The latest Transit Study – initial reaction from Rail For the Valley

The latest Transit Study for the Fraser Valley (the one that cost $400,000 and promised to look at the Interurban) has finally been released by the Provincial government, almost a year late, and right before Christmas.
We never held out much hope for this study, seeing as its scope was limited to the FVRD and did not include Langley and Surrey. We saw it as a delaying tactic. (Thankfully, we now have the Leewood Study to look to, a professional study done by a reputable firm with an expertise in light rail, that recommends early implementation of Interurban light rail to achieve the greatest benefits.)
It does not seem like a coincidence that the latest governmental study was released just a week before Christmas. It is a completely biased report (even exceeding my expectations of its bias), severely flawed in its analysis of the Interurban corridor, that was likely released now in the hope it would escape crtitical analysis due to the coming holiday season.
Rail For the Valley will present a detailed reaction to this latest study in the New Year. Below is today's Media Release, giving you just a taste of what's wrong with the report.
In the meanwhile, wishing all of our readers a happy holiday season, Merry Christmas  and all the best for the New Year!
Budapest Christmas Tram

Rail For the Valley Media Release: 
For immediate release

Rail For the Valley will present a detailed reaction to the latest Transit Study in the New Year in the form of a major media release, following further scrutiny of the data. Some initial quotes below:

Rail For the Valley's initial reaction to the latest Transit Study released by the provincial government is that it is strongly biased against light rail, and severely flawed in its analysis of the Interurban corridor.

"By digging a little under the surface, one discovers shockingly that the report is actually assuming a regional bus service would attract more than triple the number of passengers of an equivalent light rail service. That's more than a little hard to believe given that there are few cases where buses attract equal let alone greater ridership."
-Dr. John Buker, Rail For the Valley

( Projected boardings per day for daily Interurban service between Abbotsford and Chilliwack is put at a maximum of 250 passengers. [6800 daily boardings for a hypothetical Chilliwack-Surrey Interurban service, minus 6550 boardings for an Abbotsford-Surrey service, gives an upper bound on the number of passengers travelling between Abbotsford and Chilliwack of 250. Table 3.17, Foundation Paper #4]

However, when the report looks at the equivalent "Express Bus" service between Abbotsford and Chilliwack, with the same travel time (30 minutes) and the same frequency of service (30/60 minutes peak/off-peak), a very different number is arrived at: 800 boardings. [Table 3.6, Foundation Paper #4]

This example provides the most direct opportunity for an "equivalent trip" (same travel time, same frequency) Bus/Rail comparison, but it is to be assumed that the same methodologies are used to calculate ridership throughout the report.)

"There are some nice ideas presented of enhanced local bus service which deserve a closer look, but the hard truth is it is extremely doubtful that ridership will be high enough to sustain these levels of services without a light rail backbone. If the Fraser Valley can support hourly, or even half-hourly, regional bus service, it can also support light rail, whose operating costs over the lifetime of the vehicles tend to actually be lower, when all costs are taken into account."

-Dr. John Buker, Rail For the Valley

Detailed reaction to the report will be presented by Rail For the Valley in early January.


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