Surrey LRT News.

I think a tad optimistic.

Huge costs for what is basically an on-street/at-grade tram is staggering and it seems TransLink has pulled out the stops to gold-plate this project, which has now become a road project, rather than a LRT project.

That no one with real experience in building with LRT has been involved, tells the tale; TransLink has designed Surrey’s LRT as a poor man’s SkyTrain, costing huge sums to build, but with little befits from the investment.

No wonder TransLink has an American CEO, as I think a Canadian CEO would be asking important questions and not pander to the SkyTrain crowd, as the present chap is doing.

Always with TransLink, zero steps forward and two steps back!


Rendering of a planned Surrey light rail train. (Photo:

Surrey mayor says transit deal means LRT could be running by 2021

New federal agreement unlocks $2.2B in TransLink cash to help pay for projects like Surrey light rail

SURREY ai??i?? Mayor Linda Hepner says a $4.1-billion funding deal between Ottawa and B.C. is ai???the step we were hoping

The 10-year agreement, announced Monday, unlocked the $2.2 billion in federal money that TransLink needs to complete the next phase of its vision to improve transportation in the region ai??i?? including 27 kilometres of light rail transit in Surrey.

Ottawa had previously promised to cover 40 per cent of project costs for phase two of the 10-year vision, which includes Surrey light rail.

B.C. had pledged to cover another 40 per cent, while TransLink and the regionai??i??s mayors would come up with 20 per cent.

See more: New federal deal unlocks $2.2B in TransLink cash

The agreement finally being signed means a major step forward in the transportation plan. Last month, Metro Vancouver mayors announced they would fill their $70-billion gap with increases to parking, transit fares and property taxes.

In a message to the Now-Leader on Monday, Hepner wrote the new deal is a ai???testament to the provincial governmentai??i??s

She expects construction to be fully underway in 2019, and said phase one of Surreyai??i??s LRT line could be running by 2021-22.

During the 2014 election, she pledged Surrey residents would be riding light rail by 2018.

See also: Mayor says light rail announcement for Surrey ai???final piece of puzzleai??i?? March 16, 2018


11 Responses to “Surrey LRT News.”
  1. Haveacow says:

    I wonder just how much of this cost is due to Risk mitigation. Take the Blue Line Metro extension in Montreal as an example. This 5.86 km, 6 station extension is going to cost a shade under $4 Billion. Wowsers! That’s $672 Million per km. Almost $1.1 Billion is just Risk mitigation measures. Risk mitigation is everything in this industry nowadays, more important for some than the actual construction of the project.

    One of the main reasons Public Private Partnerships are all the rage in rapid transit construction projects is that, it allows cities, provinces and the federal government to remove nearly all of the financial and legal risks associated with these projects from their books and transfer it to someone else. Usually for a fee or a payment plan over some years.

    Ottawa’s Confederation Line LRT project has been the unlucky recipient of a string of construction saftey accidents and WSIB safety notices especially, in regards to the tunnel construction site. The RTG (Rideau Transit Group) the company who is tasked with building and operating the line has insurance to deal with this issue. They put up with the constant bad press because they have no choice. Their insurance covers them so the whole process continues. It simply goes on because they were charged the legal maximum that construction insurance is allowed to be in Ontario. So the project had to absorb a massive insurance cost of almost $175 Million. There was no negotiating with the insurance company, this project has a lot of risk so they are instantly charged the maximum amount. No one is going to ask for less so construction companies had to absorb the cost. This is all part of Risk Mitigation.

    I know of 4 Ontario LRT and BRT projects where risk mitigation is over 20% of the total cost. They are all some form of P3 project so the local municipalities don’t have to have most of the project’s risk on the public’s books but some private company or group of companies collective books. I have no doubt that a significant proportion of the Stage 1 Surrey LRT Line cost is due to Risk mitigation.

    Europe has a nice system of laws that limit possible court action against public transit construction projects as well as mandating how much private companies can charge the government and their projects. This helps keep their costs down, it’s anti-democratic but it keeps costs down.

  2. Donald T says:

    Zwei replies: I am getting testy in my old age, but calling LRT a toy train and other silliness will just not get printed.

    For your information, an articulated tram has 2 to 3 times the capacity than a articulated bus. LRT costs about 30% more to build than a true BRT, which has no real benefits.

    You want to build a subway to Langley, let’s see now….at $600 million/km, who is going to pay?

  3. Haveacow says:

    Actually I’m just curious about what Donald T wrote.

    Anyway, BRT can be useful, yes it has to be real BRT and not an express bus with a couple kilometers of painted bus lanes and a mostly mixed traffic operation with really nice bus stops, for example Translink’s B Lines, (see “BRT Lite”).

    Real BRT can be very useful and it is not run at all like a “rail system with buses”, its run like a BRT system and has its own set of advantages and disadvantages compared to any type of rail system. I truly believe these people who keep saying these stupid statements, usually trying to show some type of bias against rail technology in general but LRT in particular, need to be set off on a ice flow for punishment or to take a class on what BRT really is and what it can actually do.

    One particular thing that the anti-LRT, so I’am pro BRT types need to know is what you have to build into any BRT system, to get the same capacity as compared to most stand alone LRT lines.

    If you want the same capacity as this:

    or this;

    You have to build this amount of BRT

    or these;

    This amount of BRT capacity just isn’t the same as most stand alone LRT lines.

    Zwei replies: It was a diatribe against LRT and that somehow, BRT is better, but best of all, would be a subway to Langley.

  4. Donald T says:

    Zwei likes to censor everyone. LRT is Linda’s toy. It was designed to keep people in Surrey. Linda has stated this many times in the media.

    BRT is already there as it called #96 bus. It is a limited stop express bus. It just needs some improvements to make it faster. Bus lanes and priority traffic lights would do that. Nicer bus stops would help too.

    In a way, bus #555 from Lougheed to Langley is a bit like BRT. It uses HOV lanes the entire way and takes 19 minutes. It connects with #66 Fraser valley express bus to Chilliwack.

    The pictures of BRT from @haveacow show separated bus lanes. They can start with painted lines and then make them separated with barriers. King George is 6 lane street. If reduced to 4 lanes for traffic and two separated for buses.

  5. Newton says:

    Calgary had another LRT accident today.

    LRT is such a wonderful dangerous service. Do you want that in Surrey?

    Zwei replies: LRT is so terrible that everyone builds with it. Logic please.

  6. Newton says:

    City of surrey is asking for public input on LRT.

  7. Haveacow says:

    This is from an news report giving the final details about how many jobs and buses will not be needed in OC Transpo’s post Stage 1 LRT Confederation Line operating environment here in Ottawa. This shows the public about how many people our articulated buses really hold. Each LRT train will have 2 cars and each 4 section car can hold 300 passengers at crush load, so 600 per train.

    Transpo won’t have to lay off as many bus drivers as they initially thought after the LRT system’s Confederation Line opens in November, transportation general manager John Manconi said Wednesday.

    Originally, Manconi estimated the department would need to give notice to 600 bus operators when the trains start to roll.

    Now that number is closer to 425

    “We’re doing a delicate balancing act in trying to minimize the number of layoffs we’re doing,” Manconi told the transit commission.

    The city estimates light rail will take about 170 to 180 buses off the road. One light rail train carries the same number of passengers as eight articulated buses. That means fewer operators, maintenance and support staff will be needed.

  8. Haveacow says:

    On street painted bus lanes don’t have a very high capacity because of driveways, interference from commercial loading zones, access need from on street parking.spots, interference from vehicles moving into other parallel lanes as well as vehicles illegally changing lanes especially approaching major intersections. These lanes also limit capacity as well as speed of the bus because of small lane widths on main roads. Most bus lanes for good effective BRT service needs to be at the least, 3.3 – 4 metres wide for higher speed and preventing mirror strike.

    If the lanes are not physically segregated by some barrier then police must actively patrol the lanes at peak hours, so that cars and trucks can’t breach them. I know of no major police force in Canada that has enough manpower to do this effectively while doing all the other things that they have to do.

    On street bus lanes have extended layover time at stations because the inferior widths along with poor site visibility means bus drivers have to be careful re-entering the vehicle stream so in coming buses don’t hit them. Buses can also accidentally block other buses due to a lack of a passing lane at stations. Pedestrian movement at intersections near BRT stations are distracting at the best of times, the minimum protection for pedestrians at these on street locations foce bus operators to slow down and extend their stop times even more. Don’t get me started on intersections and their optimization.

    All this drives capacity down to 3000-4500 passengers/hour/direction and bus volumes to pathetically low amounts like 30-45 buses/hour/direction on these on street bus lanes. If volumes exceed this level backing up and bunching of buses will occur. Then total bus run times strart to greatly increase. Sounds familiar! At this point real vehicle and routing management needs to happen. Something TransLink refused to do on Broadway opting for an overly expensive tunnel. Having seen this with my own eyes simple management could have stalled the need for this really expensive tunnel for quite a few years, while passenger levels could have been much higher greatly increasing the efficiency of the Broadway extension, up from the pathetic level it is at now.

  9. Haveacow says:

    @Newton yesterday, May 16, 2018, the Skytrain network had 14 signal failures in a 24 hour period. Mainly due to age of the signal equipment and cable connection issues. This was a bad day and usually only 3-4 signals fail a day. How come that little ditty isn’t in the news. You are worried that a street level LRT line will spawn some traffic accidents. Nearly all of which are caused by the car drivers.

    Each time a signal fails passengers are potentially put in danger. Thankfully the Cityflo operating system can deal with this most of the time. If it can’t the line stops and shuts down. Break downs are increasing however! I know this because a friend of mine just got the contract from TransLink to begin the engineering assessment process to upgrade the signal equipment and cable connections. Complete upgrades to the signal system will take a decade or more and will most likely involve many extended shutdowns of various sections of the Expo Line, especially since no money has been budgeted yet to do the big fixes and upgrades.

    But go ahead, and build an extension of the Expo line to Langley at anywhere between $250-$400 million a kilometre for the concrete above grade structures. That by the way doesn’t include the running slab the track sits on or the track and signaling/communication system, the stations or the satellite maintenance and storage facility a Langley extension will need.

  10. Haveacow says:

    A nice video of the first multiple LRV Consist under going testing for the Confederation Line.

  11. zweisystem says:

    Thank you Mr. Cow, for a series of extremely informative information.

    It is very easy to toss around terms, such as BRT and not know the facts.

    This is what we lack in metro Vancouver, the facts to make the right decisions.