A Cost Comparison of Transportation Modes

Screenshot 2024-01-02 at 08-29-11 (PDF) A Cost Comparison of Transportation Modes

A Cost Comparison of Transportation Modes

The 2009 study by UBC Professor Patrick Condon, the James Taylor chair in Landscape and Livable Environments at the University of British Columbia’s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture and the founding chair of the UBC Urban Design program can be read by clicking on the title.

Though the SkyTrain light metro line may have a lower operating cost (TransLink does a wonderful job of manipulating numbers), the total Costs per Passenger-Mile are exceedingly large. As the SkyTrain light metro system ages, so do the total passenger-mile costs.

It is also worth remembering that TransLink was in partnership with Bombardier to sell SkyTrain abroad!

In 2009 one US Dollar was worth approximately  CAD $2.80  (based on a $1.05 exchange rate) and in today’s money $3.86.

What is even more telling is the cost per trip of USD $12.34 per passenger mile or CAD $12.95 or $17.02 in today’s money.

Screenshot 2024-01-02 at 08-55-55 (PDF) A Cost Comparison of Transportation Modes

This study tends to be the studies which transit authorities read before making a choice of mode and product and as one can see, SkyTrain is extremely expensive for what it does. also it is wise to remember that light rail has a higher capacity than SkyTrain, something Toronto’s TTC found our in 1982!


2 Responses to “A Cost Comparison of Transportation Modes”
  1. Haveacow says:

    I’m skeptical of graphics like that because they don’t make allowances for vehicle capacity. Cost per unit length of travel (miles, km’s) will always favor the private vehicle.

    Although what was interesting was the difference in LRT, BRT and Skytrain costs.because of the relative size/passenger capacity of the vehicles. Due to the growth in length of the individual LRV’s (Light Rail Vehicle) by nearly all of the most popular LRV manufacturers plus the increased tendancy to use multi-vehicle LRT trains in general use, which gives most of the operating LRT trains the same or greater passenger carrying capacity than the Skytrain or equivalent Light .Metro products. Six out of eight of the major LRV builders also offer modular inserts to increase the length of the individual existing LRV, something you just can’t do with buses or Skytrains. These modular additions can easily be added to your existing fleet at the operators main maintenance yard, not requiring the vehicle to be sent away to a factory somewhere else.

    There was one Light Metro product that can and does do modular inserts to increase the length of the individual Light Metro vehicle however you do have to send it away to a factory to do the work. The vehicle is the Light/Heavy Metro train built by Alstom. The vehicle can be manned or driver less. This is the vehicle used in Montreal for the REM in Montreal and other full Metro systems like Cairo and Sydney Australia, its called the Metropolis. It can’t use LIM propulsion! It must use standard electric motors.

    This is Important to Consider

    If you are Alstom what products would you promote, a in-house adjustable length, Light and Heavy capable Metro EMU that can be used in both manned or unmanned operations, rubber tire or steel wheel configuration, operating in 4,6,8 and even 10 car trains, using all in house technology with over 4000 vehicles delivered to 50+ operators with hundreds of recent orders still to be filled. Or do you promote a Light Metro product using an unusual propulsion system, an automation operating system that is no longer being serviced by anyone, that only has 5 other operating examples built by a former competitor (whom you now own) and directly competes with your more successful not to mention more easily scalable (that’s a critical one by the way) Light/Heavy Metro product.

    Zwei replies: I have been told that TransLink and the provincial MoT are very worried about future MALM procurement, even specialized parts which evidently are patented and cannot be produced elsewhere. This even may effect any extension of the Millennium Line to UBC!

    TransLink’s poor man’s BRT is also falling on a a deaf note as the time savings is not all that much – 6 to 8 minutes nd that will be eaten up in transfer time. TransLink’s BRT is not what was promised. My opinion is that Premier Eby, will promise the moon and the stars for the next election, hoping that in the end Poilieve, if elected, will pull funding on rapid transit so he can blame it on him.

  2. Tech says:

    This chart compares the cost of sky train to the cost of Toyota Prius. Sky train is $12 per trip and a prius is $9 per trip.

    In Vancouver area, you can rent a Toyota Prius by the minute from BCAA. This is a type of public transit. The cars are shared by the public. It is cheaper than paying for parking in downtown Vancouver.

    Maybe Translink should partner with BCAA and bring car share to all of Metro Vancouver.

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