How Much Will The SFU Aerial Tramway Cost To Operate?

Cutting through TransLink’s hype and hoopla about the proposed aerial tramway to Simon Fraser University and despite their sham public input process, they remain mute on operating costs.

This is a Trojan Horse, because the annual subsidies need to operate it must come from other regions in TransLink’s vast empire, notably the South Fraser.

The initial Expo line was claimed by the boosters and politicians of the day, that it covered its operating costs, but at the same time the operating costs were never revealed.

Extending the Expo line sent off alarm bells in the GVRD, which released a study on the costs of transporting people in the Fraser Valley region, which showed that just the Expo Line to New Westminster was subsidized annually more than the combined diesel and trolley bus systems.

In 1993, the annual subsidy for the Expo Line, just to New Westminster was a massive $157 million annually!

In no way was the Expo Line covering its operating costs and in fact was a massive drain on BC Transit revenue stream!

Today, TransLink keeps secret the annual subsidy for the SkyTrain light metro system but privately it is estimated to be around $400 million, with over $110 million of this sum being paid to the SNC Lavalin lead consortium operating the Canada Line faux P-3 operation!

It is also politely not mentioned, that the proprietary Movia Automatic Light Metro system, used on the Expo and Millennium lines costs about 45% more to operate than a conventional light rail, because it uses Linear Induction Motors and the wrong type of Linear Induction Motor!

The Broadway MALM operated subway will not only cost 45% more to operate than a system using LRT or even a conventional light metro car, the costs of maintaining the subway itself, based on Toronto’s Metrolinx (which has a lot of experience operating subways) data, will add $40 million more to TransLink’s annual operating costs for the light metro.

Add the 45% premium for operating the LIM equipped MALM system, the total operating cost of the 5.8 km Broadway subway maybe nearer to $60 million!

The regional taxpayer is being taken for a very expensive ride!

Now we come to the last of the trio of vanity projects for metro Vancouver’s three largest cities, the Burnaby aerial tramway going to SFU. What will be the annual operating costs and I mean the real operating costs, not TransLink’s fudged figures that they are so famous for.

The following is the current adult fares for the following aerial tramways:

  1. The 300 metre long Hell’s Gate aerial tramway is $16.00 per adult.
  2. The cost of the 3.03 km Peak to peak aerial Tramway is $75 per adult weekdays and $80 per adult weekends.
  3. The cost of the 885 metre Sea to Sky aerial tramway ranges from 53.95 to 59.95 for adults. (See Stop Press)
  4. The cost for the long running, 1.6 km Grouse Mountain aerial tramway is $29.50 (previously pre-covid) which is 50% off their normal fare.

The fare using the proposed approximately 2.5 km SFU aerial tramway will be the $1 a day U-Pass, allowing for unlimited daily travel.

Despite the many hosanna’s being sung by Burnaby Council, SFU and TransLink, the aerial tramway will be highly subsidized which means higher fares, taxes and the cannibalization of transit south of the Fraser.

Regional Mayors had better wake up and smell the coffee because after this prestige project, TransLink’s cupboard will be bare.


Stop Press


Sea to Sky Gondola line cut, again

by Hana Mae Nassar

Posted Sep 14, 2020

SQUAMISH (NEWS 1130) – Vandals appear to have hit the Sea to Sky Gondola for a second time. This comes just more than a year after cables were deliberately cut, sending dozens of cars crashing to the ground.

The attraction’s general manager says “exactly the same thing” happened Monday morning.

“Something you’d never think would happen, once in a lifetime, has happened twice,” General Manager Kirby Brown tells Mountain FM. “An individual climbed a tower and, despite our security system and all of the measures, rapidly cut through the cable and brought the gondola to the ground.”

Brown says the RCMP is on scene.

The Sea to Sky Gondola brought in additional security following last year’s vandalism. However, that didn’t appear to deter the person responsible.

“We’ve got clear imagery of what happened,” he says, adding most of his team had not been made aware of what happened as of 7:00 a.m. Monday.

“As the light comes on the gondola, it’s perfectly clear to everybody what’s happened, given the experience that we and our town has been through before,” Brown says, adding the investigation is still in its early stages.

The cutting of the cable in 2019 resulted in millions of dollars in damage. The company was forced to bring in about 30 new cabins and a new main haul rope from Europe.

The gondola reopened on Valentine’s Day this year, earlier than expected.

A report, released on Sept. 18, 2019, confirmed that the cable had been deliberately cut. No one had been arrested in connection with the vandalism.

“This is one bad actor who needs to be caught and brought to justice for the protection and safety of us all,” Brown tells Mountain FM, adding the company will do what it can to keep people safe and hopefully rebuild, again.

Spending the morning on the phone with industry partners, Brown says everyone is rallying around the Sea to Sky Gondola to get it back up and running.

“We now know that in addition to all the security measures we put in place before, we’re going to have to put more physical protections in place until this person is caught. That will be the focus of the RCMP,” he says.

The priority now is to get the gondola operating again, he adds.

“We’re not going to let one person bring us or the town down,” Brown affirms. “I know we will rebuild again.”

-With files from Mountain FM, Monika Gul, and Martin MacMahon

Leave A Comment