A Conflict of Interest – The Broadway Subway

TransLink, unfortunately digs very deep holes for itself and Mr. Chris exposes what they want the public to believe as fact, is in fact pure invention.


There are two points I would like to explore, from Mr. Chris’s letter , posted on this blog on November 18.

In 1986, the Light Rail Transit Association defined LRT thus:

LRT is a transit mode that can economically cater to traffic flows of 2,000 to 20,000 persons per hour, thus effectively  bridging the gap between the maxim flow of what buses can carry and that of a heavy-rail metro.

TransLink’s SNC and Steer-Davies-Gleave Study deliberately dumbs down the capacity for LRT for the Broadway, by claiming that light rail’s assumed capacity along Broadway varies between 5,800 to 7,200 persons per hour per direction, while at the same time put the assumed capacity of a Skytrain subway at 13,000 pphpd.


In Ottawa, Alstom put the capacity of a coupled set of Citadis trams at 600 persons and at 3 minute headway’s (20 trips per hour is the current B-Line bus peak hour schedule), would equal 12,000 pphpd! At two minute headway or 30 trips per hour, the capacity would be 18,000 pphpd or put another way, LRT on Broadway could have the potential to carry more than the maximum capacity of a SkyTrain subway, which is limited to 15,000 pphpd!

Obviously the study pulled numbers out of the air to make light rail look inferior when compared to SkyTrain, therefore if the TransLink study is using phoney numbers, then the entire study must be treated as suspect; in fact the transit study is phoney! Yet, TransLink has gotten away with this nonsense for over a decade and BC Transit before that!

Noted American transit planner, Gerald Fox had it right all along about TransLink’s dubious transit planning.

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.

Secondly, isn’t it a strange coincidence that SNC Lavalin which cosponsored the study also holds half the patents for the proprietary SkyTrain mini-metro system and has a financial stake if the mini-metro is built and more so, if it is built in a subway?

Let us not forget the presiding judge over the Susan Heyes lawsuit, called the Canada Line bidding process……

a charade“.

I call that a blatant conflict of interest.

As usual for TransLink, due diligence never happens and for good reason, truly independent transit studies would never support SkyTrain.

In fact, for 35 years, no independent transit study ever has.


 The first paragraph of Mr. Chris’s (PE) letter………

Dear TransLink Board, Mayors’ Council and Minister Stone,

I’d appreciate an explanation (sooner than later) for TransLink’s waste of time, money and resources to produce its fraudulent study favouring s-train based on the s-train line’s supposed increased capacity over the LRT line to UBC.  TransLink is bending the truth to keep the ones who are responsible for the massive fraud (that s-train has more capacity than other modes of transit) from being jailed for the rest of their lives.  Hoaxers at TransLink are essentially bilking taxpayers of billions of dollars by circumventing fair and competitive bidding from Alstom and Siemens proposing tram or LRT lines in order to sole source contracts to Bombardier and SNC Lavalin for the s-train line to UBC, at a greatly inflated cost to taxpayers.  “Assumed” capacity of LRT ranges from 5,800 pph to 7,200 pph while “assumed” capacity of s-train (RRT) is 13,000 pph in the study by SNC Lavalin and Steer-Davies-Gleave (summary on page x)?  What’s wrong with the “real” capacity?



7 Responses to “A Conflict of Interest – The Broadway Subway”
  1. Rico says:

    I keep promising myself I won’t bother writing to correct you….but it is so hard…..The capacity stated in the study is for full signal priority. The study notes capacity with LRT can be increased beyond this but that speed and reliability will suffer.

    Zwei replies: Translation, we wanted to dumb down ridership so Skytrain would look better.

  2. Haveacow says:

    Actually a they (the people whom did the report) modeled a theoretical 40 meter LRV model in 2 car trans. Each theoretical LRV held 240 passengers, which is off by considerable margin compared to reality. Toronto’s 30 meter long LRV’s carry 250 passengers (they took out one driver’s cab though so around 240 passengers if its a bi directional LRV). When I actually looked at six manufacturers of LRV’s around 37-42 meters in length, the median value was 300 passengers per vehicle, the actual range was 280-320 per vehicle! Ottawa’s 49 meter Alstom Spirit LRV’s are 380 passengers per vehicle. At peak the new Ottawa system starts operating it will theoretically, be able to handle up to 13680 p/h/d, however, in practice you are looking at a real limit of about 10700-11400 p/h/d.

  3. Haveacow says:

    This assumes Ottawa’s System is running with 2 car trains every 196 seconds at peak and that loading of platforms does not exceed (including deceleration and acceleration time as well as stopped time of a total of 1 minute).

  4. Haveacow says:

    According to a friend of mine at the TTC, the upper capacity limit of the new streetcar/LRT R.O.W. on Queens Quay West in Toronto is 7250-7500 p/h/d. This is operating the 509/510 routes along this corridor with a combined 29 vehicles per hour at peak using the new Flexity Outlook vehicles in single vehicle consists, they can’t operate coupled because of design constraints. This is the planned level of service frequency once enough vehicles arrive and without the current improved signaling system being in operation. If the TTC increases the number of new vehicles operating on the line at peak to 35 (which is planned) and the new signaling system is allowed to fully operate, the capacity will be even higher around 8200-9000p/h/d. There are many other things the TTC could have chose to further increase capacity but for political reasons they didn’t. That’s with a stop every 400 meters by the way. The cost to the TTC was $44-45 Million/ KM. In Vancouver because you would be building new and not requiring the many extra’s that the TTC needed because of the existing system and its constraints as well as legal constraints, the cost would be $ 36-39 Million /KM, not counting the LRV’s, Maintenance/ Storage Yard and the main Electrical Substation (usually part of the Maintenance Complex).

    The corridor on Queens Quay West is a pretty close copy of Broadway. Formerly 6 lanes with a centre turning lane and many planned high density developments to go in because of the then new LRT right of way (which started operating in 1990). The Line handled 55,000 passengers (Routes 509/510) a day in 2012. The TTC consider the 509/510 a single route with branches. It took less than 2 years two completely shut down entirely rip out, rebuild and restart operations, that’s with it being 6 months behind schedule because they did not take into account the many large concurrent infrastructure and commercial building projects in the area would seriously hamper access to the site. The actual road has now been reduced to 2-3 extra wide lanes (one in each direction and a centre turning lane when needed) with a massive segregated bicycle R.O.W. and walking path all laid out in locally available Red Granite. A local byproduct from the 200-250 years of Red Clay being removed from the Don Valley for the many local bricks works) No fewer than 500 mature trees and 700 saplings are also being planted along the street as well.

  5. Justin Bernard says:

    Haveacow’s summation of the 509/510 is correct.

    Currently, operation on the 509/510 route is incredibly slow because there’s more signals then before reconstruction and the city and it’s pro-car trafffic engineers deemed it necessary to give more green time to cars, even though traffic is almost non-existent. Our streetcars will wait 2-3 minutes so 1 car can go through the intersection. It’s really frustrating.

    Zwei replies: Thank you. This demonstrated extremely incompetent planning by the City of Toronto. In Europe, it is public transit that gets priority over vehicular traffic and living and driving in Europe, 20 years ago, trams did not cause problems with traffic flows and from what I could see, it was commercial vehicles that cause the most problems.

    In Amsterdam, I was amazed how fast the tram was, going through some heavy traffic and dense pedestrianized areas.

    Good to hear from you!

  6. Haveacow says:

    They have to actually turn “on” the new transit signals, they are still using a median step pattern developed for the construction phase. The real test will be in the spring when the construction ends on the bicycle and pedestrian ROW and the pro transit signal system actually is activated. This is assuming the Traffic Department will let them turn it on. They have never let a pro transit signal system be fully activated on Queens Quay even though they have had the system since 1990! Turns out a driver of a car can sue the city if traffic signals slow down the progress of a car but, the reverse for transit passengers is not true.

    I was told this simple phrase by a boss of mine when I first graduated planning school many years ago, a very bright guy but, an overly car favored traffic engineer, “The car is king and transit is managed”. Or this beautiful ditty,”son you don’t make it harder for 2 out of 3 people (Toronto Area car drivers) to get to work so that remaining 1 out of 3 (TTC passengers) can get there faster”. Its no surprise that even today Toronto has to fight this battle. My entire career I have run up against this pro car bias by traffic engineers.

    Zwei replies: Oh I hear you!

  7. eric chris says:


    What’s your motivation for posting here? You’re continually providing links to impartial studies and propaganda from TransLink or making red herring (RH) comments intended to throw everyone off the trail: how does “priority signaling” increase the passenger capacity of LRT? How about fog horns or flashing lights, do they increase the passenger capacity of LRT, too?

    Likely, you are talking about getting more passenger capacity out of the LRT line for a “given number of cars or rolling stock” if signaling priority is used to give the LRT cars priority over other vehicles on the roads. When you make the LRT cars run faster with signaling priority, you make the round trip time shorter and can get away with fewer cars (rolling stock) in the LRT design. Great, this makes the LRT design more efficient.

    Both LRT and tram designs require more rolling stock (due to their extended round trip times) than the s-train design. TransLink limiting the rolling stock of the LRT design to guarantee that the s-train design has more stated (assumed) passenger capacity has no basis. It is fraud. Contrary what TransLink says, more stops = better service and faster commutes. Trams offer the fastest commutes in Vancouver. Trams are the fastest transit mode at the least cost. It takes a long time to walk it or bus it to the distantly spaced s-train stations; whereas, it takes a very short time to walk to the tram stops. I’m tired or arguing this with you and you can provide calculations to show that taking 20 minutes to reach the s-train station to ride s-train is faster than making the 15 minute tram ride – idiot – if you are smart enough to do the math. Otherwise shut-up fool.

    You want to give out medals to the retards building insanely expensive s-train lines to lengthen the commuting times here for most transit users? Rico you are crass.

    “What are you saying Rico”

    Are you saying that LRT “with signaling priority” has more passenger capacity than LRT “without signaling priority”? How does that compute when LRT vehicles arrive at UBC every five minutes (for example) with or without signaling priority? Do you want to do the math for us? You’re really good at throwing out extraneous comments. When it comes to passenger capacity by transit mode, you’re as confused as the SCN Lavalin, Steer-Davies-Gleave and so called COV engineers are.

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