Is It time To Say Adios To TransLink’s Kevin Desmond?

TransLink’s American CEO, Kevin Desmond, was always TransLink’s man. A consummate bureaucrat, he knows what buttons to push and what whistles to blow, but when it comes to transit, Desmond does what he is told to do.

TransLink has never acknowledged the fact that the public, especially the taxpayer after the 2015 plebiscite do not like nor trust the ponderous bureacracy. Blaming everyone else for TransLink’s woes, bureaucrats offered some “window dressing” changes but nothing more and one of those window dressing changes was Kevin Desmond, the new CEO.

Today, TransLink is mired in a fiscal fiasco, where it’s gross spending habits have greatly outpaced its income. Unwilling to live within its means and continuing to plan for two mega transportation projects that smack of “FastFerry Fiasco”, the over $2 billion Surrey LRT and the now estimated almost $4 billion Broadway subway, TransLink has doubled down by offering gimmicks, which were previously offered before, to take the attention away from their continued blundering.

The SFU Gondola, which the last cost estimate was $120 million in 2011, is supposes to placate the SFU types with “gimmickbahnn” transit, instead of investing about $10 thousand for chains for buses.

From June 17, 2011

From October 5, 2011

May 17, 2013

Sadly, unlike buses, a gondola operation does not have intermediate stops and the bus route to SFU would still continue. Contrary to what the TransLink CEO said, a SFU gondola will add to the cost of providing students; a gold plated transit solution on an economy class transit route. Economy class, you say? Yes, indeed as the vast majority of users would be those using the $1 a day U-Pass!

Then to add icing to the cake as to how unsuitable and out of touch Desmond is, he offers this little nugget:

Desmond also said there is a blueprint for extending the Arbutus Line to the University of British Columbia, but said completing the mayors’ ten-year plan is TransLink’s top priority.

Desmond says if Arbutus line went to @UBC, it would double price of project. It says next set of plans should go out to the university

There are no plans to use the Arbutus Line for Rail, nor any plans to extend the line to UBC.

If LRT were to be used a 15 km Marpole to UBC Line would cost no more than $500 million, but if a subway is proposed for the Arbutus the same 15km route would cost over $4.5 billion.

Obviously Desmond is talking out of his hat and incredulous statements that are emanating from TransLink’s CEO, should signal that it is time to say adios and farewell to Kevin Desmond.

TransLink proposes electric-powered gondola for Simon Fraser University

CKNW

By Reporter  CKNW

TransLink is trying to find a cleaner way to get people to Simon Fraser University according to CEO Kevin Desmond.

Desmond said the transport company is in talks with the academic institution to get an electric-powered gondola on Burnaby Mountain.

“The idea is if there is a gondola, it would replace the major bus route that goes from Production Way Station to the University. It would be a more reliable service, possibly as much, if not more capacity than the buses allow.”

He said the operating costs of the bus route would be incorporated into the costs of running the gondola.

“If we can figure out a way to pay for the capital; I believe SFU needs to be part of that solution as well. We think there might be some federal grants that could be available for that also, we might be able to put together a really nice project and replace basically at this point, diesel-powered buses.”

Desmond also said there is a blueprint for extending the Arbutus Line to the University of British Columbia, but said completing the mayors’ ten-year plan is TransLink’s top priority.

Comments

One Response to “Is It time To Say Adios To TransLink’s Kevin Desmond?”
  1. Haveacow says:

    Gondolas have several issues, the first and most important is their really high operating costs. When they are new, they are cheap to run. As soon as the first big repair is needed and that will happen in the forth to fifth year of operations, the operators will have to raise rates and cut service to pay for the repairs. They are just that expensive to repair. Although diesel buses do cause air pollution, they are more affordable to run.

    Secondly, unlike buses, gondola systems can’t easily remove extra vehicles during slower passenger hours or add them when passenger numbers increase during peak travel times. Unless a very expensive system is installed the bus link to the University will never be fully replaced by a gondola. The gondola will not cover operating costs most of the time and definitely won’t once the first serious repair is needed.

    Like Zwei said, it is difficult to add intermediate stops with a gondola systems. What is more disturbing is the cost of adding a “Y” connection when a new major passenger destination develops over time close to but not in a easily accessible straight line with the original end point of the gondola system. This lack of affordable adaptability limits the possible options of this system.

    The speed of the system is subject to slowdowns during moments of heavy winds or bad weather being far more susceptible than buses.

    Over time more conventional forms of transit can be improved. Gondola based systems don’t have a big research base working on improving the technology compared to buses or trains. Thus upgrades to gondola systems turn into almost complete tear downs and rebuilds which is a big cost hurdle to overcome if you are not prepared for this eventuality.

    I could go on but I won’t. My final point being that, if TransLink is seriously looking into this idea great caution needs to be exercised here. These gondola transport systems are very expensive and limiting. Once it’s installed that’s it, you are fully committed.

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