Seriously Deluded, Or…….?

Really? Is this the best we can expect from TransLink, deception?

Two quotes from TransLink CEO, Kevin Desmond, are very disturbing:

  1. Desmond called the Canada Line, which just celebrated its 10th anniversary, a “smart investment”.
  2. “But, he said, he hopes the region has learned that lesson, adding that “help is on its way” for the Canada Line in the form of larger cars being delivered next year which should increase capacity by 25 per cent.”

The Canada Line was one of former premier Campbell’s phony P-3 projects and eagerly applauded by the airport authority.

To curb spiraling costs, the scope of the project was cut back to a badly truncated mini-metro, costing around $2.4 billion (pus an additional $110 million or more operating cost, paid to the SNC Lavalin lead operating consortium annually). The Canada line with 40 metre long station platforms has roughly slightly more than half the capacity of the Expo and Millennium Lines, which station platforms are 80 metres in length.

Also ignored is that the Canadian and American standard for building a subway is a transit route with traffic flows exceeding 15,000 pphpd, yet the maximum capacity that can be achieved is around 9,000 pphpd. The Canada line was more a grift by the BC Liberal Party than a smart investment. The judge presiding over the Susan Heyes lawsuit against TransLink (failed on appeal) called the Canada line’s bidding process “a charade”.

As built, the Canada line has much less capacity than a modern tram or LRT line costing a fraction to build!

There are no new “larger cars” as quoted by Desmond, rather 3-car trains are said to be operated in the future and they will only be operated if all the station platforms are extended to 50 metres and still, there will be considerable overhang, which will be a safety concern.

This statement also ignores the fact that the maximum capacity of the Canada line is still around 9,000 pphpd and to further increase capacity beyond 9,000 pphpd, over $1.5 billion must be spent rebuilding every station with at least 80 metre long platforms and other necessary updates.

Just this summer, the city of Caen France opened a 16 km tramway costing CAD $373 million! Put another way, one can build 64 km of new tramway, based on the Caen model, compared to a no extension, capacity increase only $1.5 billion rehab!

Smart investment, you must be joking, Mr. Desmond.

As no other city or transit authority has copied building a truncated heavy-rail metro, as a light metro; especially when a further $1.5 billion or more must be spent in the future upgrading the line so capacity can match that of the present Expo and Millennium lines, shows TransLink CEO Chair, Kevin Desmond is completely out of touch with reality.

And please, stop pretending the Canada Line is successful, as the vast majority of its ridership comes from the fact all Richmond, South Delta/Surrey buses,  former Cambie St. and “Airporter” bus customers are now forced to transfer onto the Canada Line. The widely distributed U-Pass and the many post secondary institutions serviced by the route, means many customers are using this expensive service on the cheap.

What should embarrass him further is that the Canada line, internationally is considered a “white elephant”.

There is no future money for the Canada Line in sight and with TransLink’s current disastrous planning, with $4.6 billion being spent to extend the Expo and Millennium line a mere 12.8 km, means that there will be no extension of the Canada line until the remaining 25 years of the 35 year concession has ended and only if funding is sourced.

TransLink CEO, Kevin Desmond, is either deluded, or purposely deceiving the taxpayer at the behest of metro mayors and the provincial government.

Canada Line to Richmond ‘underbuilt:’ TransLink CEO

Maria Rantanen / Richmond NewsOctober 25, 2019

Vancouver International Airport CEO, Craig Richmond, challenged TransLink CEO, Kevin Desmond, to think big and build more trains in the region.

Think big, stay connected and work with your partners seemed to be the theme at “Metro Vancouver on the Move,” a panel discussion organized by the Richmond Chamber of Commerce last week, where the two CEOs were joined by the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s president and CEO, Robin Silvester.

Richmond pointedly told TransLink’s CEO to “be bold” with their transit expansion, for example, to not just dig the tunnel halfway to UBC.

“Find the money to do this, don’t go small, go big because infrastructure is such an enabler in so many ways,” he said. He added that, looking at the example of the Canada Line, there should be four or five times trains like that in the area.

To highlight the problems that inadequate transit cause for his sector, Richmond recounted that the owner of a YVR restaurant is paying for cabs for his employees to arrive early in the morning and leave late at night because of the lack of transportation options.

The airport is also able to transport crab to Brisbane in its refrigerated cargo planes, but if the crab can’t get to the airport because of congestion, it can’t get to Australia, he said. With the congestion on Russ Baker Way increasing, this could become a greater problem.

Twenty per cent of passengers flying out of YVR come to the airport with the Canada Line, which is low globally but very high by North American standards. But people living farther out who can’t access the Canada Line will get increasingly caught up in congestion to the airport.

“If they can’t get to the airport, we can’t put them on an airplane,” Richmond said.

TransLink’s Desmond agreed the airport, the transit authority and the port are “completely and utterly connected.”

In the past year, Richmond and Delta have seen a nine per cent increase in ridership, but only a four per cent increase in service, Desmond said.

He said lessons have been learned, for example, the Canada Line is an example of infrastructure whose use was under-estimated and under-planned.

Desmond called the Canada Line, which just celebrated its 10th anniversary, a “smart investment,” but he pointed out there was discussion at the time whether it should even be built.

“At the end of the day, we underbuilt it (…) we have to think bigger, we have to think 10, 20, 30, 40 years in advance,” Desmond said.

Those planning new transit often get caught up in their smaller municipalities, asking whether people will want new transit projects, what the local impact will be, but, in the end, the Canada Line is an example of how a project was too small already at opening.

But, he said, he hopes the region has learned that lesson, adding that “help is on its way” for the Canada Line in the form of larger cars being delivered next year which should increase capacity by 25 per cent.


One Response to “Seriously Deluded, Or…….?”
  1. Haveacow says:

    I find it funny that the head of your Transit agency kind of skips over one little fact, yes the Canada Line is under- built but had it not been under-built, there wouldn’t have been enough money to build the line in the first place! Which suggests a problem with the thinking, planning and basic goals behind the initial design and implementation of the entire project.

    However, one thing Zwei, a truncated Metro designed and built like a Light Metro is exactly what Montreal’s REM Network actually is. They however are building 80 metre long station platforms, so not as under-built as the Canada Line. The rolling stock are very short versions of the Alstom trainsets used on Sydney Australia’s new metro line.

    I still say though, when West-ilanders, South-Shorers and people from the north and north-west of Greater Montreal actually see these tiny stations and trains, remember they are used to 152 metre long metro trainsets, 150 metre long metro platforms and 200+ metre long commuter-rail trains and station platforms, combined with very little, if any station art, something a substantial number of Montreal’s population take great pride in, there will be trouble. I think a great many Montrealers will feel duped, by the REM and CDPQ Infra, resentful and definitely will feel as 2nd class passengers, compared to areas surved by the metro.

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