Light Rail For Surrey Fights Back

After the CBC’s fawning over the largely discredited SkyTrain for Surrey lot, Light Rail For Surrey fights back.

Just a reminder, in 2016, CKNW outed SkyTrain for Surrey for fudging the truth and now, they are at it again with the CBC.

The questions I would like answered is: “Who is really behind the SkyTrain to Surrey folks?” “Who is pulling the strings?”

Renewed push for Surrey LRT after new Mayors’ Council chair elected

Monika Gul

Posted Jan 23, 2018



SURREY (NEWS 1130) ai??i??Ai??With a new Mayorsai??i?? Council chair in Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan, the Surrey Board of Trade is renewing itsAi??campaign for the Surrey-Newton-Guildford LRT.

The organization has written to Corrigan to make sure the project goes ahead.

The project, divided into two lanes, including one that would connect city centre to Langley on the Fraser Highway, would see 27 kilometres of light rail with about 19 stops.

While some have called for a SkyTrain for the area instead, Board CEO Anita Huberman argues that would only disconnect the city.

ai???The ability to grow our town centre, expand the system in terms of our community plan, is the opposite of what SkyTrain will

ai???Increasing buses will very quickly increase congestion. Having SkyTrain on Fraser highway is four times the

HubermanAi??wants construction to begin in early 2019.

A grassroots group called ai???Skytrain for Surreyai??? has written its own letter to Corrigan, asking him to remove the project from the Mayorsai??i?? 10-Year Vision.


14 Responses to “Light Rail For Surrey Fights Back”
  1. Haveacow says:

    I will say it again, the first stage of the Surrey LRT line, the Surrey-Newton-Guildford Line is ok. It’s not great but it’s ok. It’s the second stage to Langley that is the real stinker. It’s primarily being built to deal with the problem of the peak hour congestion and the commuter rush it creates. This line is planned at being no less than 17km long. I have been on the parallel highway, outside of peak hours the highway to Langley can get busy but does it really require rapid transit during that period of the day. Is there enough passenger demand on such narrowly defined corridor to need such a expensive capital project. Especially when there is an existing, already in place and underutilized rail right of way near by, which could be upgraded and used at a fraction of the cost. The cost difference between building an entirely new rail line and refurbishing an existing one can be truly remarkable! I have done this before here in Canada. There’s an old saying amongst planners, “if you look for high costs, you will easily find it”.

  2. John wright says:

    My mother used the inter urban all the time when she was young many many years ago.
    I live in Calgary now and this looks more like our LRT which works well and costs much less than sky train.
    Sky Train will bankrupt you and not achieve what a well planned, proven and affordable LRT can do.
    Why are you so set on a failed system like Sky Train? I always say follow the money.

  3. rei says:

    I fought hard for light rail for the Evergreen Line about a decade ago.

    The LRT/SkyTrain issue is a perfect example of how easily deceived this province is. It’s incredible that people still don’t realize TransLink is a private corporation (and not a crown corp) that exists only to maximize profits.

    What scares me is that far, far, far fewer Vancouverites realize how backwards BC is than Americans realize how backwards the US is.

  4. rei says:

    Or I guess to be accurate, I should say, TransLink is nothing more than a faux crown corp intended to maximize the prices of contracts for the affiliated companies and individuals.

  5. kitsilano_skytrain says:

    Agree with Haveacow.

    Extending the Skytrain makes more sense. One train from Langley to Vancouver with no transfers will get people out of cars.

    Fast service is what convinces people to take transit. Buses are too slow. One exception is the new express bus from Langley to Lougheed station in Burnaby. That bus only takes 15-20 minutes and uses highway 1 and port man bridge and is a fast service.

    Zwei replies: Haven’t a clue do you? The huge costs involved means huge tax increases, yet little transit improvement.By the way, Mr. Cow has not supported extending SkyTrain

  6. Haveacow says:

    For all the SkyTrain fans out there, never extend the line to Langley unless, there is a major increase in jobs and residents around the central portion of Surrey, that is the near equivalent to the present downtown Vancouver. Anything other than that, you will have a majority or a very sizeable minority of riders, filling the Expo Line Trains long before they reach anywhere near the

  7. Haveacow says:

    Centre of Vancouver. This is dangerous because the extension you guys want to Langley will exceed the present maximum geographic scale the Expo Line can tolerate. The only reason I would change this opinion is if, there’s a big increase in jobs and residents in some intervening place before downtown Vancouver. But I mean a big increase in jobs and residents! That way riders can be cleared

  8. Haveacow says:

    Out of the trains allowing seat and standing space turnover. Unless this occurs, the overly long travel time for a majority or a sizeable minority of passengers, will draw away choice transit ridership from the system. If I have to stand for 45 minutes or longer just to get to the central area of Vancouver, where I might need to transfer again to reach my final destination and I have access to a car, spending an hour or more in my own vehicle isn’t such a bad option.

    When subway/Metro lines get too long or in this case a Light Metro Line, get’s too long (horizontal expansion) the extension will increase the travel time for a sizeable portion of the line’s ridership forcing reassessment of the modal choice. There are ways of mitigating this but they are all expensive and time consuming. The cheapest option is something like a commuter rail line or dare I say, a Tram-Train Line like Zwei has been proposing. A new line, on a different right of way with a longer distance focus in terms of its operational use, is what is really needed in communities south of the Fraser River. Definitely not a very expensive to build and operate SkyTrain system (Bombardier’s Innovia ART 300 Medium Transportation System).

  9. Dondi says:

    Mr Cow:

    I take your point about the problem of the geographic extent of the ridership region – in any transit system.

    But why do you see this as a major problem for Vancouver in the immediate or medium term future if, for example, Skytrain was extended to Langley and/or along Broadway to Arbutus?

    The issue of geographic scale is not particular to Skytrain infastructure except in the sense that it will manifest itself earlier than if we instead had a higher capacity, full metro as the ‘skeleton’ of our transit network.

    Even the latter eventually requires secondary lines and express routes, which are also expensive to build and operate. Until then, although the long trips will discourage some potential riders, other people with fewer choices will patronize the system. When I lived in Toronto many years ago and had to take the Bloor line from one end to the other it took forever to go through all the dinky intermediate stops but I still did it!

    Can you explain a little more how you think this issue applies to Vancouver in particular? For example, if the power supply and other upgrades that you have cited are done to the Expo line, more cars are acquired and the dwell times are brought down to something close to their technical minimum (90 sec?) there would be a very considerable increase in capacity.

    We could instead spend the money building secondary lines, but for roughly similar service (trip time and frequency) would that really cost less?

  10. Haveacow says:

    I use to work with people who use to plan at TransLink and it’s predecessor and they have informed me on multiple occasions that the Expo Line has had the geographic horizontal expansion issue since the late 1990′s. Any further horizontal expansion of the Expo Line showed time and time again that, there would be large passenger loss due to excessive distance. This lowered the operational efficiencies of any planned extension to a point where any expansion became difficult or outright impossible to justify. According to a friend who just left TransLink, this condition hasn’t changed yet. Maybe in another 10 years there will be enough new jobs and development to allow passengers to be attracted to downtown Surrey causing space to clear out on the Expo Line. Or you could spend several Billion and greatly increase the passenger carrying capacity of the line, beyond its very limited current capacity.

  11. Dondi says:

    Do the passenger projections in the various studies for the Langley and Broadway lines exclude the effect of increased horizontal size?

    For example, when they estimate ridership from Langley does that exclude the effect of the long trip faced by riders going all the way from Langley to UBC?

    Sure, ridership goes down as trip length increases but it is a concrete question of whether the resulting ridership still justifies the service – or not.

    And what is the strength of the effect in the opposite direction – that as transit serves more and more possible destinations (and so is a better alternative to the car) more people shift to transit?

  12. Haveacow says:

    Yes, it was excluded in the Langley case because there are many ways to calculate and assess the effect. Most likely they just didn’t really follow a philosophy were that is considered a problem. At the least, until it becomes apparent that this is occurring with an existing line extension. I’m not suggesting that the planners are ignorant or are knowingly ignoring the possibility

  13. Haveacow says:

    What usually happens in large organizations like TransLink is that until a phenomenon is actually identified and is happening to their system, especially, if the phenomenon has never been seen before, no one considers it a possible problem to have to solve.

    The Broadway extension is different because the planners at TransLink most likely consider most of the University Students and workers toiling the day away at Broadway based jobs as captive transit ridership. So nobody is overly concerned about losing choice ridership. With any of the planned intensification along the corridor, the shear amount of potential passenger ridership overwhelms any problem associated with the loss of choice ridership due to geographic scale. As long as the planned potential ridership is correct, no one at TransLink seems overly concerned.

    However, I think, especially in the short to medium timespan, ridership has been over estimated for this line. I also think that the amount of actual passenger ridership uplift from the believed building intensification along the corridor is overly optimistic. When you consider the capital costs, given the small distance traveled and the limits on how many passengers the planned operating technology actually can hold, I believe a rethink is in order.

    Zwei replies: TransLink is hinting that ridership is actually falling on the Broadway route, as more students are attending from South of the Fraser and take the express bus from Bridgeport Station to UBC.

  14. Haveacow says:

    That last part is a really good and deceptively complex question Dondi. By the way, bully for you for having to travel the length of the B-D subway every day, and come out of it even partially sane. Friends and acquaintances who did that learned if you are truly going close to or full monty, Kipling to Kennedy all the way, the best way was to travel via the GO Trains. Using the Milton Line (which stops at Kipling), Lakeshore East line (transferring at Danforth/Main Street Station) or the Stouffville Line (Kennedy Station) all of which involve a transfer at Union Station, is a much better and faster option especially at peak.

    There is something to the old saying, “if you build it, they will come” however, when you have to deal in reality that has some issues. You can provide an Ox-Cart (older O. C. Transpo online fans here in Ottawa will get that inside joke about the term “Ox-Cart”) anyway, or whole trains of Ox-Carts and even today some people will take them. The point is, at some time, no matter how much ridership you think a certain operating technology will supply, you the planners and the engineers have to’ “fish or cut bait”, or “get off the pot” (pick your favorite metaphor) and make a decision. These decisions have real technical, financial, political and personal penalties for the everyone involved. No one technology is perfect and no amount of planning and design solves all problems. The reality of any rail rapid transit line to Langley faces a BIG financial and operational penalties if you have to build a rail based ROW from scratch, mostly along a highway corridor. No matter how busy during the rush hour and even some other select times of the day, that corridor by virtue of its location and conditions, will slow and or, outright stop access by transit riders. Does a 17+ km long corridor with really very low ridership outside of peak hours with extensive barriers to ridership because of its highway location and nature, need a Skytrain line that will be $250-$350 Million/km or a poorly thought out LRT line that is $70-$100 Million/km. Given all the other financial needs in your present rapid transit network. I’m not even sure that either the LRT or the Skytrain line proposals has considered that BOTH rail based technologies will operationally require at the least one satellite Light Maintenance and Storage facility (which are really expensive) to be built along that corridor.

    Consider that there is a massively underutilized mainline railway line close by. Its not perfect, it misses some areas but believe me, using an existing railway line, even one you have to share and help pay for to improve, is an order of magnitude cheaper compared to the cost a newly constructed rail ROW. Railway Companies can be negotiated with I have seen it done. It might seem difficult or downright impossible but railways can be bargained with. This gives options for riders and influences that supply of transit that Dondi was so concerned about and can very cheaply get things moving.

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