Premier Horgan’s TransLink Dilemma

Due to their high construction and operating costs, subways are only built on the heaviest used transit routes, with traffic flows in excess of 15,000 pphpd. Broadway has transit traffic flows less than 4,000 pphpd!


The new NDP government must reassess TransLink’s grand transit schemes and the lack of any real regional transit planning, except for their two grossly expensive vanity projects.

The Broadway subway, a classic Vancouver “vanity project“, now rumored to cost around $4 billion, will offer no real advantage to transit customers, yet greatly increase the cost of providing transit in the region by sucking money from other transit operations. The Vancouver mayor is already on record saying “subway make world class city“.

Surrey’s LRT, is so badly planned that it has become a “poor man’s” SkyTrain, taking all of the light-metro’s bad points and none of LRT’s positive points. The rumoured cost of Surrey’s LRT is now well over $100 million/km, with two thirds of the cost paying for new road construction and putting utilities underground. Surrey’s LRT is nothing more than a major roads project with rails, built to subsidize land developers and land speculators who acquired properties adjacent to the road/tram project!

TransLink is also planning to reduce the scope of LRT construction by extending SkyTrain to Langley, as it costs only slightly more to build according to planners (but not experts), which will bring a host of new and expensive problems to the at capacity Expo Line.

The many problems facing regional transit, include:

  1. Ai??The Expo Line is at or near its legal capacity of its Transport Canada operating certificate and needs about $3 billion in renovations, station enlargements, new electrical supply and guideway maintenance or replacements.
  2. The bus system forces customers onto SkyTrain, forcing unwanted transfers, which makes the transit user unfriendly and deters ridership.
  3. The Canada Line has effectively half the capacity of the Expo, Millennium/Evergreen Lines and needs a minimum of $1.5 billion investment to increase capacity to match the rest of the ALRT/ART transit system.
  4. TransLink operates the transit system as if it were the 1950′s and ignores 21st century solutions.
  5. The Patullo Bridge replacement only caters to New Westminster’s wishes and not the regions and will have only four lanes and no rail bridge. TransLink again, misses a golden opportunity to meaningfully change peoples commuting habits.
  6. There is no redundancy in the system and as the light-metro system goes down, TransLink is very slow to respond, leaving customers stranded.
  7. TransLink desperately wants to introduce mobility pricing for cars, yet continues to squander billions of dollars on very bad transit planning and dubious transit construction.
  8. TransLink’s senior management remain isolated from the public and spend more time, inventing new fibs to hide their incompetence.
  9. Transit planning is based on political diktat and not consumer based. The transit customer does not like what TransLink forces on them.
  10. There has been no realistic modal shift from car to transit in the past thirty years. Over 80% of SkyTrain’s ridership is recycled bus riders and buses are extremely poor in attracting the motorist from the car.

The GVRD planned a road/rail/LRT bridge to replace the Patullo in the late 1970's. There is no such forward thinking today.

And the list goes on and it is no wonder that 65% of the regions taxpayers treat TransLink like a pustular sore.

There is no future for regional transit in Metro Vancouver until provincial and civic politicians, their planners and engineers plan transit to meet the needs of transit consumers and not political friends and insiders including land speculators and land developers.

There is no future for regional transit in Metro Vancouver, until the universities, most notably Simon Fraser University start teaching modern regional transportation and not largely disputed transit theories decades old. If European Universities offer degrees in Urban Transportation, why not UBC and SFU?

In the 21st Century, public transport is seen as a product and if the product is good, people will use it but if the product is bad, people will not; this credo is from one of the most popular and dynamic public transit systems in the world, in Karlsruhe Germany.

It is time the provincial government compels TransLink to do the same.


A "Bistro" TramTrain" in Karlsruhe Germany, meets the customer's demands for longer distant trips.

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