Never Attribute to Malice What Can be Explained by Incompetence – Factbender on Transit

Modern LRT does have a higher capacity than SkyTrain and it looks nicer too!

You don’t have to be smart to be the Minister responsible for TransLink, rather you just to have to be a very good BS artist, that’ all.

As the LRT or SkyTrain tap dance continues south of the Fraser, many politicians reveal that their knowledge about SkyTrain comes mainly from picture books and not engineering reports.

As our friend, Mr Haveacow, has said many times in the past, SkyTrain can’t be extended to Langley until about $3 billion is spent on rehabbing the Innovia Lines.

As well, the maximum capacity of LRT is greater than SkyTrain, always has been.

In Europe, the capacity debate does not exist because modern light rail can handle passenger flows in excess of 25,000 pphpd has it has done in Karlsruhe Germany. In Europe, capacity is increased by purchasing new trams as demands warrant.

Not so in Metro Vancouver, where Transport Canada has limited capacity to a maximum of 15,000 pphpd.

It is time TransLink stop using this ruse to deceive the taxpayer and the transit customer about modern light rail.

Former minister responsible for TransLink still supports LRT — but says it’s not the best option for high volumes of people

By Senior Reporter  CKNW

The former minister responsible for TransLink is weighing in on the growing controversy in Surrey over Light Rail Transit vs. SkyTrain.

Peter Fassbender, who is also running for mayor in the City of Langley, is no stranger to the LRT planned for Surrey.

He said that he advocated for it because of the vision by the city to “build community,” not move high volumes of people.

“I believe that that was, and is, the right decision and I know there are challenges, but I think the ‘L line’ can be light rail and will work very efficiently,” Fassbender said.

If we look 30 years down the road, and the volume, and what may happen at Abbotsford airport — a system that ties into the existing rapid transit system, namely SkyTrain, probably is the most efficient system for the long term,” he said.

Fassbender said that a business case would have to be looked at for extending rapid transit, not just for the sake of what it costs to build it, but the efficiency of moving people.

However, he also said it’s a different discussion when it comes to moving people along the Fraser Highway into Langley and even further east.


5 Responses to “Never Attribute to Malice What Can be Explained by Incompetence – Factbender on Transit”
  1. Janet says:

    Fact: The surrey lrt will NOT have more capacity than the skytrain. The idiots building it say it will only have 30 metre trains. That is money not well spent.

    Zwei replies:

    As the trams have yet to be chosen, there is no real debate about length. But I must remind you that they are opting for modular cars, which means the length and capacity can rise with demand at an affordable cost.

    The Capacity debate is moot because there isn’t the ridership to warrant all this angst and I think something more sinister is afoot, meaning Surrey will not get any rial transit at all.

  2. Haveacow says:


    The Expo Line is at it’s functional capacity in both peak periods and requires very time consuming and expensive upgrades because of operating both the power and operating systems are forced to operate at their design limits for a long period of time each working day. The whole thing is wearing out due to the system’s need to use very high service frequencies to make up for a complete lack of operating and passenger carrying capacity!

    You would be sending new ridership from the Langley extension directly to a line that is full ! Which will reduce the access of existing riders and penalize new ones expecting some ability to get quickly where they want to go. Thus, older existing riders leave because they can’t get on a Skytrain or have to stand on Skytrains when they used to be able to get a seat. It now also becomes harder to get new riders because the very long ride from the Langley extension is extremely unpleasant and always full, especially at peak heading in and out of the core of the city.

    Even after waiting for the Langley extension to be finished then, a 40+ year old Expo Line will be experiencing greater number of daily breakdowns due to age. Scarcity of spare parts and the desperate need for system upgrades and updates will further degrade the riding experience. An ever increasing number of track issues, power supply issues as well as crowding issues will continue to pile on the network. The issue then will be whether the choice is an upgrade to the Expo Line or an extension to UBC on the Millennium Line. There won’t be the money for both. This is assuming that Bombardier will still actually build the Skytrain operating technology at this point?

  3. Haveacow says:

    Oh yes, I am also supremely pissed that RTG has delayed the opening of the Confederation Line to early 2019!

  4. Haveacow says:

    @Janet if the winning consortium building, designing, financing, operating and maintaining the Surrey LRT choose Alstom LRV’s (the display model is an Alstom Citadis Spirit Light Rail Vehicle front end) they have a choice of a 30 metre (3 sections) long vehicle, a 37 metre (3 sections with a longer centre section) long vehicle, a 48 metre (4 sections) long vehicle and a 60 metre long (5 sections) vehicle which can operate as single unit or up to 3 unit trains. Most operators choose multi unit trains.. The width can also very from 2.4, 2.6 or 2.8 metre models. This is assuming they don’t use multiple LRV trains which most operators choose to do.

    If Bombardier is the LRV choice their Flexity Class will be used. They can run in single unit trains or up to 4 unit trains. Each individual LRV comes in 2 widths, 2.4 or 2.6 metres, with a 18 metre long (3 sections) vehicle, a 30 metre long (5 sections) vehicle or a 42 metre long (7 sections) vehicle.

    There are many companies to choose from not just Bombardier and Alstom (the world’s 2 largest Light Rail Vehicle manufacturers) but CAF, Breda, Skoda and many, many others. Unlike, the choice with Skytrain which is always Bombardier!

    Lastly @Janet, most individual LRV’S can hold between 180-370 passengers depending on the make and model chosen. If the operator chooses to run multiple Unit LRV trains then multiply the individual vehicle capacity by the number of individual LRV units, to get each trains total possible capacity. Ottawa for example will run trains with 2 LRV units or vehicles. Each LRV is a 4 section vehicle capable of holding up to 300 each. So each train will hold up to 600 passengers.

    Zwei replies:

    Thank you!

  5. zweisystem says:

    This is what I keep saying to the SkyTrain Lobby, “show me the money”. There is no funding.

    Traditionally, the region can afford only 1 rapid transit line per decade. 1980′s -Expo Line; 1990′s Millennium Line; 2000′s Canada line; 210 Evergreen Line; and now 2 projects, which is ambitious.

    It is now my belief why TransLink opted for LRT for Surrey.

    If one looks at the LRT routes, it is all too apparent that the LRT is being planned as a poor man’s SkyTrain.

    The reason for this has been discussed before, the Expo Line needs a $3 billion+ rehab to increase line capacity before any thought of a $3 billion extension to Langley needs to be considered.

    We are looking at a $6 billion bill!

    Also not well known is that Bombardier may cease production of their Innovia ART cars before the end of 2020, to free up production space.

    Thus to give Vancouver (to give SFU & Vision types) their long sought after subway, Surrey had to get some sort of rail transit or else there was a good chance that Surrey would pull out of TransLink and take Delta and Langley with it.

    The rehab is not as necessary for the Millennium/Evergreen Lines, as they can operate 3 car trains (currently 2 car trains) at current peak hour headway’s. They will get away with it because 1) no one questions the (successful?) Canada line and its ability to operate only 2 car trains and 2) Current B-line customer flows can be accommodated by using 2 or 3 car trains!

    Thus for about $4 billion, Vancouver would get its much vaunted subway to placate land speculators and land developers to build high rise condos for the international money laundering crowd (hell they don’t take transit) and Surrey will get LRT and by the time that is paid for, those responsible will collecting their fat pension cheques.

    What could go wrong?

    Well for one thing, the cost of cement and steel is rising at 3 times the rate of inflation, thus the cost of the subway is now $2.8 billion and rising (probably will top $3.5 billion if completed and the Surrey LRT’s cost is bordering on $2 billion, as TransLink hasn’t a clue about building affordable transit.

    Total cost $5.5 billion and rising.

    Include the much needed rehab, $9 billion, give or take a few million.

    So what to do?

    Incite Daryl De La Cruz with his anti-SkyTrain shtick and maybe do the same with the not too smart Doug McCallum, hoping that the LRT will be cancelled and the freed up monies not go to extending SkyTrain in Surrey to Langley , as the money is not transferable, rather spend it as an emergency rehab of the Expo Line, with the threat of shutting down operation to lack of much needed maintenance!

    This will also open the door for road-pricing, to build more SkyTrain for the future, but if Bombardier ceases production, means the cars must be custom built. I can see it now, a SkyTrain vehicle assembly Line in Burnaby; what can go wrong!

    I think we would be better off with an Edsel assembly plant instead..

Leave A Comment