Rail folks find study biased in favour of rapid bus

Rail folks find study biased in favour of rapid bus


The provincial government’s shelving of light rail from Chilliwack to Surrey in the long-awaited Fraser Valley Transit Study (FVTS) is “biased,” “misleading,” and full of “flaws and errors,” according to the Rail for the Valley advocacy group.

Proponents of the inter-urban rail line from Chilliwack to Surrey released an in-depth analysis of the FVTS on Monday. The FVTS was a long-awaited study by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to plan transit for the Fraser Valley for the next 25.

The FVTS, which was released in December, found that commuter rail services from Chilliwack to Surrey would cost too much to implement and operate and would not have the ridership needed.

Instead, the province has proposed an express bus services between Chilliwack and Abbotsford.

But John Buker, spokesperson for Rail for the Valley, said the FVTS puts projected boardings per day for daily interurban services between Chilliwack and Abbotsford at a maximum of 250 passengers. However, for equivalent express bus services 800 boardings is projected.

“By digging a little under the surface, one discovers shockingly that the report is actually assuming a regional bus service would attract more than triple the number of passengers of an equivalent light rail service,” Buker said.

Rail for the Valley (RFTV) hired a British light rail form, Leewood Projects, which concluded in a September 2010 report that “an Interurban passenger service could be achieved in the Fraser Valley at relatively low cost due to the already existing track, and recommended early implementation.”

The group said the ministry’s calculation of $18.6 million per kilometre for track repairs is based on heavy rail, not light rail, which would be closer to $5 million per kilometre.

“The ministry study is reactive ‘rubber tire’ planning that in fact promotes urban sprawl, while light rail encourages sustainable growth along the corridor and attracts new riders who choose to leave their cars at home or at a station,” RFTV said in a press release.

“The many errors in the data and conclusions of this report are simply too numerous to list. For the most part, the new study is exactly what was always expected, highly polished and designed simply to discredit light rail, and push Victoria’s agenda for rapid bus implementation for the Fraser Valley.”

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