Really? TransLink Tries To Spin The Evergreen Line

In the real world, modern trams or LRT lines are not considered unless traffic flows are 2,000 pphpd or more.

Light-metro’s like SkyTrain, on the other hand, need traffic flows of at least 10,000 pphpd, to justify construction.

Now, TransLink is trying to spin that a meager 30,000 boarding’s a day is good news.

It’s not!

Do the math, the new Evergreen Line is carrying less than 2,000 pphpd!

So, politicians have spent over $1.4 billion to move essentially the former B-Line express bus customers.

Also; how many of those riders are U-Pass holders, riding the system for a $1.00 a day!

No wonder that Metro Vancouver, when it comes to transit, is a world class laughing stock, with TransLinkAi?? being the big joke!

Evergreen Line ridership tops 30,000 in early months

Vancouver, BC, Canada / News Talk 980 CKNW | Vancouver’s News. Vancouver’s Talk

Posted: February 28, 2017

Evergreen Line ridership tops 30,000 in early months

TransLink says the new Evergreen line SkyTrain extension is off to a bumper start, serving more than 30,000 passengers on an average weekday.

Those numbers cover the lineai??i??s first eight weeks in operation, in December and January.

TransLink spokesperson Chris Bryan says those figures already show a 10 per cent boost from opening day, and are expected to go higher.

ai???Thereai??i??s a lot of development happening around SkyTrain, and certainly thatai??i??s happening in Tri Cities as well, so we think itai??i??s a good start, 30,000, but we definitely see ridership rising fairly significantly over

READ MORE:Ai??Evergreen Line up and running

That said, Bryan says where it goes from here is up to a number of factors.

TransLink has previously said it hoped to hit a ridership of 70,000 by 2021, but Bryan says it will depend on factors like how development proceeds along the line, and the health of the economy.

ai???In the case of the Canada Line for example, we had a built in high ridership right from day one we had a number of bus lines that used to go back and forth from Richmond into Vancouver. Those people were pushed onto the Canada Line so to speak. In Tri Cities itai??i??s a little bit

The Canada Line now sees more than 120,000 passengers on an average day weekday.

Bryan adds bus service improvements, slated for April, are also expected to feed system ridership.


10 Responses to “Really? TransLink Tries To Spin The Evergreen Line”
  1. Haveacow says:

    Wow, That’s a lot money for 30,000 passengers a day. Ottawa has 4 bus routes that move more than 30,000 a day and one of them isn’t even a Transitway route. Even the short Sheppard subway in Toronto moves more than that and only cost around $900,000,000 to build. I also checked, Toronto has 8 bus lines and 6 streetcar lines that move more than that a day. Only 2 of those streetcar lines, the 510 Spadina, 512 St. Clair have a private right of way. they certainly didn’t cost $1.4 Billion.

    I still don’t understand even to this day, as someone who has been involved in projects like this for a living, regardless of how you feel about the Skytrain technology, why this line was extended east outwards into the suburbs while the money would have been better spent extending the Millennium Line further west along Broadway? Even if you didn’t have enough money to go very far, they should have taken the line west as far as the budget would have taken it. There would be more ridership and more development opportunities. I don’t understand.

  2. john says:

    Simple answer as to why they built the line is to encourage development in the only suburbs that don’t require building more bridges or tunnels. The evergreen also had a very expensive tunnel, but any future expansion east will be on the ground parallel to the CPR tracks, and will be some of the cheapest skytrain extensions Vancouver has ever built. So when it gets to Poco, the Poco extension will be a cheap addition for a lot of riders. Especially considering how many 5 story condo buildings they are building in downtown Poco, especially along the Coquitlam River.

    For me personally I’d love to see the millenium line extended to Cambie street, so I don’t have to switch to a bus to get to the airport. As far as I’m concerned the network for me will be done after that, it will take me everywhere I want to go.

    I think you (& translink) are mixing up boardings and riders. This inconsistency is annoying, but if you read each press release there is no foul play, just hard to follow. This is 30,000 riders a day. Not 30,000 boardings a day. Which is really impressive considering that is about 1 in 8 people living in the tri-cities. Remember there was NO bus service at all up Burke Mountain until a few months ago, and now that they have bus service, and it will take time for people to adjust their commute. Usually September is the time of year that most people make changes. This isn’t really a valid comparison to the Canada Line, as the Canada Line replaced bus service with train service, while the evergreen line technically did the same, but added feeder routes that never existed. The tri-cities was very underserved by buses, and a lot of areas had no service. This is the exact opposite of a situation like Tsawwassen which has way too much service, and isn’t even getting used. If I was in charge of Translink, I’d cancel the Tsawwassen busses and move them to the tri-cities.

    I’ve been riding the evergreen extension about twice a week since it opened. Never during rush hour. Mostly late evenings, and weekends. What I find interesting is how so many people take it only 2 or 3 stops. There are a lot of people that just take the train between Port Moody and Coquitlam Centre. If you do this to meet up with a friend for coffee, and then come home within 90(?) minutes, you don’t even have to pay for the return trip. The compass card doesn’t deduct anything on the return trip, as your whole trip is within their time window. This is really apparent as you approach Lougheed Mall, and realize most people that got on the train on the 1st couple of stops, have already disembarked, and the train is noticeably less busy than it was in Port Moody.

    Zwei replies: TransLink always uses boardings, never passengers because passengers tend to make multiple boardings. Even at 30,000 passengers a day, the line is grossly expensive for what it does.

    The transit line does not encourage development per se, rather it encourages land speculators to make big profits by having local councils up-zone assembled land!

    People take a few stops because the bus routes have been changed and from the reports I have had, the locals are very unhappy about it, a la South Delta when the Canada Line opened.

    Tsawwassen has piss poor service, my friend, 2 or three buses an hour and a forced transfer to the Canada Line to Vancouver is not what I call a good service. It’s long and tedious. By the way, Translink plays games with the schedule and most 601 buses in the peak do not travel their full route, rather they start at the South Delta Rec. Centre and those in Tsawwassen wishing to use a 601, must take a 602/3/or 4 and transfer at SDRC!

    There will never be any expansion East of the Evergreen Line, too expensive and ART SkyTrain, as we know it will be long discontinued and everything will have to be custom made.

  3. zweisystem says:

    The notion that SkyTrain will be expanded in the Tri Cities is a pipe dream. Broadway subway $3 billion; possible SkyTrain to Langley $$2.5 billion; possible SkyTrain to the North Shore $4 to $6 billion; oh yes, the rebuild of the Expo Line and Millennium Lines to allow more capacity $2 to $3 billion; LRT in Surrey $2 billion. Current provincial debt, including contractual obligations $170 billion. No, no extension to the Canada line in the Tri-Cities.

  4. T.S. says:

    I am one of those “u pass dollar a day riders”. Eat a d!ck Simon.

  5. Emily says:

    This article was down-voted into oblivation on Reddit. Still sitting at zero. Translink sure has the masses brainwashed. So many also believe SkyTrain is the greatest system and most advanced on the planet lol Yet how many are built?

    Zwei replies: Only 7, when ICTS was first marketed in 1978. Poor sales only 2 built, Detroit (single track loop) and Toronto’s Scarborough Line. Name was changed to Advanced Light Rail Transit, to counter the burgeoning success of modern LRT and only 1 was built and that was in Vancouver, which was forced upon the operating authority. The UDTC was sold to Lavalin and the named changed to Automated Light Metro (ALM) but Lavalin went bankrupt, in part trying to sell it to Bangkok. Bombardier bought the rights to ALM (though the newly formed SNC Lavalin retained the engineering patents) and 4 were built New York’s Port Authority (essentially an airport people mover financed by the Canadian government, Kuala Lumpor (which the already operating elevated light metro was not allowed to bid for because senior politicians wanted a monorail and thought SkyTrain was!); 1 in China (another people mover which was built to study the LIM tecnology); and a line in Korea, which only 1 car trains operate and the line is under litigation.

    ALRT/ART SkyTrain’s dismal history.

  6. Anton says:

    I am a former Vancouverite, who now lives in Seattle. To say that the Evergreen Line is doing poorly is a lack of perspective.

    Let’s compare it to Central Link, the first LRT line that opened in Seattle in July 2009.

    • Ridership was just short of 17,000 some 8 months after opening! Around half of the Evergreen line, and after people had time to adjust to taking it.
    ○ This is a line that covers both downtown, the airport and a string of residential neighborhoods! These are major nodes, yet it had poor ridership. The Evergreen extension performs spectacularly well, by comparison.
    ○ Seattle’s line was 22 km long with 13 stations when it opened while the Evergreen extension is about half of that at 10.9 km with 6 stations.
    • Because Seattle used light rail, it did not have to grade-separate the line everywhere. On MLK Way they decided to place the track in the middle of the road, in dedicated space with a special curb, but not in any way protected at intersections.
    ○ The result has been many collisions between road vehicles and the train, despite ample signage and bells.
    ○ The collisions often cause delays for hours, in which case people don’t wait for the system to be back up like when SkyTrain has a breakdown, but they get transferred to buses which can get stuck in traffic. (As there would be a police investigation on the tracks.)

    So one of the major requests from the transit community is to grade-separate this segment, making it elevated or underground.

    If you are going to build new right of way for transit, unless you are painting a bus lane, you are making a long-term investment and you want it to perform well for the long-term. You want it to be immune to high congestion, gridlock and related traffic incidents. To do so, you must have grade-separated right of way.

    And when you grade-separate light rail, Seattle has found, it costs as much as SkyTrain. It’s not the trains, track or signaling systems that are expensive, it’s the concrete, as it’s the most labor intensive portion of a project. So to say otherwise is ignorance.

    Within the transit community here, everybody looks up to Vancouver’s SkyTrain and scratches their heads how Vancouver got it so much more right than Seattle and did that 30 years ago. Especially the automated trains which are key for delivering high frequency off peak and enabling non-commute transit usage.

    Last year Seattle approved a new 62-mile expansion of light rail. So you may say, what a tremendous success for light rail technology? The caveat is that all of it is fully grade separated (so it’s really light metro with light rail trains) and it is going to cost $54 billion! This includes some extra bus service, but even with that this is astronomically expensive given they could have had fully automated SkyTrain instead.

    So, save yourself the trouble, and don’t diss SkyTrain where you already have it. And light rail for the valley? It may make sense for Surrey today, but you will wish you built SkyTrain in 30 years when Surrey downtown has a greater skyline than Vancouver. (You think that won’t happen? Show a picture of Vancouver to someone who hasn’t seen it for 30 years and they’d never believe it.)

    Zwei replies: Seattle’s LRT is indeed a light metro with over 90% of its R-o-W grade separated either on viaduct or in a tunnel.

    This mean’s Seattle’s light-metro is woefully underused for its costs and in about 20 years time, subway and viaduct maintenance bills are going to hamstring the transit authority with massive costs.

    As for signalling, with SkyTrain, there isn’t the ridership to justify the investment for ATC and that’s why it has large operating costs, higher than comparable light rail operations. Seattle’s light-metro is signaled at a maximum of 4 minute headway’s, with 4 car trains, which gives a capacity of over 18,000 pphpd, which will be good for many years to come.

    In the future, it can be resignalled to give higher capacities, if warranted.

    So, if Vancouver got it so right, why has no one (most recently Ottawa), not copied Vancouver?

    The fact is, Vancouver and Seattle have got it wrong and the taxpayer’s are paying for this grand mistake for decades.

    Collisions between cars and trains would end with severe penalties for those disobeying signals. If a tram driver is at fault he is fired or even charged, with a car driver a fine. How about a 5 year suspension for the first offense of a car driver disobeying a signal and causing an accident with a tram. it’s sad, in Europe car drivers do obey signals and do not have accidents with trams.

  7. Matcha says:

    Skytrain doesn’t need to be extended east of Coquitlam. West Coast Express already goes to there. I think it should become an all day service to Mission. They need their own tracks to do this.

    Anyways, Skytrain is a good service. It is not perfect but better than nothing. It is better to stay with one system to connect all the main areas of metro Vancouver. it is already there and lots of money have been spent on it. Sky train could be extended to UBC and Langley. There only need to be two more sky train extensions. The Expo line could be upgraded to increase capacity.

    Light rail should be used to serve less populated areas that connect to the sky train. Example: Guildford to Newton and White Rock. Langley to Chiliwack.

    Canada Line could be extended to south Delta.

    Zwei replies: The Canada line is not ALRT/ART SkyTrain and not compatible. I doubt Bombardier Inc. will continue with ART production in the near future as the mode is just too expensive. By the way, LRT has a greater capacity than SkyTrain.

  8. tory says:

    I’m confused at your estimate of 2000 pphpd. Are are using a peak hour to daily factor of 15? Is your unit of pphphd the average per hour passenger count? If so then you need to use 20 for the 20 hours it’s in operation (average assumed to be flattened demand). But usually the peak hour is the key statistic and not an average over the whole day. Transit use can be more peaky and so the peak hour is more descriptive, with a daily figure for context. Professional use peak hour to daily factors and so for this line the factor would be about 11 based on previous studies.

    The BC government (very thin) business case states a demand (undertaken by Stear Davies Gleave) of:

    Peak hour demand, 2021: 6,850
    Annual demand, 2021: 22,900,000

    So using 11, you get a daily passenger (or boarding if people only board once on the line) of just over 75,000 per day. This is higher than the 70,000 TransLink quotes for 2021. And the last thing they need is a higher projected benchmark because is much lower than their praised 30,000 mark.

    Sure 30,000 daily figure is for 2017. 2021 used to sound like it was a long time away when they started using this horizon year 30 years ago. It is now just 4 years away, so in 2017 the daily ridership should be closer to 55,000.

    It seems just reaching 55% of your goal is worth celebrating. Maybe the new benchmark is the comparison of your achievement to the farebox recovery rate. In that case the Evergreen line is exceeding expectations! It seems alternate facts are alive and well in Vancouver.

    Zwei replies: In the real world, which is ever diminishing, for the investment, the line should be carrying over 15,000 in the peak, it is nowhere near that and never will be. The Evergreen Line is grossly overbuilt for what it does and has hamstrung transit in other locals due to its high cost. No wonder light-metro is obsolete!

  9. tory says:

    Now now. 15,000 in the peak is a bit too much to ask. I would take half of that and call Evergreen a success.

    Isn’t it nice when you have actual ridership numbers forecast estimates? It helps to then judge whether a line is grossly overbuilt or not. I wish all rail studies had demand figures supporting a sound business plan…

    Zwei replies. The Evergreen Line has about 10% more ridership than the bus routes it replaced, which is about standard, hardly worth the investment. It is little wonder that TransLink has a cost per revenue passenger much higher than Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton.

  10. Matcha says:

    Evergreen extension is only a few months old. The riders will grow. Same thing happened to Canada line. It was low at beginning. Now it is overcrowded.

    When millennium line is extended to UBC. There will be one line from UBC to Coquitlam eliminating the need to transfer.

    Broadway in Vancouver will be quieter and cleaner. No more diesel buses. Only electric bus will operate just like on Granville street.

    Granville street used to be a noisy busy street with all those suburban diesel buses. The only bus on Granville street is a bendy electric bus. Clean and green now.

    Zwei replies: The Canada Line is crowded because it has limited capacity. Stations only have 40m long platforms (the Expo and Millennium Lines have stations with 80m platforms) and can operate trains 41m long. All Richmond and South Delta/Surrey buses must transfer their buses on the Canada line, which accounts for a great portion of its ridership. TransLink has a history of overstating ridership, yet with Compass Card, almost exact ridership can be calculated daily, yet TransLink only gives us percentage increases which are all but meaningless.

    The Millennium Line will not be extended to UBC, there isn’t the money to build it to Arbutus!

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