Lies, damn lies, statistics and ART

From the “You’d better believe it” Department

Although sometimes attributed to Mark Twain ai??i?? because it appears in his posthumously-published Autobiography (1924) ai??i?? this should more properly be ascribed to Disraeli, as indeed Twain took trouble to do: his exact words being, ai???The remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: ai???There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statisticsai???.ai??i?? To which we can add a fourth, ART – Advanced Rapid Transit or LMRT – Light Metro Rapid Transit

A week or a month or three is a long time in politics and particularly where public transport is concerned; back then in April the final input from the public was being sought for the phase 2 UBC Rapid transit study.

Amongst all the BC bloggers, the TransLink ai??i?? SkyTrain appreciation society has been lobbying hard for the UBC Line/Millennium Line extensionincluding the controversial $4 billion SkyTrain subway under Broadway, the Evergreen Line to Port Moody and Coquitlam and the Expo line extension from King George Station in Surrey east to Guildford, then along 152 Street to the Fraser Highway to Langley Centre. Worried by the adverse news in the BC press on Translinkai??i??s funding crisis and the hits that the Canada & Evergreen Lines are taking from commentators, journalists, BC Mayors & MLAai??i??s and tax payers, they are retaliating with desperate measures and bizarre plans.

This YouTube video for the Sky Trolley is the latest: and also


Has all the disadvantages of traditional BRT systemsAi?? low capacity compared to other systems, combined with almost none of the advantages of traditional BRT.


A?Ai?? High initial cost

A?Ai?? Massive support column

A?Ai?? Difficult maintenance

A?Ai?? Stations are very small

A?Ai?? Visably intrusive

Doomed to failure, this one is.

The point made about capacity vs light rail is also a bare faced lie – you are quite restricted in the length of train because of the sheer length of the platform lift, and you can’t run two trains closer than you can lower the platform, empty it, fill it, and lift it back up again. Trams can be run virtually nose to tail (e.g. Melbourne).

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,

Hamlet, Act 3 Scene 1


One Response to “Lies, damn lies, statistics and ART”
  1. Evil Eye says:

    Here, here! There is a cadre of transit supporters who blindly believe the more complicated a transit system is, the better it is. This is why we are in the financial crisis we are in as we spend two times, three times, ten times more for transit projects than we should. It is not that we are not spending enough money on transit, it is that SkyTrain is literally sucking in more money than we can afford.

    The result will be ever escalating taxes for an obsolete and decrepit transit system.