Fake News And The SkyTrain Lobby – Who Are They Really Working For?

Really, can’t the SkyTrain Lobby do any better?

The following is so silly and juvenile because it is all hearsay and opinion, not fact. But facts have never bothered the SkyTrain Lobby as they try once again try to fool the public about SkyTrain. They treat everyone like rubes at a country fair.

This is from the Daily Hive, written by anonymous. Forgetting the fact no one builds with SkyTrain anymore and only seven such systems have ever been built in the past 40 years, Zwei is going to explore the following claims.

  • Offer a low ultimate capacity that is only 27% that of the Canada Line’s
  • Be much slower and less frequent than SkyTrain
  • Potentially be unreliable and prone to collision
  • Cost comparable to a SkyTrain extension to build but generate less ridership, and
  • Have operating cost shortfalls for decades


1) Offer a low ultimate capacity that is only 27% that of the Canada Line’s

Not true.

Capacity is a function of train size and headway.Ai?? As the Canada Line’s station platforms are a mere 40 metres long, it can only accommodate trains 41 metres long.

The capacity of the Canada Line is extremely limited, around 9,000 pphpd.

Modern LRT can carry in excess of 20,000 pphpd and in extreme circumstances much more.

In Karlsruhe Germany, due to the success of the regional tramtrain system, the traffic flows along Kaiserstrasse to trams and tramtrains operating at 40 second headway’s, offering a capacity in excess of 35,000 pphpd.

More local to home, in Toronto in the 1950’s, couple sets of PCC trams, were carrying 12,000 persons per hour on the old Bloor – Danforth route.

Currently, the operating certificate for the ALRT/ART proprietary light-metro lines limits capacity to 15,000 pphpd, one third that was carried on Kaiserstrasse in Karlsruhe Germany.

LRT operating on a reserved R-o-W, offers the benefits of a metro at a fraction the cost.

2) Be much slower and less frequent than SkyTrain

Not true.

LRT operating on-street, in mixed traffic, has it’s speed limited by posted speed limits and we call this a streetcar in North America. Not so, if LRT operates on a reserved rights-of-way, with no interfering traffic, LRT can match if not surpass the commercial speed of SkyTrain.

In Europe, peak hour headway’s can be as much as 30 seconds, on major routes.

3) Potentially be unreliable and prone to collision

Not true, but with a caveat.

LRT is extremely reliable when compared to automatic railways like SkyTrain.

LRT does have collisions with cars and or trucks, but 99.9% of tram auto/truck accidents are the fault of the car/truck drive, disobeying signs and signalling. In many European countries there are harsh penalties for drivers who are found at fault causing an accident with a tram.

More people die by SkyTrain in Vancouver annually, than by tram in Calgary.

4) Cost comparable to a SkyTrain extension to build but generate less ridership

Not true.

If LRT is being built as a light-metro on a segregated R-o-W, then yes the costs are comparable, like in Seattle where their LRT is being built as a light-metro with over 90% of its route operating on viaduct or in a subway. But then it is not LRT, but a light metro.

Costs for LRT start as low as $5 million/km for tramtrain; $15 mi./km to $25 mil./km for a streetcar; and $25 mil./km to $45 mil.km for LRT. Now if extra engineering for LRT includes complete street reconstruction and landscaping or new road construction, the costs will escalate.

The last cost estimate for SkyTrain (elevated) is $130 million/km. ; the cost of the proposed 7 km. Broadway SkyTrain subway is now well over $3 billion!

At-grade transit has proven to generate more new ridership than elevated or underground transit and one of the reasons LRT is so popular!

In1992, the annual subsidy for SkyTrain was $157 million, more than the bus system!

5) Have operating cost shortfalls for decades

Not true.

As LRT is much cheaper to build and operate than SkyTrain, will have much less operating and cost short falls than SkyTrain.

The subsidy to operate the ALRT/ART SkyTrain system, is now well over $250 million annually and then there is the Canada Line.

The Canada Line is not ALRT/ART SkyTrain, but a conventional heavy-rail metro built as a light metro, the result of a Gordon Campbell, BC Liberal faux P-3 project. The SNC Lavalin lead consortium receives about $110 million annually from TransLink to operate the line, about three times more than a conventional LRT line to operate.

What stands out with the SkyTrain Lobby’s cacophony of deceit, massive exaggerations of the truth, fake news and alternative facts, is the number seven (7), because only 7 SkyTrain type systems have been built under three names in the past 40 years, compared with over 200 new LRT systems built during the same time, adding to the already existing 350 tram/LRT networks operating around the world.

What is the SkyTrain Lobby really up to? Who are the SkyTrain Lobby working for? Who benefits with hugely expensive SkyTrain construction and operation; certainly not the transit customer or taxpayer.

As the saying goes , with SkyTrain “follow the money!”

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