The Mayors Council’s Tunnel Vision

It is hard to believe, that group of hapless politicians have just signed a death warrant for transit in the region.

The Mayors Council on Transit just gave the OK to build a SkyTrain subway to UBC, which means the rest of the region can kiss goodbye to any sort of credible transit planning for the foreseeable future.

Subways are expensive to build but they are also very expensive to operate and in Canada, the standard for building a subway is a transit route with customer flows in excess of 15,000 pphpd.

Broadway currently has peak hour customer flows of around 4,000 pphpd.

This means a $7 billion dollar SkyTrain subway, will be not just heavily subsidized, it will be massively subsidized which means higher fares and much higher taxes. The poor and the middle income residents of metro Vancouver will have to flee the region due to a huge tax burden.

More people will  be moving up the valley, which in turn will put a massive stress on transportation infrastructure in the Fraser Valley.

The mayors that voted for this will go down in history as the most ignorant band of fools yet.

From the TTC, we learn that the operating costs for a subway to Arbutus are in the neighborhood of $40 million annually, and probably $50 million annually if it goes to UBC. But these cost escalate in time as the subway ages.

After all the hype and hoopla of the Expo line, BC Transit became very worried with the huge subsidies being paid.
The politicians lead the people to believe that it was paying for itself, then paying its operating costs but in 1992 the GVRD and BC Transit release “the Coast of Transporting People……” and showed that the annual subsidy for SkyTrain, just to operate to New Westminster was $157 million and change; more than the trolley and diesel buses combined.
But let us factor in the inflation rate of 157.63 million in 1982 is now $371.52 in 2019 dollars and that is for a largely elevated system.
With Broadway, the vast majority of users will be $1 a day U-Pass holders which means the subway will not generate revenue.
The total subsidy for just a Broadway subway to UBC could be higher than $300 annually!
Forget the pleasant homilies about transit and SkyTrain, the Broadway subway may not only bankrupt TransLink, it may never see a revenue customer! In Charleroi, France, politicians, against the advise of experts, built a regional metro, the costs were so high that there was no money to pay for operation and it remains today almost completed, but never used and has lain rotting with age for over twenty years!
The mayor’s council’s decision has just demonstrated to the world how stupid they are.

The Charleroi Metro, built but no budget to operate it, it remains largely built, yet never used.

TransLink’s Mayors’ Council chooses SkyTrain for UBC expansion

by Estefania Duran, Marcella Bernardo and Ash Kelly

Posted Feb 15, 2019

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – It’s one giant leap forward for SkyTrain to UBC: TransLink’s Mayors’ Council voted to move forward with SkyTrain as the chosen technology to get rapid transit to the university.

The earliest construction would start is 2025 and only if the project receives funding under Phase Three of the mayors’ ten-year transportation plan. The project is expected to have a price tag of more than $3-billion.

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart is calling this great news for students, workers, educators and businesses across the region.

Regional Mayors just voted yes to move forward with #SkyTrain to UBC! This is great news that will help keep students, workers, educators and businesses moving right across the region. #vanpoli

— Kennedy Stewart (@kennedystewart) February 15, 2019

TransLink Planner Geoff Cross says the next phase includes a lot of public consultation.

“Project planning still to be done is really around station locations, horizontal alignment, vertical alignment, connections, costing to be able for you to understand where this fits, what the business case looks like for future funding decisions,” he adds.

That process is expected to last up to 18 months with a full business plan developed by 2020.

Cross says other factors needing to be considered include the best construction method.

“The next phase would include quite a bit of public and stakeholder consultation, working with the City of Vancouver, syncing up with some of their land use and corridor planning, understanding what the technical and functional requirements for tunnelling, etc. could be.”

Concerns have also been raised about which company will be chosen to build the new SkyTrain considering recent problems being faced by one of the bidders SNC Lavalin.

Protecting renters long new route

Although Vancouver councillor Jean Swanson says she’s in favour of better transit, she says it shouldn’t be at the expense of low-income renters.

She says there are thousands of apartment units along the new SkyTrain route that should be protected.

“I’m not against having better transit, but I am afraid there’s 30,000 purposed built apartment units, they desperately need to be protected from being demolished and replaced with higher density condos,” she says.

Swanson hopes the city can re-zone the areas to be rental-only to protect renters.


2 Responses to “The Mayors Council’s Tunnel Vision”
  1. Causa Causans says:

    We are constant amazed with this subway fixation that has taken hold of you politicians.

    Subways are very expensive affairs and those mid life rebuilding hobbles a lot of cities abilities to provide good public transit.

    We are also amazed how unread people are, wanting subways. Well very soon they will be a curse.

    It is common knowledge that many cities want to do away with their subways as they are a huge drain on resources. Prague is relaying a tram line on top of a subway that replaced the earlier tram line because the people did not like the inconvenience of a subway.

    We see on the internet that many non experts are planning transportation and this is very dangerous precedent, with claims that are just not true.

    Only the major conurbations in the world need subways and even then to he cost of subways put a strain ion taxes.

    We are in awe a such decisions how so few people can make such bad decisions that will affect so many.

  2. Haveacow says:

    Though I’m not as much gloom and financial catastrophe as Zwei is, it will be very difficult for Translink to finance this project and an Expo Line extension anywhere near Langley, fulfil all the needed regular maintenance and then do upgrades to an existing Expo Line. The existing line already which has 20+ km of aging infrastructure that currently is already in need significant technological upgrades that Translink can’t afford.

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