Broadway Subway Planning Under Way!

ai???If you tell a Broadway subway lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The Broadway subway lie can be maintained only for such time as TransLink, the Board of Trade, the City of Vancouver and the NDP can shield the people from the political, economic and/or negative transit consequences of the Broadway subway lie. It thus becomes vitally important for TransLink, the Board of Trade, the City of Vancouver and the NDP to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the Broadway subway lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of TransLink,the Board of Trade, the City of Vancouver and the

Bob Mackin is a North Vancouver-based journalist who has reported for local, regional, national and international media outlets since he began as a journalist in 199o. On Friday, he posted on Facebook TransLink’s demand for $618.75 for a Freedom of Information request containing 1,250 pages of text regarding planning for the Broadway subway.

But isn’t Broadway subway planning part of a transportation package wish list that is part the proposed $0.05% Provincial Sales Tax increase and that the funding has not been approved as of yet?

Here are some questions that people should ask our regional mayors, for clarity in regards to the TransLink referendum.

  • Can TransLink show any independent study that shows that subways actually attracts ridership?
  • Is it true that the Expo Line is currently at capacity carrying 15,000 persons per hour per direction and capacity cannot increase until $2 billion to $3 billion is spent on upgrading the electrics and retrofitting stations including increasing platform length from 80 metres to 120 metres to accommodate longer?
  • If true, if the current Skytrain is at capacity, then will a Skytrain subway also have the same maximum capacity comparable to the Expo Line?
  • If true, then would not a SkyTrain subway have less capacity than an at-grade/on-street light rail line?
  • Is it true that SNC Lavalin is doing transit studies for TransLink?
  • If true, then is SNC Lavalin in a “conflict of interest” has it holds the engineering patents to the proprietary SkyTrain system?
  • Is it true, that despite claims to the contrary, TransLink is actively planning for a Broadway subway which will be built, whether the referendum passes or not?
  • If true, then have the regional mayors have intentionally deceived the electorate over the TransLink referendum?

Then there are the actions of the provincial NDP who are supporting the YES side of the referendum which demand an answer to this question: “Do the provincial NDP condone deception and deceit with the TransLink referendum and in fact are part of the cabal who are secretly planning for a Broadway subway?

The hallmark of the TransLink referendum is deceit and deception by the YES side and a valiant few demanding honest answers on the NO side.

It is sad that at a time where the public needs honest answers and honest debate, they are being bullied by a cabal including big business, property developers, the City of Vancouver and TransLink whose interests are definitely not on the taxpayer’s side.


12 Responses to “Broadway Subway Planning Under Way!”
  1. Haveacow says:

    It would not be the largest FIA fee I have ever seen for transit agency information that was $6400.00 for information from O.C. Transpo to find out how many people ride each one of their bus routes every day. Information the TTC, Translink, Calgary Transit, and many others provides for free or takes just a little searching on the Internet to find. Hey, at least they offered to pay half!

    Seriously though, is Mr. Mackin going to post the information on line once he’s done or is he going to do the smart thing and make people pay to make up his costs? I would love to see some of that planning data!

  2. Haveacow says:

    This is a common tactic employed by government agencies when they don’t want to do something, especially information retrieval. Its sad but often true that, the information that they (the transit agency in this case) do not want to collect often contains very little damaging information of any real value for the person seeking the information. That being said, I can send $20.00 via snail mail or Western Union to start a fund so we can actually see the data, who’s with me! I will not do it electronically, got burned last time I did that!

  3. Haveacow says:

    Seems to me guys that, Translink would have already had to have some of or a great deal of planning already started on this line, including the section planned in your Mayor’s tax package. My estimate is that they may already be starting basic station design elements, technical equipment estimations including basic track plans and vehicle design specs. They have already done two large planning studies each one drilling further down into greater detail about the line. The last report did say that, the next report would have details about the technology being used and basic design plans about the line itself. So its no stretch that they have already started this work anyway? They are your transit planning agency aren’t they? That’s their job right? It would also not be a stretch if that along with the final report on the line they are beginning the a starter version for the line’s RFP as well! Its not a conspiracy that they are doing basic technical planning, if they have already chosen the vehicle technology. It’s not illegal, that is their role as a planning agency.

    What is fishy is that, if they have chosen on a vehicle technology and they didn’t tell anyone, technically not illegal, but fishy. Simply because their last report on the line identified 2 different vehicle technologies as being on the short list. They do have to publish that, they have actually made a choice on vehicle technology. This would send a clear message to vehicle builders that they have chosen a certain direction on vehicle technology and resolve themselves from being potentially sued by vehicle producers who were planning to provide a vehicle for them and had begun design work.

    Zwei, SNC Lavalin has the engineering patents not the vehicle patents. The engineering patents can be used on anything that needs them not just Skytrain technology. For example, SNC Lavalin has the patents on the devices and processes that convert the magnetic signal from the Induction rail to readable signals in the linear induction motors. That does not make anything they are doing a conflict of interest. They are an engineering firm not a vehicle provider. They can just be working with Bombardier developing a potential vehicle design for the RFP also not illegal for Bombardier to do that. Just because there is a funding vote coming doesn’t mean all design and planning work stops until the vote is decided. They can also be working with Translink because, they are a engineering firm that, may be providing information needed in the planning process. I agree it seems a little fishy but, its not illegal unless they try to influence the actual vote!

    The vehicle technology patents are held by Bombardier! These are patents on the Layout of technology in the vehicle itself or design of the steerable trucks and vehicle the hardware arrangement for the automation system. Or the design of the antenna array that reads the signals from the software in the automation system. Bombardier has every right to work with any supplier or subcontractor like SNC Lavalin it wants regardless if their is a vote coming regarding the funding of transit.

    The only way Bombardier, SNC Lavalin or any other company can get into trouble is if they start giving money, contracts or influence to anyone is involved with the mechanics of the vote itself, which could influence the vote’s outcome. If they were smart and they are, they will stay at arms length and say very little about the vote at all.

    Lastly, Translink’s role as a planning agency does not preclude activity with other vehicle providers as well. Translink’s activity can not include contact with the people running the vote, the fact that if the vote goes a certain way they will be happier, is irrelevant to the vote itself.

  4. zweisystem says:

    Thanx, correction made.

    The real problem for the C0V is if the referendum fails and Vision’s political backers try to force the issue. Hundreds of millions of dollars is being speculated on property along Broadway and friends of the government expect a return on investment. A NO vote may even cause TransLink’s fracture on a North South Fraser axis, then watch the fun begin. Personally, I would welcome this as it might force the two entities to plan affordably and not cling to big ticket items. Unless TransLink plies the taxpayer with major freebies, I do think this referendum is going down to defeat.

    SkyTrain fizzled again today and shows that the single line “hub to hub” transit model is vulnerable to breakdowns and the transit customers even now is beginning to think a NO vote is the only way to go.

  5. Richard says:

    And extending the Millenium Line to Cambie will help provide network redundancy that will be useful when part of the system breaks down.

    And in no way will a no vote help the transit customer. The illogical nonsense is rather tiresome.

    Zwei replies: Such nonsense, the B-Line buses provides the same service for a fraction of the cost. As the SkyTrain section that was not working, Stadium Station to Waterfront, it is very hard to see how the Millennium Line extension to Cambie would make any difference.

  6. Rico says:


    Really, you don’t see how a Millenium Line extension to Cambie would help with a problem between Stadium and Waterfront?

    ps the answer is everyone on the Millenium line (and lots of people on the Expo line at Broadway/Commercial)would continue on to the Canada Line to get to/from Downtown.

    Zwei replies: The B-Line offers the same service at one hell of a lower price and you forget, because the Canada line can operate only two car trains, it is at crush capacity at that part of town during peak hours, you can’t get on and dumping more Vancouver bound Millennium Line passengers will cause over crowding of the small, short 40 metre platforms causing the closure of the station.

    You haven’t though of that have you.

  7. Rico says:

    They currently run 16 trains. They have 20. Part of the plan is to buy 6 more. Run more trains when there is a problem. Wow that was difficult….

    Zwei replies: You forget, it is a P-3, TransLink can’t order more trains and the concessionaires won’t buy new cars.

  8. Rico says:

    Don’t pretend you are that dumb.

    Zwei replies: Actually you are the one that is dumb.

  9. Haveacow says:

    Hi guys,

    I was curious so I did something mathematical modelling, most people would have to pay me for this but you didn’t ask so you only have to pay half so, $300.00 from all of you please, that includes you to Rico! (Just joking guys, I’d charge you full price). After modeling the conditions on the Canada Line in 3 different models (each one has a different concentration on a key set of characteristics that predict capacity), each with the same 10 different inputs modified into a low medium and high range. I came to the following conclusions. As the line is currently operating, the realistic functional capacity limit of the Canada Line is around 5200-5900 p/h/d. The median value was 5669 p/h/d. There is absolute limit of 8400 p/h/d however to come close to this number, requires almost ridiculous frequencies, standing passenger density levels and operating speeds that, Transport Canada would never let it operate at all. The only variable I did not juggle up or down was the ultimate size of the vehicle fleet

    The only functional way the operator can really add capacity to this system, considering its many constraints is by increasing the number of operating trains. Now I looked, I could not find anything regarding who is responsible for buying capacity increasing train sets. So I can’t say honestly who has to pay for it. However, the assertion by Rico that 6 more train sets were planned to be purchased is debatable in effectiveness. Rico, I don’t doubt your recall or honesty in that assertion and very well that may be what was actually planned. But to get the capacity of the line to greatly increase you will need a minimum of 10-12 extra train sets, assuming a safe number of extra trains regarding their current minimum allowable numbers of available trains that they must have to allow for safe running. Plus the increase in the number of train sets must only have a marginal effect in the increases in the cost of maintaining the fleet.

    You see its a slippery slope when it comes to maintenance of a vehicle fleet, whether it is rail vehicles or buses. For example, 6 extra train sets may be acceptable but, 8 extra may blow not only the budget but stress the capacity of the maintenance facility itself due to manpower or functional limits, then you have a big expensive problem that is not easily fixed.

    What I find really amazing was that it was quite clear from the history that, one of the basic points in the P3 agreement was that the line have a absolute peak hour capacity of 15000p/h/d. Guys there is no way safely with the current fleet or even with the increase of 6 train sets, as Rico asserts, can you easily achieve anyway near this capacity. End of story.

    Given the systems constraints and the complex P3 agreement I seriously doubt that, any more than 180-220,000 passengers a day would be possible. Given the current limits, about 240,000 a day on the Canada Line is the absolute limit. So it may be currently carrying 136,000 a day as I saw when I looked it up but, to grow the daily passenger totals you are going to have to greatly increase off peak ridership and service capability. That costs money and that is something I don’t think Translink currently has a great supply of. To increase the Canada Line’s daily passenger totals during the peak hour service will only make the current service less comfortable for the existing passenger. It will also increase the time when the system is under its greatest amount of stress. This will increase maintenance and operating costs. I hope this sheds some light on this issue.

    Zwei replies: I was of the same opinion with my own clumsy calculations. The problem I had was finding a vehicle capacity, which is rather tricky. TransLink gives a capacity of 200 persons per car or 400 persons per trainset. ROTEM gives a capacity of 164 persons per vehicle or 238 persons per trainset. Now on the Wiki page for the Canada Line gives a nominal capacity of 234 persons. The transit consultant in the USA who I have used to help my determinations says that in the USA they use a “practical capacity” of 5 persons per metre length of vehicle (this is because American transit users hate to stand so American vehicles would have many more seats than a Canadian one or a 41 metre trainset would have a capacity of a mere 205 persons.

    This could be one of the major problems of selling ART or the Canada line in the USA as their “practical capacity” for the US market is puny.

  10. Haveacow says:

    Rico, one other thing, a tiny vehicle order of 6 ,2 section articulated, 41 metre long light metro train sets would be very expensive unless you piggy back it on someone else’s order. My guess to want that small an order assuming that, there is only the smallest increases in cost due to inflation and the relative drop in the value of our currency, you are going to pay at a minimum something close to double the cost per vehicle that was originally charged by Rotem back in 2006.

    Zwei replies: The Canada Line cars are not articulated, rather they are gangwayed, using the Brit. vernacular.

  11. Rico says:


    I can’t remember and am too lazy to check, but I believe your rough calculations of current capacity for the Canada Line are correct. I believe it is achieving 5600p/p/h/d now with 16 trains in service. That said the system is capable of running significantly more vehicles at any given time than currently. In fact the demand modelling I saw shows a peak demand of 8700 pphpd in 2041 so not a problem to meet only with extra trains even without expanding trains and stations. I would assume that the 6 car addition would be all that is required although if they have to they could always order more cars. They can fit 28 expanded train sets at the maintainance facility so maybe they will order 8 sets instead if it looks like they will be required…and no I don’t know who would have to physically buy them…only that if Translinks wants them and will pay for them the operator will run them. That is why they are part of the referendum…complete with price tag to buy and operate them (don’t remember what the total is). I assume the mayors council looked at the P3 agreement and know what the cost will be…..I also agree an order of 6 train sets by itself would be expensive…good thing they are a common car type and that there is time to wait and piggyback on another order….

    Zwei replies: Could be rico, that TransLink was fibbing about ridership.

    ps during the Olympic using the 20 existing train sets daily boardings averaged 228,000 so not likely that 240,000 is the absolute limit…..

  12. Haveacow says:

    Every piece of research and practical information I have ever seen on the subject matter says don’t go above 4 people per square metre . I don’t use the per metre length measurement because it is so heavily affected by seat configuration and local safety rules. The people per square metre measurement assumes that the area too close to the seats wouldn’t be used as standing room (as observed in real life) unless passengers absolutely have too. Also with my and my friend Rian’s research into our new formula, most passengers (choice and captive riders both) will not go into a transit vehicle that is above 85% crush capacity. The research also shows that unless it is a special event or the last day before a major holiday or break (something that adds time pressure to the rider), capacity of most transit vehicles never exceed 90% crush capacity, in the Northern two thirds of North America (Canada & USA). For each percentage increase of crush capacity in a transit vehicle above 75% the number of passengers whom either get off (standing or sitting) or simply never board in the first place grows at a geometric rate. On top of this fact, there is also a complex somewhat linear effect on the number of passengers leaving depending on time spent standing in a transit vehicle that has a level above 4 people per square metre standing passenger density. The final point being that, 400 people per vehicle will never be achieved that somewhere between 340-360 is more likely.

    What was interesting from 2 of the 3 modelling programs I used was that the regular passenger data supplied by Translink shows that, on a regular basis the people of Vancouver, stand at levels beyond 5 up to 8 passengers per metre vehicle length on the Canada Line. Which confirms something that I have observed for a long time, Canadians will not only ride transit more often but also put up with a lot more crowding on transit than Americans will, on average, especially in our large urban areas.

    American practical capacity rules aside. I often find when you read their planning reports that each city has its own levels what it considers a practical level. The allowed practical capacity generally goes upwards as the agency gains more operating experience. These ridiculously low capacity amounts are usually (but not always) applied to Transit Properties that, are usually rapid transit virgins. Or have very low general transit ridership to start with.

    Zwei replies: It also means that TransLink is deliberately inflating ridership numbers, which BC Transit did in the 1980′s and 90′s. I have been told by a very reliable source that mini-metro ridership may be 10% to 15% lower than stated.

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