it’s quite the contrary. Because these are very serious complaints that are being raised by members of the public, they need to be carefully and properly addressed.”

The group that made the complaint says they are still considering next steps after meeting with the ombudsman this week.

Auditor General Beverly Romeo-Beehler said in an email that she can’t speak to any specific complaint, but said legislation gives her the power to evaluate “the quality of stewardship over public funds.”

“This includes verifying that there is proper governance, management, care and control over the use of public funds.”

TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond Must Resign – Canada Line Chaos

Snow was predicted in Metro Vancouver 48 hours ago and today, when it snowed TransLink was completely unprepared!

Eighteen buses were involved in collisions on Friday, but that is not the story. It is what happened on the Canada Line in Friday’s afternoon rush that demonstrates total incompetence at TransLink and ultimately TransLink’s CEO Kevin Desmond must take blame.

My wife, who works in Vancouver takes transit daily and with today’s snow she was confident of a secure journey home with minimal delays due to weather.

Not with TransLink!

It took almost an hour for the Canada Line mini-metro to travel from Broadway Station to Marine Drive, with the train creeping along the route.

At Marine Drive Station, the train finally went ka-put and the customers were left on the train for 15 minutes, then forced onto the platform for a further 15 minutes. Ultimately TransLink  closed the station and forced customers onto the street, to join a now over a thousand passengers already chased from their trains and waiting for promised buses that never came.

Only two buses in 40 minutes arrive, with one being a small shuttle bus and they only went to the airport, no buses to Bridgeport station, the main transit hub! Brilliant!

Minor fights and scuffles were taking place on the buses as passengers crushed forward to escape the cold and snow.

During this time, almost one hour, no one from TransLink was around to control the mob and people were now in a lynching mood.

My wife escaped the ever growing ugly crowd on the small shuttle-bus to the airport to get warm, leaving the chaos and near riot at Marine Drive Station.

This should not have happened and the complete lack of any customer service,certainly indicates Translink’s management are completely out of touch and ultimately, TransLink’s new CEO Kevin Desmond must take full responsibility and he must resign.

Not only must Kevin Desmond resign, the entire senior management at BC Rapid Transit should be fired for sheer incompetence.

Addendum: CKNW Radio is reporting that TransLink is claiming a bus bridge is operating between Marine Drive and Bridgeport. It is a complete lie, there is no bus bridge, as witnessed by my wife. CEO Kevin Desmond must resign!

Update:

CKNW Radio

Light Rail for Dummies

Quote: “……..scrapping bike lanes to make way for diverted car traffic defeats the purpose of LRT

Exactly! To reduce congestion, one must reduce road space, but provide an attractive and affordable transit alternative.

LRT has proven to be that attractive and affordable alternative, something that TransLink and the Metro mayors have yet to learn.

LRT advocates torn over ‘extremely frustrating’ plan to eliminate bike lanes

Hamilton urbanists say scrapping bike lanes to make way for diverted car traffic defeats the purpose of LRT

By Samantha Craggs, CBC News Posted: Jan 30, 2017 5:44 PM ET

 

The city says LRT may require eliminating bike lanes along Dundurn Street North, and York Boulevard from Queen to Dundurn, as well as planned bike lanes along Main Street West. The green lines indicate alternate routes.

 

It’s a new frustration for Hamilton urbanists. After years of rallying, they’re finally getting their $1 billion light rail transit (LRT) system. But now the project is threatening their other prize — some of the lower city’s hard-won bicycle lanes.

‘It doesn’t make sense.’ - Dave Heidebrecht, chair, Cycle HamiltonCycling enthusiasts will speak up this month on a list of proposed bike lane losses to allow for LRT.

The current plan jeopardizes existing bike lanes along Dundurn Street North, and York Boulevard from Queen to Dundurn, as well as proposed bike lanes along Main Street West from Macklin to Cootes.

“It’s frustrating,” says Dave Heidebrecht, chair of Cycle Hamilton. (Courtesy of Dave Heidebrecht)

“It’s frustrating,” said Dave Heidebrecht, LRT supporter and chair of Cycle Hamilton. LRT and bike lanes are supposed to work together to encourage people to leave their cars at home. So removing bike lanes “doesn’t make sense.”

Ryan McGreal, editor of the urbanist blog Raise the Hammer, called the bike lane loss “extremely frustrating.” The traffic issues would be solved, he said, if the city made Main Street two way. (LRT traffic planners have said that’s not necessary.)

Cycle Hamilton is encouraging cyclists to make their voices heard. The city and Metrolinx will take feedback until Feb. 3.

‘This is not about throwing bike lanes out. What we said was we need to be up front. We need more lanes of traffic.’ - Paul Johnson, the city’s head of the LRT projectEven if some bike lanes disappear, Coun. Jason Farr said the city would try to replace them — on parallel side streets.

For Heidebrecht, it depends on how the city does that. The replacements would have to be at least as useful as the bike lanes are now. And he doesn’t want them to take years.

Paul Johnson, the city’s head of the LRT project, said the main portion in question is the York Boulevard and Dundurn area. Hamilton’s B-line LRT plan is primarily modeled on an environmental assessment from 2011, he said. The lanes deviate from that design.

‘We need more lanes for traffic’

“This is not about throwing bike lanes out,” he said. “What we said was we need to be up front. We need more lanes of traffic. We’re saying we need what it was in 2011.”

There are no plans to remove the Cannon bike lanes, implemented to much fanfare in 2014. “The current plan is we’re not recommending they need to come out for any traffic related to the LRT,” Johnson said.

City council’s LRT subcommittee voted Monday to add a stop at Bay Street, which will add about 50 seconds to the B-line route from McMaster University to the Queenston traffic circle.

Johnson isn’t sure what the additional stop will cost, or how it’ll fit into Metrolinx’s $1 billion budget. Construction will cost at least $2.5 million. That’s not including property acquisition.

The Hamilton Chamber of Commerce asked for a Bay Street stop. City council still has to approve the ask, and Metrolinx has to agree to it too.

User Freindly Transit Not Welcomed by TransLink

TransLink once had user friendly transit programs such as a “family free ride”, but friends of the government who act for lobbyists offering fare-gates and expensive fare card take priority.

In fact most transit authorities around the world have some sort of family program or another, especially on weekends when ridership is at its lowest.

The problem is simple, the Compass Card is not what it should be and has problems with bus and metro trips and would probably have a snit and shut down completely with family friendly fares.

And of course there are those pesky fare gates which sometimes force people to pay more than they should to take transit, which again be unable to cope with a user friendly family fare.

It’s the public that is paying the shot for TransLink, should not management ensure some small perks be available, especially for the poorer member of society who have mobility and monetary concerns?

TransLink, yesterday’s transit system, evolving into yesteryear’s transit service.

Factbender on the opening of the user unfriendly fare gates.

TransLink urged to restore family-free ride program

by Lindsay Howe

Posted Jan 23, 2017

The program was cancelled a couple of years ago

If an adult buys a monthly pass, they can bring another adult and up to four kids

NEW WESTMINSTER (NEWS 1130) – You may remember a time when if you bought a monthly adult transit pass — you could bring another adult and up to four children under the age of 13 along for the ride on Sundays and holidays for free. While that program was cancelled a couple of years ago, the Mayor of New Westminster says he wants to see it brought back.

“We want to do everything we can in our region to encourage people to use public transit. But the reality is when you’ve got a young family, and multiple children, transit can actually be quite costly,” says Mayor Jonathon Cote. “We should be developing our policies to make it more economically feasible for young families to actually use transit.”

Cotes says that with TransLink reviewing its fare policies this year, it’s the right time for people to bring up restoring the program.