A Renewed Call For Judicial Inquiry on TransLink and the Mayor’s Council on Transit

November 22, 2022The Hon. David Eby, Q.C. Attorney General, The Province of BC.Dear Sir,

A renewed call for a Judicial Inquiry on TransLink and the Mayor’s Council on Transit with the proposed SkyTrain Broadway subway and the SkyTrain extension in Surrey to Langley.

I am writing to you on the above matter.

The Broadway subway.

On January 28, 2019 I emailed you a letter with my concerns with TransLink and the Mayor’s Council on Transit, with questionable if not dishonest practices for the continued building of SkyTrain and the proposed Broadway subway.

On February 5, 2019 I received a reply from the Mayor’s Council and TransLink , which did nothing more than defend their bias for SkyTrain, with answers that were highly questionable.

It is now late 2021 and with growing environmental concerns, combined with escalating costs, TransLink remains morribound, doing little, except spending the taxpayer’s money with great abandon and achieving very little.

The same argument remains for the now over $3 billion, 5.8 km Broadway subway as there is not the ridership on Broadway to sustain a subway, especially a subway to nowhere!

The Proprietary Movia Automatic Light Metro

What we call SkyTrain, is the name of the regional light-metro system and not the actual trains used.

Metro Vancouver’s SkyTrain light-metro system consists of two different railways; the Canada Line which is a conventional railway and the Expo and Millennium Lines, which are an unconventional railway. This correspondence concerns the Expo and Millennium Lines.

 The first trains used on the Expo Line were developed by the then Province of Ontario’s Crown Corporation, the Urban Transit Development Corporation or UTDC to mitigate the high cost of subway construction in Toronto. Called Intermediate Capacity Transportation System or ICTS, the proprietary railway used cast off technology, including the “attractive, Linear Induction Motors (LIM’s)” from the ill fated Krauss Maffei Transurban MAGLEV system. ICTS was designed to bridge the gap of what a Toronto streetcar could carry and the traffic flows that would demand a subway.

1 KraussKrauss Maffei’s ill-fated Transurban Maglev on a test track in Ontario.


The problem for ICTS was that modern light rail had just come onto the market and proved to have a higher capacity than ICTS at a much cheaper cost. Only two ICTS systems were built in Detroit and Toronto’s Scarborough Rapid Transit line or SRT. There were no other sales.

A political deal between the Province of BC and the Province of Ontario, saw the name changed from ICTS to Advanced Light Rail Transit or ALRT (to take advantage of the popularity of LRT) and the proprietary railway was forced on the Greater Vancouver Regional District and BC Transit for what became the Expo Line, by the former Social Credit government.

Obsolete before it opened, there was no international interest for the proprietary railway.

The UTDC and ALRT was sold to Lavalin, which went bankrupt trying to build the again rebranded Automatic Light Metro or ALM, in Bangkok, Thailand.

Bombardier purchased the remains of the UTDC and ALM and completely rebuilt the proprietary railway, using their Innovia body shells and marketed the proprietary railway as Advanced Rapid Transit or ART. Only four such systems were built, with two now involving Bombardier and SNC Lavalin (SNC amalgamated with the bankrupt Lavalin) in criminal proceedings, including bribery.

Bombardier again rebranded ART to Innovia Light Metro and again with no sales, finally rebranding the proprietary light metro as Movia Automatic Light Metro or MALM.

Despite TransLink’s claims to the contrary, both Bombardier and SNC Lavalin held patents for the proprietary railway. Alstom has now purchased Bombardier’s rail division including MALM (and patents).

The future’s looking bleak as Vancouver is the sole customer for MALM.

Alstom, is the only company with an existing functional design for the train’s propulsion system which they didn’t design as Alstom have two propulsion systems of their own light-metro systems that directly compete with the MALM’s existing LIM Propulsion system.

It now looks certain that Asltom will cease production of MALM in 2025 when Toronto’s SRT and Detroit’s ICTS close for good and that last paid orders for cars will be completed.

Despite misleading statements from TransLink and the Mayor’s Council on Transit, the Movia Automatic Light Metro is an unconventional proprietary railway that has only one supplier. No other company produces an “in production” or off the shelf compatible vehicle.

Translink redacts the names and bids of the underbidders for MALM cars and one wonders if there were competing bids or a proper bidding process took place?

 

ALRTA 1983 advertisement for ALRT, trying to capitalize on the success of classic LRT,

which fooled no one.Only seven such systems were built in total.

As ICTS, ALRT, ALM and ART were the same product, when did MALM cease to be a proprietary railway?

The answer, despite TransLink’s protestations, it did not cease to be a proprietary railway.

The problem with TransLink is that you can never believe what it says; TransLink never produces a report based on the same set of assumptions.”

Former West Vancouver Clr. Victor Durman, Chair of the GVRD (now METRO) Finance Committee.

The Broadway Subway

The North American standard for building a subway is having a transit route with traffic flows in excess of 15,000 pphpd. Current peak hour transit customer flows along Broadway are less than 4,000 pphpd, thus there is no justification for a subway.

In addition, the budgeted cost and funding of $2.83 billion for the subway may escalate past $3 billion as subways are notorious for cost overruns and are not good at attracting new ridership.

From the onset, the Broadway subway was being planned strictly for political prestige and civic pride; not to improve the regional public transit network.

The Expo Line Extension to Langley

There has been a change in scope for the Expo Line Extension Project to Langley, from 2 stages into a single stage project due to escalating costs.

The cost to go 7 km to Fleetwood was around $1.69 Billion to $1.72 Billion, exceeding the $1.63 Billion budget and why it is now combined into a single stage project.  According to the second stage of Translink’s 10 year funding plan and the Rapid Transit Funding Agreement for the Surrey LRT Line, roughly $165 Million of that $1.63 Billion was coming from some past but mostly future tax and fee revenues (2018-2028 period).

TransLink’s local fuel taxes, development charges, parking fees, property tax increases as well as targeted amounts of TransLink’s own passenger revenues were to help fund roughly 8.6% of the $7.3 Billion Second Stage of the 10 year funding plan, roughly $627.8 Million in total. This plan included the Broadway Millennium Line Extension to Arbutus, the Surrey LRT Line and many, many other smaller capital programs. So far, the TransLink funding for the Broadway extension is unaffected. However, because of the pandemic, TransLink is short $78.8 Million in planned revenues from 2019 and 2020 (their figures not mine), 2021 is not done yet and it may take years for TransLink revenues to return to pre-pandemic levels. So it’s not $1.63 Billion in existing rapid transit funding, it’s actually around $1.55 Billion and dropping.

A new business case and a new funding plan is needed for the Expo Line extension and it will take 2 to 3 years to redo this process: No business case, no funding plan. TransLink isn’t even involved in the project management anymore, as it is now a provincially run project.

Further; If TransLink does not have the new business plan and business case scenarios completely done by March 2022 at the absolute latest, then expect a 10%-25% cost increase across the board, over last July’s estimate!

 This is not good news for the Surrey Extension.

The UBC Millennium Line Extension

 TransLink must also begin serious final planning and engineering on the second stage of the Broadway Millennium Line extension from Arbutus to UBC by 2024, if construction is to begin in 2026.

The estimated cost of this extension project is between $4.98 to $5.12 Billion for the planned 7.3 km long tunnel and above grade structure into UBC, that’s right now, 2021.

The actual date of final bidding and procurement will determine its actual final cost, when that is complete the final total will be known. The cost of the Broadway Millennium Line extension from Arbutus to UBC is predicted to be between $4.98 and $5.12 Billion and the cost is growing between $158 to $164 Million every year due to the current estimate of inflation. August’s inflation rate was 4.1% and recent news reports have this figure climbing higher.

This does not include inflationary costs of construction materials, which is usually considerably higher than the basic inflation rate. Structural concrete prices increases alone, could add anywhere from $36 Million to $55 Million per year on top of just the basic inflation.

The question facing TransLink and the province is whether they pay $2.65 Billion, or more, for the Langley project or wait and fund $3.77 Billion for UBC extension, both will not be funded at the same time.

There has been no meaningful public input allowed by Translink and the Mayor’s Council on Transit and the public has all but been shut out of this growing transit debacle.

TransLink’s Anti-LRT Bias

TransLink continues to use the cunning method of manipulating analysis to justify SkyTrain in corridor after corridor, and thus succeeds in keeping its proprietary rail system expanding.
 
Gerlad Fox, retired TriMet (Portland Oregon) engineer
 
1L3
A modern tram operating as LRT in Paris France.
The ongoing anti LRT bias by Translink has cost taxpayers Billions of dollars more for a product that has crippled the region’s ability to provide a user friendly and affordable public transit system. This is extremely important; the continued building of  light-metro will greatly hamper the province’s ability to adhere to goals in reducing greenhouse gases in the current climate emergency we are now facing.
 
Contrary to the many false claims and man of straw arguments presented by TransLink, LRT costs much less to build, costs less to maintain, costs less to operate and has a higher capacity than the present SkyTrain light-metro system in Vancouver! This is the reason that MALM and its predecessors have failed to find a market and internationally the proprietary light metro has been deemed obsolete! Only seven such systems built since the early 1980’s, compares very poorly with the over two hundred new build light rail lines built during the same period.
 
The claim that LRT can only carry about 7,200 persons per hour per direction on Broadway is laughable, as it is dishonest. In Europe many city tram systems offer peak hour capacity in excess of 20,000 pphpd on portions of their lines. The claim of LRT’s limited capacity is false and because of this, many billions of dollars more is being spent on light-metro due to manufactured information by TransLink.
 
Comparing a surface LRT line with stations that have half the capacity and length of SkyTrain light-metro stations will not compare favorably. A surface BRT or LRT system that runs at lower frequency than SkyTrain light-metro in a tunnel will also not compare well.
 
As long as each technology is operated in a different right of way type at different operating frequencies means any result is biased. Unless TransLink actually studies both BRT and LRT running in the same environment and frequency as SkyTrain, those studies will be biased.

Both BRT and LRT do operate in tunnels and LRT can easily operate in any tunnel that SkyTrain operates in because the original body width design for the SkyTrain cars were based on easily available tram body frame and body shell widths. The power collection method of the SkyTrain, 3rd rail, can be easily put on any Light Rail Vehicle design and there have been electric buses operating from 3rd rail, although it’s only been done in a small number of prototype vehicles 3 or 4 decades ago. Modern electric bus technology makes this point meaningless. Both diesel hybrid and electric buses, including trolley buses, can operate in tunnels cheaply and easily.

Alstom, as mentioned above, may abandon MALM production altogether as soon as 2025.

A Judicial Inquiry Is Needed

TransLink quite happily lets people believe that Broadway was the “most heavily used transit route in Canada“, but after being caught out with this exaggeration, they quietly state “This is our region’s most overcrowded bus route.”

Also not mentioned, according to the Toronto Transit Commissions experience with subways; subways tend to “sanitize” businesses along its route, except at stations.

Overcrowding on the Broadway B-Line is a management issue, which has been cunningly manipulated to demand a subway on a transit route with a fraction of the ridership needed to justify building a subway.

It is certain that the Broadway subway to Arbutus will exceed the $2.83 billion budget and the real cost may now exceed $3 Billion.

Like the Canada Line subway going over budget, TransLink and the Mayors Council will have to abandon other transit projects; cannibalize the bus system; or reduce the scope of the project. To reduce the cost of the Broadway subway, cut-and-cover construction may be employed, to the detriment to adjacent businesses as what happened on Cambie Street.

 

cut & cover

Will escalating costs for the Broadway subway mean that cut and cover construction will be again employed?


The Expo line extension to Surrey is another example of political flim flam, where the current mayor of Surry claimed he could build the Expo Line to Langley for $1.65 billion. Despite major evidence to the contrary, Translink, the Mayor’s Council and silence from the government in Victoria, kow-towed to his wishes .

Today, the cost to extend the Expo Line to Langley has now surpassed $4 billion and has been delayed to 2028 or later.

Is the Langley extension now being planned strictly to meet political needs, due to the Premier’s political promise in the 2020 provincial election?

MALM is far too expensive to extend to Langley, as light-metro is a strictly urban transit system and not a suburban one. The light-metro’s operating costs will greatly escalate, while attracting very few new customers to transit.

By building both the $3 billion and counting Broadway subway, the $4 billion and counting Expo Line extension to Langley, and the never talked about but much needed $3 billion mid life rehab of the Expo and Millennium Lines, which much be done before the Langley extension can be completed, means the province and TransLink must source a minimum of $7.2 billion or 60% of the total cost to complete both projects and 100% of the cost for the much needed rehab.

This does not include any funding for the proposed $5 billion and counting UBC extension of the Millennium Line.

As mentioned above, the Langley extension may be deferred until after the much more politically prestigious Broadway subway is completed to UBC. With Alstom ceasing production of MALM, LRT will be the only choice to connect to Langley, twenty years after the present Mayor of Surrey cancelled the original LRT project!

Building more SkyTrain light-metro, will ensure the province does not meet the government’s lofty global warming targets and instead may force new road and highway construction, creating more congestion, more gridlock and more CO2 emissions!

A Judicial Inquiry of TransLink, the TransLink Board and the Mayor’s Council is needed now. A Judicial Inquiry is needed to bring honest planning and fiscal responsibility back to Metro Vancouver and to bring back public confidence in regional planning and the regional political process.The failure to do so will have dire political, economic, and environmental consequences lasting well into the next century.

 

Comments

10 Responses to “A Renewed Call For Judicial Inquiry on TransLink and the Mayor’s Council on Transit”
  1. Haveacow says:

    Here are a few suggested fixes. In a legal document always use ranges never absolutes if you don’t have anything less than 100% certainty.

    The following lines need to be amended

    The Broadway Subway

    1. The North American standard for building a subway is having a transit route with traffic flows in excess of 15,000 pphpd. Current peak hour transit customer flows along Broadway are less than 4,000 pphpd, thus there is no justification for a subway.

    It should read as:

    The threshold for the North American standard for building a subway (below grade right of way) from the Institute of Traffic Engineers, should ideally have a transit route with passenger flows in the range of 8,000-15,000 pphpd (people per hour per direction). The surface right of way must also be in a traffic flow environment that makes any surface alteration, excessively difficult or impossible. The current peak hour transit customer flow along Broadway is slightly less than or about equal to 4,000 pphpd, thus there is no justification for a subway. Broadway has 6 very wide traffic lanes, 3.5 -3.8 metres or 11.5-12.5 feet for each. Two of these lanes are already used as painted bus lanes, 4 lanes are used for general traffic. Considering the standards for both North America and Europe, there is more than enough space for surface BRT or LRT services travelling in a reserved physically segregated centre median or curb lanes. There are many surface transit traffic management solutions presently being used throughout North America that, Translink could have used instead of building an expensive tunnel, until ridership rose up to a point where a tunnel would be more realistically, needed.

    The Expo Line Extension to Langley

    There has been a change in scope for the Expo Line Extension Project to Langley, from 2 stages into a single stage project due to escalating costs.

    2. The cost to go 7 km to Fleetwood was around $1.69 Billion to $1.72 Billion, exceeding the $1.63 Billion budget and why it is now combined into a single stage project. According to the second stage of Translink’s 10 year funding plan and the Rapid Transit Funding Agreement for the Surrey LRT Line, roughly $165 Million of that $1.63 Billion was coming from some past but mostly future tax and fee revenues (2018-2028 period).

    Should read as:

    The cost to go 7 km to Fleetwood was budgeted to cost $1.63 Billion but due to inflationary costs, as noted by independent experts, inflationary pressures forced increases in price somewhere between, $1.69 Billion to $1.72 Billion. Thus exceeding the $1.63 Billion budget and forcing the project from a two stage project into a single stage project. None of this was until recently, made public.

    According to the second stage of Translink’s 10 year funding plan and the Rapid Transit Funding Agreement for the Surrey LRT Line, roughly $165 Million (Translink’s portion) of that $1.63 Billion was coming from some past but mostly future tax and fee revenues (2018-2028 period).

    3. However, because of the pandemic, TransLink is short $78.8 Million in planned revenues from 2019 and 2020 (their figures not mine), 2021 is not done yet and it may take years for TransLink revenues to return to pre-pandemic levels. So it’s not $1.63 Billion in existing rapid transit funding, it’s actually around $1.55 Billion and dropping.

    Should read as:

    However, because of the pandemic, the TransLink funding model is already short $78.8 Million in planned revenues from the 2018 to 2028 period for the entire second stage of the 10 year funding plan and it may take years for TransLink revenues to return to pre-pandemic levels. This means that, if the entire funding shortfall is translated to the Surrey to Langley Skytrain extension project, the amount of available funding has now dropped from $1.63 Billion to around $1.55 Billion. If the funding is retained for this project, the difference must be made up in the many other smaller projects that were outlined in Stage 2 of the 10 year spending plan. The new CEO of Translink has made it it clear that a new 10 year funding plan is now in development as of early July 2021.

    4. TransLink’s local fuel taxes, development charges, parking fees, property tax increases as well as targeted amounts of TransLink’s own passenger revenues were to help fund roughly 8.6% of the $7.3 Billion Second Stage of the 10 year funding plan, roughly $627.8 Million in total. This plan included the Broadway Millennium Line Extension to Arbutus, the Surrey LRT Line and many, many other smaller capital programs. So far, the TransLink funding for the Broadway extension is unaffected.

    Should read as:

    TransLink’s local fuel taxes, development charges, parking fees, property tax increases as well as targeted amounts of TransLink’s own passenger revenues were to help fund roughly 8.6% of the $7.3 Billion Second Stage of the 10 year funding plan, roughly $627.8 Million in total. This plan included the Broadway Millennium Line Extension to Arbutus, the Surrey LRT Line and many, many other smaller capital programs.

    A correction: the Arbutus Extension of the Milennium Line already had no local Translink component, it was completely funded by the province and feds. This is why I eliminated it.

    5. Further; If TransLink does not have the new business plan and business case scenarios completely done by March 2022 at the absolute latest, then expect a 10%-25% cost increase across the board, over last July’s estimate!

    Should read as:

    Further; If TransLink does not have the new business plan and business case scenarios completely done by March 2022 at the absolute latest, then expect a 10%-25% cost increase across the board, over last July’s $3.95 Billion estimate!

    The UBC Millennium Line Extension

    6. The question facing TransLink and the province is whether they pay $2.65 Billion, or more, for the Langley project or wait and fund $3.77 Billion for UBC extension, both will not be funded at the same time.

    Should read as:

    The question facing the province of BC is whether they pay $2.65 Billion, or more, for their portion of Langley project or wait and fund $3.77 Billion or more for their portion of the UBC extension, both will not be funded or should be funded, at the same time! The BC government should be honest and state this publicly. Traditionally the BC government has only been able to fund one Skytrain project at a time. Due to the current flooding emergency and its associated costs this policy should not change. Thus an expensive and potentially politically embarrassing
    decision must be made soon.

    Under the TransLink’s Anti-LRT Bias Section

    7. LRT costs much less to build, should say:

    LRT in Canada, depending on the type of right of way, can cost between 50%-60% less to build, can not only be easier but less costly to maintain, can and does definitely cost less to operate and in many existing Canadian cities as well as having a higher capacity than the present SkyTrain light-metro system in Vancouver!

    8. This is the reason that MALM and its predecessors have failed to find a market and internationally the proprietary light metro has been deemed obsolete!

    Should Say:

    The reason that MALM and its predecessors have failed to find a market internationally is that, this proprietary light metro has been deemed obsolete and overly expensive by many other rail operators!

    9&10. The claim that LRT can only carry about 7,200 persons per hour per direction on Broadway is laughable, as it is dishonest. In Europe many city tram systems offer peak hour capacity in excess of 20,000 pphpd on portions of their lines. The claim of LRT’s limited capacity is false and because of this, many billions of dollars more is being spent on light-metro due to manufactured information by TransLink.

    Comparing a surface LRT line with stations that have half the capacity and length of SkyTrain light-metro stations will not compare favorably. A surface BRT or LRT system that runs at lower frequency than SkyTrain light-metro in a tunnel will also not compare well.

    The planning information should have its own section with a separate title as well as cleaning up the comparison:

    The claim that LRT can only carry about 7,200 persons per hour per direction on Broadway is laughable, as it is dishonest. In Europe many city tram systems offer peak hour capacity in excess of 20,000 pphpd on portions of their lines. The claim of LRT’s limited capacity is false and because of this, many billions of dollars more is being spent on light-metro due to manufactured information by TransLink.

    Improper or Biased Planning Practices

    During the planning process Translink’s planning methodology often uses apples to oranges comparisons like, a surface LRT line with limited capacity stations that have half the capacity and length of SkyTrain light-metro stations. In this case, LRT will never compare favorably to Skytrain technology. Trying to measure the utility of a surface BRT or LRT system that runs at lower frequency compared to a planned SkyTrain light-metro line, operating in a tunnel, will also not compete well.

    11. By building both the $3 billion and counting Broadway subway, the $4 billion and counting Expo Line extension to Langley, and the never talked about but much needed $3 billion mid life rehab of the Expo and Millennium Lines, which much be done before the Langley extension can be completed, means the province and TransLink must source a minimum of $7.2 billion or 60% of the total cost to complete both projects and 100% of the cost for the much needed rehab.

    Should read as:

    With the Federal and provincial governments together spending up to $7 Billion (and growing) to build both the Broadway subway Millennium Line extension to Arbutus and the Expo Line extension to Langley, much attention is never given to the absolutely critical $3 billion life and capacity rehab of the existing Expo and Millennium Lines. Especially the rapidly aging, 19 km long, 36+ year old and quickly wearing out, original Expo Line segment (Waterfront to Columbia Street which opened in 1985). For many reasons this work should be done before the Langley extension is completed. The province alone will have to source a minimum of $7.2 billion or 60% of the total cost to complete the two extension projects and so far, 100% of the cost for the much needed rehab.

    This does not include any of the 66% ($3.77 Billion) provincial funding for the proposed $5 billion and counting UBC extension of the Millennium Line.

    Lastly, when I asked people whom know far more than I do about Judicial Inquiries, they said it would be better to list by numbers or bullet points your complaints so that each can be looked at understood individually.

    Zwei replies: I would assume this would be filed and forgotten. The damage is now so great on the interior highways i think the government would be hard pressed to fund the Expo Line extension to Langley and with local costs rising, I think any hint of tax increases to fund transit will be politcal suicide.

  2. Gregor Robertson says:

    LOL “subway to nowhere” coming from a guy who thinks we should spend or money servicing empty farm fields is pretty funny. UBC’s daytime population is greater than that of Chilliwack but unlike Chilliwack only a fraction of those people live on campus. I don’t know if you’ve ever taken the99 B-line but it’s pretty clear to anyone who uses it as their daily commute that there is no more room on Broadway for at grade transit capacity. One of the biggest reasons is that there are 40 pedestrian crossings between UBC and Commercial-Broadway. Any at-grade system still needs to stop for the large number of pedestrians on this street which hurts speed and capacity. So unless your LRT plan is to turn Broadway into a freeway with pedestrian islands on either side the only way to add both speed and capacity is grade separation.

    You’re not right about the budgeting. Many of these budgets come with 30%-50% a contingency funds to cover higher costs. Despite how mad it makes you, both the Surrey Langley Skytrain and the Broadway Subway are already paid for and have more than enough money to handle cost increases. Have any of your predictions ever panned out? I’m sure you were saying the same thing about the Evergreen extension and the Canada line. Perhaps this would be enough to make you think “Wow, I have no idea how transit funding and planning works, perhaps I should stop posting an delete my website”, but alas.

    One thing that’s weird is that you never mention that SelTrac and linear induction motors are both used in systems around the world. Japan’s Toei Ōedo Line basically works like the Skytrain with LIM and 3rd rail power though with a different signaling system. SelTrac has a pretty long list of trains its used in (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SelTrac#SelTrac_installations). In terms of using both, I think Kuala Lumpur and Vancouver are probably the only ones. However, given how large the system is getting and 200+ car orders that Translink makes these days I’m sure that many Japanese companies are submitting bids given that they have several manufacturers of LIM trains.

    Zwei replies:

    First of all this is a fake email, as the persons wants us to believe that this is former Vancouver mayor Gregor Robinson, with a somewhat dubious email address. That being said……….

    1. You infer that everyone commuting to UBC will take the subway, but this is not true only a small fraction travel via Broadway and just look at the 99-B loading’s, a maximum capacity is 2,000 pphps, hardly enough to justify a subway. The Rail for the Valle/Leewood plan would cater to a far larger demographic than Broadway and service far more destinations at less than half the cost.

    2. There is plenty of room for LRT on Broadway as it would take up one road lane in each direction and replace the buses. With stops along the route and a rationalizations of crosswalks, etc. There would be little problem, The rationalized crosswalks will be signaled giving safe passage across the roads for pedestrians, far safer than the non signaled crossings today. Less road traffic would also make Broadway much safer for pedestrians.

    3. Any budgeting with 30% to 50% contingency is not budgeting at all, it is more farce than anything else. According to you, the budget for the Expo Line extension to Langley could be as high as $6 billion!! I think not!

    4. I never commented much on the Evergreen line because it was the unfinished portion of the original Broadway/Lougheed Rapid Transit project, so perverted by the glen Clark NDP. What astounded me was the absolute economies of the truth by the NDP, selling the damn thing was more than one could take. My favourite was the claim that LRT was an unproven technology!

    5. Actually the LIM’s used for the Expo ans Millennium Lines originated from Krauss Maffie and are attractive LIMs and according to the late professor Laithwaite, the “wrong sort of LIM. The other LIM powered railways, which are themselves proprietary use repulsive LIM’s.

    6. By the way SelTrac is a digitalized, moving block, signalling system and has nothing to to with LIM’s.

    7. Is it not funny that TransLink refuses to release the underbidder for their car orders or the underbidders’ bid? Why would a company waste tens of millions of dollars on a bid for a one customer job, developing a car to compete against, now Alstoms off the shelf model?

    8. The Canada Line has every Translink spin doctor working overtime, yet it remains the only heavy rail metro in the world, built as a light metro, having less capacity than a streetcar, costing a fraction to build. No one has copied this and to say it is a success, I think not!

  3. probably Gregor Robertson says:

    re: 3″. Any budgeting with 30% to 50% contingency is not budgeting at all, it is more farce than anything else. According to you, the budget for the Expo Line extension to Langley could be as high as $6 billion!! I think not!”

    I don’t think you’ve interpreted what I’ve said correctly. The given and funded costs for these projects already include the contingency. For the Broadway subway a large portion of the 2.8 billion dollar budget is the contingency fund to cover for potential cost overruns. So consider the quoted figures to generally be the ceiling on how much these system extensions will cost.

    re: 5. Actually the LIM’s used for the Expo ans Millennium Lines originated from Krauss Maffie and are attractive LIMs and according to the late professor Laithwaite, the “wrong sort of LIM. The other LIM powered railways, which are themselves proprietary use repulsive LIM’s.

    I think you might be confusing MAGLEV with linear motor propulsion. Linear motor propulsion is less common than electric motors but it’s not because it’s worse. The Skytrain has some of the lowest operating costs of any transit system in north America. in Japan similar cost constrains have led them to use this concept as well (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linear_motor#Japanese_Linear_Metro)

    6. By the way SelTrac is a digitalized, moving block, signalling system and has nothing to to with LIM’s.

    SelTrac is basically what’s needed for the Skytrain to be automated. At the end of the day Skytrain is just SelTrac + LIM + 3rd rail power. While many lines use each of these systems the Skytrains use of all of them is what makes is more “unique”. If you don’t think grade separation is important that’s fine but I don’t see the point of all of this Skytrain FUD.

    I think anyone who thinks there isn’t enough demand UBC skytrain should be forced to ride the 99 B-line 200 times a year. Beyond that if the train is built it’s not just the B-line, almost all of the highest traffic buses run to UBC. Many of those passengers can be served a lower cost on the train and there can be new induced demand from drivers who finally have a comfortable alternative to driving to get to UBC.

    Zwei replies:

    You do sound like a former mayor Moonbeam, the developers and land speculator’s best friend.

    1) I have been told by real experts, that 30% to 50% contingency is due to very bad planning and generally not worth the paper it is printed on. Basically it is budgeting by grifters.

    2) Actually the Broadway subway will cost over $3 billion or even more, which makes your contingency meme look silly. This is the same sort of farce that brought cut and cover construction to Cambie St.

    3) I think it is you who are confused. MagLev’s must use Linear Induction Motors and most are proprietary. The LIM’s used on MALM (sorry the name SkyTrain has been trademarked in Brazil for another proprietary railway) are attractive LIM’s developed by Krauss Maffie, for the failed TransUrban MagLev system. By the way, using LIM’s cost more than using modern electric motors.

    4) Typical politcal babble-gab (which makes me think that you just be mayor Moonbeam), SelTrac is a signalling system, not a power system and has nothing to do with being unique, The first driverless railway operated in 1927. By the way, our MALM system costs more to build, more to operate, more to maintain and lacks capacity than modern LRT, sorry chum, being unique means the taxpayer must ante up more tax dollars to subsidize the damn thing.

    5)But the light rail option was never explored, except for TransLink’s butchered planning. I would rather sit in a comfy tram rather be squeezed sardine style in a MALM spam can car. Oh by the way, customers tend to hate transfers and forcing bus customers to transfer to a subway only to transfer again at Arbutus to a bus well, may make people take the car instead. This is exactly what happened when the Canada line opened and South Delta/Surrey residents took the car instead.

    If you are the former mayor Moonbeam, you are a very good example why politicians should never, ever be included in transit planning.

  4. Concerned citizen says:

    “Despite TransLink’s claims to the contrary, both Bombardier and SNC Lavalin held patents for the proprietary railway. Alstom has now purchased Bombardier’s rail division including MALM (and patents).”

    Wow I didn’t know this! Could you please post the patent numbers pertaining to these systems? Which country are they in? Are they still valid?

    Zwei replies: What ever patents Bombardier had are now owned by Alstom and what ever patents SNC Lavalin has, well it is very costly to do a patent search. What I do know, is the TransLink bends over backwards claiming the SNC lavalin does not patents, in a sort of, “they doth protest too much”

    I have been told by several reliable sources that SNC still retains some patents, weather they let them lapse or not is another question. I should add, Lavalin once owned the proprietary Skytrain light metro system and went bankrupt trying to sell it to Bangkok. SNC amalgamated with Lavalin and what patent they has were kept by the new company.

    Another interesting item, SNC lavalin have never denied this.

  5. Bill Burgess says:

    What Translink said was that the LIM patents – once owned by Bombardier – were expired (see https://www.translink.ca/-/media/translink/documents/about-translink/governance-and-board/board-of-directors/board-minutes-and-reports/2020/december/2020_12_17_public_board_meeting_agenda.pdf).

    Bombardier also said they did not own the patents for Skytrain (see https://dailyhive.com/vancouver/bombardier-skytrain-technology-proprietary).

    Logically, Alstom does not currently own them as a result of purchasing Bombardier.

    Zwei, you know all this, but you dishonestly continue to make claims for which you have no evidence. Shame!

    Zwei replies: Mr. Burgess you are a troll, simple. Have you tried a F.O.I. on the subject, because if you had, you would have found that most of the information that would concern patents have been redacted.

    If you believe what the daily Hive says, I pity you because that outlet is nothing more than a propaganda machine.

    I have been told, Bombardier owned the technical patents and SNC Lavalin owned the Engineering patents inherited from Lavalin who once owned the proprietary railway.

    As well your logic is, well questionable because Alstom purchased Bombardier rail division and that would include all the patents for their rail products. if not they would be paying Bombardier a licensing fee and logically that would not be good business practice.

  6. zweisystem says:

    To everyone.

    The RftV blog is vetted by several professionals and if I am in error I do hear about it. When people start sourcing the Hive, then I think they have reached the bottom of the Barrel.

    I know of two people who are trying to find information on SNC LIMs and patents and when their F.O.I. come back the information is so heavily redacted that it is next to useles. Even TransLink has admitted that the redacted information is proprietary to the company and will not be released!

    You cannot have it both ways.

    Also, not well know if I make a major blunder, TransLink informs me pronto, yet on this subject, they have stayed mute.

    The question of patents and the MALm system being proprietary (Oh yes the real SkyTrain TM is from Brazil and is no relation to our so called SkyTrain) is when did MALM or Innovia, or ART or ALM or ALRT or ICTS, cease to be proprietary?

    As far as the information I receive from professionals, MALM is indeed a proprietary railway and if you don’t like it I am sorry, too bad.

  7. Bill Burgess says:

    Poor Mr Zwei. He blocked my second comment because his position is so untenable.

    What Zwei thinks of the Daily Hive (or more to the point, its editor, Ken Chan) counts for next to nothing. The above-cited article is signed by the regional Vice President of Bombardier Ltd.

    So Zwei attempts his usual diversion into the purely semantic issue of the name for the system.

    But one answer to his question: Skytrain is no longer proprietary – in the usual sense of the term – because the original patents have expired.

  8. zweisystem says:

    Just a note. I have sent Mr. Burgess to spam.

    If he does not like the RftV position, why bother.

    MALM is propriety and the SkyTrain Lobby does not like it because it puts a basic lie to their position.

    Of course the Skytrain lobby never answer the question; “Why, after being on the market for over 40 years and with six name changes and four owners, only seven system have been built, with only three seriously used for urban transit?

    They will never answer that because they cannot.

  9. Haveacow says:

    To be fair, he (Bill Burgess) just wants your patent information so you publicly can prove your point. However, as the co-owner of two patents, I would never give the public even a glimpse of my patent information. If i did, I see both my lawyer and my patent partner, a true mathematician, heads exploding. The fact that when Translink does give out information regarding patents and other proprietary technology through F.O.I, requests, it’s no surprise they are heavily redacted. More than likely it always will be redacted. The whole point of a patent beyond proving ownership of an idea or invention is that of maintaining extreme privacy. Nobody will see my patent information in the public arena, ever. @Bill Burgess if you want answers to Zwei’s assertions, ask Translink why they bother redacting even the most benign technical information (it has happened to me and my F.O.I. requests too). If they are completely honest they will tell you, they don’t want to get sued.

  10. zweisystem says:

    I have unspammed Mr. B. I took out my frustrations at Staples!

    Talking of patents, my friend patented a game, which was called “BullDog” and an email from him told me of the problems associated with patents. to shorten a long story, shelved the idea and let the patent expire, costing him a sizable sum of money.

    The process and legal issues even for a “small” patent were far more than he would have thought and as he told me, it was an expensive learning exercise in the real world.

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