An Ongoing Charade

Gordon Campbell is gone, due to his less than honest performance with the combined GST/PST, which cost him the Premiership. The public had enough and wanted him gone.

But, Gordon Campbell echoed then and what still echoes today with the Mayor’s Council on Transit, TransLink and in Victoria, that somehow SkyTrain is superior to light rail. The sad fact is, those who believe it is superior don’t have a clue what SkyTrain is, that it just the name for the regional light-metro system.

His performance with the Canada Line was not honest. Judge Pittfield, overseeing the Susan Heyes lawsuit against TransLink over cut-an-cove subway construction on Cambie St., devastating local business’s, called the bidding process for the Canada Line, with SNC Lavalin bidding against SNC Lavalin a “charade”.

Details, details……….


Is cut and cover subway construction coming to Broadway?

From 2010:

Mr. Campbell Responds to the Rail For The Valley/Leewood Report With Deciet

Posted by on Saturday, September 25, 2010

Gordon Campbell has a very bad reputation for not telling the truth, in fact he is a habitual teller of very tall tales.

The Premier’s statement in the following article, ” But you know the operating costs of the SkyTrain are about 50 per cent a year less than with light rail. And the ridership is two and a half times greater with SkyTrain is a complete falsehood!

A 1996 comparison with Calgary’s C-Train LRT shows that the Expo Line costs 40% more to operate than Calgary’s LRT (both about the same length), yet the C-Train carries more passengers!

“Mr. Campbell, to restore your credibility, please provide the same type of – accurate – data for SkyTrain as can be found on the Calgary Transit website for its light-rail system.”

Operating costs, Calgary C-Train (2006).

  • Vehicle Maintenance costs: $13.9M (2006)
  • Station Maintenance costs: $2.8M (2006)
  • Right of Way Maintenance costs: $2.9M (2006)
  • Signals Maintenance costs: $2.4M (2006)
  • Average annual power costs: $4.8M (2006)
  • Annual LRV Operator wages: $6.0M (includes fringe benefits of 21.57%) (2006)
  • Total – $32.8 million

A 2009 study done by UBC Professor Patrick Condon also showed SkyTrain as being very expensive to operate and in his study, SkyTrain had the highest cost to operate than any other transit mode in the study, which reflects much higher operating costs.

Mr. Campbell’s other statement that ridership is two times and half a much as LRT’s is pure fiction, both SkyTrain and LRT have the same potential capacities. To remind everyone, capacity is a function of headway & train length. This comment from the Toronto Transit Commissions 1980′s ART Study sums up SkyTrain potential capacity:

“ICTS (which SkyTrain was called at the time) costs anything up to ten times as much as a conventional light-rail line to install, for about the same capacity; or put another way, ICTS costs more than a heavy-rail subway, with four times its capacity.”

There is no independent study that shows that SkyTrain attracts more ridership than LRT, in fact at-grade/on-street light rail tends to be very good for attracting ridership.

There are other erroneous claims being made in the article and they will be dealt with later.

Mr. Campbell demeans himself with such claims, as he continues to demonstrate that truth is not in his lexicon. SkyTrain was built and will be built for reasons of political prestige and not what is best for the transit customer or the taxpayer. SkyTrain has failed to find a market domestically,in the USA and in Europe because it is both more expensive to build and more expensive to operate than its chief competitor modern LRT.

Mr. Campbell, Rail for the Valley demands honest debate for the future of transit in the region, not your half baked statements based on fiction, to pursue your political aims.

Oh, what tangled webs we weave, when we first practice to deceive“, Mr. Campbell your tangled web of anti-LRT propaganda stops here, next time, deal in fact.

Burnaby News leader

By Jeff Nagel – BC Local News

SkyTrain detractors should consider the benefits of the technology and not focus solely on the lower cost of building new rapid transit lines with at-grade light rail, Premier Gordon Campbell said.

“It does cost less in capital  it costs about $150 million less,” the premier said in an interview with Black Press, referring to price estimates for the Evergreen Line to Coquitlam.

“But you know the operating costs of the SkyTrain are about 50 per cent a year less than with light rail. And the ridership is two and a half times greater with SkyTrain.”

The decision to make the Evergreen Line a SkyTrain extension rather than a separate light rail line will ultimately move more people, faster at lower long-term costs, he predicted.

Campbell spoke Thursday, two days after the release of a new study from advocates who say a 100-kilometre light rail line from Surrey to Chilliwack can be opened on existing railway tracks for less than $500 million, compared to $1.4 billion for the 11-kilometre Evergreen Line.

Several mayors, including Surrey’s Dianne Watts, have lobbied for light rail for future lines.

Also critical to any transit expansion in the Lower Mainland, the premier said, is to ensure cities concentrate growth along transit corridors to support use of new lines while also making neighbourhoods more livable for walking and cycling.

“You can’t have an urban transit system at rural densities,” he said. “You have to actually give yourself a chance for transit to make ends meet.”

Campbell signed an accord with Metro Vancouver mayors Sept. 23 promising to explore a multitude of methods to raise more cash for transit expansion.

He said mayors are free to put on the table even contentious options like a vehicle levy or forms of road pricing, which the agreement notes can help shape how people choose to travel.

But he cautioned the key is to deliver good transit services that work and not merely try to use tolls or other fees to deter driving.

“You can’t punish people into transit,” he said. “People use the Canada Line because they love it. It meets their needs.”

Asked about public concern over the potential tolling of all three Fraser River bridges out of Surrey, Campbell downplayed the issue, saying the province determined in advance residents supported tolling the new Port Mann Bridge to deliver congestion relief.

“There’s always going to be someone who says ‘I don’t want to do it,’” he said, but cited the time savings for users of the Golden Ears Bridge.

“Think of the opportunities for connecting families, for moving goods.”

He said an “adult conversation” is required on the options to fund TransLink for the future.

Other parts of B.C. need transportation upgrades too, he said, adding the province will be hesitant about steering money to TransLink that deepens B.C.’s deficit or makes it harder to fund health care.

“If there was a simple answer it would have been done a long time ago.”


2 Responses to “An Ongoing Charade”
  1. Major Hoople says:

    What we find so hard to understand is why Vancouver is building a subway in the first place?

    When we worked on the now called Canada Line, we urged TransLink to use light rail vehicles so the line could be extend southward at a more equitable cost. We even offered a direct tram link to the ice arena then being built for the 2010 Olympics. For out troubles, we were rejected completely as TransLink and the provincial government continued on their madman construction.

    Hindsight shows us that old Canadian friend, SNC was going to get the concession and the entire bidding process was a sham and illegal, by the way, in the EEC.

    Ottawa’s rapid transit uses modern trams but then Canadians wanted automatic train control even though its proven unreliable in winter condition.

    I read now that there is serious thought given to Musk’s Hyperloop, well, I have shares in our Aerotain to sell you.

  2. Haveacow says:

    I Understand People Want Speedy Transit.

    Folks, Speedy Transit Has Huge Hidden Costs!

    I remember the debate around the Sheppard Subway in Toronto, mainly because the house I grew up in was a 3 to 5 minute walk from Sheppard Ave. East in Scarborough. It didn’t matter to the supporters, including me at the time, how many passengers there should be, for a subway to exist. What was important wasn’t that the surface bus routes along Sheppard at the time moved about 6000 passengers/hour/direction or that the roughly 65 to 75 buses per hour at the time were mostly packed, even outside peak periods.

    What was important was that even with express buses it took 20 to 30 minutes of traveling along Sheppard Ave. East, just to get to the Yonge Street Subway. I was spending, depending on the time of day, 1 hour, 10 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes to get home in Scarborough or go to downtown to school. If I took the other quickest route downtown to school, south on Warden Ave. to Warden Station, then the Bloor-Danforth Subway to the Yonge Line at Yonge and Bloor Station, then transferring to the Yonge Line to finish the trip to either Dundas or College Stations, opposite if I was going home, it still took me roughly the same time. (So passengers stuck on crowded express buses along Broadway, I UNDERSTAND AND GET IT ,THE TRIP ISN’T A FUN TIME!)

    GO Transit’s Stouffvile Commuter Rail Line from Agincourt Station was considerably faster, around 40 to 45 minutes, but the GO Trains on that line only traveled during morning and afternoon rush hour. THANKFULLY TO THE GO RER
    PROJECT, THIS WILL SOON CHANGE. The peak hour only line was nearly useless for a University student whom had 25+ hours a week of classes, labs and official architectural studio time which depending on the day, had classes that started as early as 8 a.m. or as late 1 p.m. Depending on the day, I could be in class until 10 p.m. on certain evenings (at least 2 times a week). Endless hours of group work just added to this dilemma.

    My point is for most people, a train of some sort traveling through a tunnel is often the only way most non transit people (people who don’t work in the industry) can honestly visualize there being any time savings when dealing with the combination of heavy surface traffic and way too many car centric, traffic light controlled intersections.

    Whereas people who do work in the industry know that, with good design, modern surface LRT routes and or modern surface mainline railway lines controlled by modern signaling can easily come close to or equal the travel times of below grade train tunnels. At a fraction of the cost.

    ZWEI, what would be most helpful to the cause are multiple articles about how modern surface mainline railways and LRT signaling combined with good design can be almost or just as efficient with travel time savings as overly expensive tunnels.

    My 2 Cents Worth.

    Look folks, the concept of rail rapid transit tunnels going everywhere is just not affordable or helpful. An almost completely tunneled Skytrain route from V.C.C. to U.B.C. is desired by the public however, many other cheaper options were just never considered or effectively looked at by Translink. I read all your planning reports on the subject, many things that could have been done to better manage bus flows as well as other rapid transit operating technologies, scenarios and plans were never considered. Unfortunately Zwei, MAY have a point when he believes that the Broadway Line as currently designed, was a fix for developers right from the beginning.

    Given the actual pre-Covid transit passenger numbers for Broadway (65,000-100,000 passengers a day depending on how wide a corridor you choose), a mostly tunneled Skytrain line 12 to 14 km long, costing anywhere from from $5.7 to $7.5 Billion (depending on length, number of stations and tunnel design), taking anywhere from 10 to 14 years to build both stages, is frankly, JUST NOT WORTH IT, FOR NOW. It is also a project that will tie up a huge amount of transit capital funding for a better part of a decade. There will be little money for anything else, especially extensions of the Canada Line or a rail transit line to North Vancouver.

    Keep in mind as well, if you want significantly more passengers on the Expo Line, expensive repairs and upgrades must be done. An increase of 10 to 20 % in daily passengers is possible but anything more will require hugely expensive and time consuming work. The line is at its limit and it is getting older by the day, you can make the trains longer but little else is possible without big spending.

    Citizens of Langley, by not implementing LRT and forcing an overly expensive above grade Skytrain line, you just guaranteed that, not only are you building fewer km’s of Skytrain compared to how many km’s of LRT you could have had (16 km of Skytrain vs. of 27 km of LRT). You have also made certain the fact that, no Skytrain or any rail rapid transit line will be going to the centre of Langley, until long after 2030. Considering the competition with other line extensions, once the Broadway Line to UBC is complete. It may be well into the 2040’s before construction of any rail line into Langley is finished. The moral of this story, tunnels cost not only a lot of money but time as well.

    Zwei Replies: Bang on! On another note, I tried some time back to explain modern signalling for trams/autos but the excuses were long and many

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