Memo to Metro Mayors: Forget Road Pricing, build With LRT!

As Vancouver’s metro mayor’s dig themselves further into a financial morass, with the proposed now $3.2 billion Broadway subway to Arbutus and the now over $100/km Surrey LRT, which will demand more and more punitive regional taxation, why instead don’t we plan for affordable European style LRT?

The trouble is, our regional mayors think they live in the 1970’s, where upping taxes imposes no problem’s at all. In fact, the Sky is the limit, for many regional politicians, when it comes to the issue of taxes.

BC and regional politico’s are also wedded for the dated and very expensive proprietary ALRT/ART (SkyTrain) light-metro, which today is seen by the world as a curiosity , not quite as interesting as the Wuppertal Schwebebahn monorail.

ALRT/ART SkyTrain costs more to build, maintain and operate than light rail and it is also capacity constricted, but that does not stop the powers that be to squander more money on this relic, because it is their belief that the public has very deep pockets for this sort of thing. Thus the dreaded threat of “road pricing” or “congestion charges” hangs over the heads of over taxed residents.

TransLink and the regional mayors seem ignorant of recent history especially with the results of the 2015 transit plebiscite and that another way must be planned for.

Tax and spend – tax and spend” is the refrain of most regional mayors, when instead they should be singing in chorus, “getting our best bang for the taxpayer’s buck“.

It seems those who reside in Cambridge UK, understand this.

Light Rail

Though not Cambridge, modern LRT fits in quite well in dense and/or historicAi?? city centres

providing affordable quality public transportation.

Readers of “Cambridge News” say a congestion charge is not the answer to the traffic problems of the English city and some suggest light rail is a better answer than buses for CAMBRIDGE 50 miles north of London, according to a post on the “cambridge news dot co dot uk” site. Paris or Dublin, Ireland, could be models for such an LRT service:


Congestion charge is NOT the answer to Cambridge’s traffic problems, News readers say

The idea of a congestion charge for Cambridge has got people talking

By Freya Leng

Ai??3 JAN 2017

Making drivers who are coming into

CambridgeAi??pay a congestion charge is not the answer to beating the city’s jams, according to News readers.

Ai??As reported in the News, Tim Bick, leader of the Lib Dem group on the city council and the man who clinched Cambridgeai??i??s A?500 million (USD $611.6 million) City Deal, says the ai???tabooai??i?? against making motorists pay must finally be shattered.

His comments come ahead of a response due to be published by City Deal leaders on Friday (January 6) to the furore that greeted last yearai??i??s proposals to tackle Cambridgeai??i??s jams, including the scheme for Peak-time Congestion Control Points (PCCPs), which would bar general traffic from some roads at rush-hour.

But most readers on our social media channels and website say a congestion charge is not the answer to the city’s traffic problems.

Writing on the News Facebook page, Alexa Stansall said: “This councillor sounds completely detached and removed from the reality of cost of living, Cambridge wages and housing.

ai???The congestion charge will hit those on lower wages that often car share to work and can’t afford the high bus fares into Cambridge. There isn’t ‘an irrational fear’ of the congestion charge it’s a very real fear based on the reality of costs of living wages and house prices in

Eve Wooldrige said: “Ridiculous idea! The bus service is nowhere near efficient enough, or cheap enough to encourage people to use it. The last time I used park and ride, I vowed never to use it again!

“People will continue to drive, unless park and ride charges are reduced to an affordable and tempting level and by running far more buses!! If a congestion charge is enforced, it will just force people to reconsider living and working in Cambridge.”


Michael Abberton said: “Before there is any talk of a charge, the infrastructure has to be in place. Public transport provision and safety measures for cyclists are nowhere near good enough. This will also penalise those people forced out of the city by out of control housing costs. All these elements are linked and have to be considered holistically.

“The introduction of CC without any viable alternative and without addressing affordable housing and rent controls will not do anything to address our catastrophic congestion and air quality crises, and just bring more revenue to the council.”

Other people commenting on the News website, felt a light rail was an option.

Alek said: “A congestion charge is NOT the answer. Cambridge will suffer long-term if that plan were to occur. After all, for shopping and entertainment – People can travel to nearby Newmarket and Huntingdon.

“The answer lies with a Light- Mono rail system, scrapping the guided bus and introducing Trams.”

SashaM said: “A congestion charge cannot be introduced until a sensible alternative is available, i.e light rail or trams.


ai???Buses are not the answer! It takes me 8 minutes to drive into the Grand Arcade – the C7 bus takes 45 minutes usually, 35 if no traffic at all.”

Cambridge1985 said: “For me to use the bus for work, I’d have to pay A?87.50 per month (USD $107.06), on top of my car costs. And for what? The buses in my village never turn up on time, and regularly don’t show up at allai??i??I think there is a lot of work to be done before you can expect people to use the bus services currently provided.

“Rather than constantly trying to squeeze more money out of drivers, maybe make it worth our time to switch over.”

James H65 wrote: “There needs to be an alternative to using the car. Right now, despite horrendous queues, lengthy travel times and hard to find/expensive parking, people still use their cars.

“Why? Because the alternative is worse. Adding congestion charge costs on top won’t make a difference unless there is actually a viable.”alternative.

Writing on Facebook, Theresa Marshall said: “The centre of the city needs to be a no car zone, the buses should be free, cycle paths should be improved and the whole city rethought for the 21st century, it could be amazing if people had the will and vision.”

However, Gazza Lawrence supported the idea.

“Best idea this city has had,” he said on Facebook.


2 Responses to “Memo to Metro Mayors: Forget Road Pricing, build With LRT!”
  1. Haveacow says:

    I’m sorry this is not on topic but you have to see the video why Ottawa has problems with snow and articulated buses. One of the many reasons the Transitway is being converted to rail is to not have to plow the entire network so our articulated buses, the largest passenger carrying vehicles in our surface fleet outside of the Trillium Line’s Alstom Coradia Lint 41 DMU’s, don’t get stuck in snow drifts. This has been an ongoing problem for articulated buses operating snowy places worldwide.

  2. eric chris says:

    Great article, it isn’t hard to see the parallelism here with dopes at TransLink banking on more taxes to save their floundering s-train debacle. Feckless transit employees at TransLink will never admit that they were stupid and wasted billions of dollars on s-train. So, the only thing to do is to wipe them off the face of the earth and to quit putting up with them and their continual crap. Warning the following video clip with coarse language and graphic content might not be suitable for some viewers.

    Just as in Vancouver, s-train’s cost in Hawaii ($10.8 billion USD for 20 miles at last count) is putting a strain on finances, and city council in Hawaii has axed further spending on s-train until a recovery plan is in place. Switching to LRT or tram service is ultimately going to turn out to be the recovery plan; I predict.

    “WHEREAS, a June 6, 2016 Federal Transit Administration (‘FTA’) letter sent to the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (‘HART’) the most recent statistical analysis performed by the FTA’s project … management oversight contractor reflects a highest possible cost projection of $10 79 billion … BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the City and County of Honolulu that it hereby establishes a policy not to approve any further real property acquisitions proposed by HART for the rail project and expresses its intent to object to all such proposed acquisitions …”

    “At this time, the Federal Transit Administration has granted HART an extension until April 30, 2017 to submit their recovery plan. As the rail project continues and we await updates regarding HART’S financial plan, I will continue to keep you informed with any updates I receive, as well as the Council’s efforts to improve overall rail oversight and accountability.”

    From the outside looking in here, the sooner, council in Hawaii wakes up and scraps s-train the better. Don’t bet on anyone having the integrity to do it. Just as in Vancouver, council members have likely sold out to international developers looking to build high rise condos near s-train stations.

    In Vancouver, to suggest that 64 metre long trams (loosely referred to as LRT) holding 450 passengers in mixed traffic and sharing the roads with other vehicles are too long to operate on Broadway (as purported by City of Vancouver engineers) demonstrates a certain level of incompetence or corruption by the engineers leading transportation in Vancouver. Changes in leadership are necessary in engineering at the City of Vancouver. Right now, two articulated diesel buses in pseudo-BRT mode on the 99 B-Line route take up 64 metres of road space along Broadway as they pierce ear-drums with sonic shrieks and destroy lungs with toxic soot (each 99 B-Line is 18 metres long and two 99 B-Lines require 28 metres of separation which is the distance needed for two seconds of separation at 50 kph).

    Trams on rails allow the use of long trains of 64 metres or longer on Broadway compared to buses limited to about 18 metres in length (buses over 18 metres in length typically require expensive concrete guideways to keep the buses aligned). Obviously, there is a capital cost for the extra infrastructure (rails for trams or concrete guideways for long trolleybuses) to rid Broadway of the diesel buses wreaking havoc in Vancouver. Concrete for guided trolleybuses isn’t cheap or aesthetically pleasing; steel rails for trams are usually preferred. Rail costs for trams are offset from the operational savings of trams (one tram cuts the number of drivers comprising the major operational cost of public transit in one-half and increases the passenger capacity of public transit by at least 78% (64 meters for tram holding passengers compared to 36 metres for two 99 B-Lines holding passengers).

    There are never any corresponding operational savings with subways keeping buses on the roads to recycle passengers to the distant subway terminals. Subways were conceived before long trams evolved; subways are an evolutionary dead end pursued by stupid, ignorant or corrupt engineers in the 21st century. These engineers have gone on record to say that the subway is the only way forward and their egos are getting in the way of them doing the right thing to admit that they were wrong, for them to go with trams, instead. They are costing society billions of dollars siphoned from public education and health care to stay the course with s-train in subways here. They are disgusting maggots who refuse to accept the validity of Marchetti’s constant which fixes the one-way commute to 30 minutes.

    Sure the subway traveling at twice the speed of the tram goes twice as far over 30 minutes. What the subway really does is make people travel farther from outside of Vancouver into Vancouver over 30 minutes and prevents people who live in Vancouver from traveling 30 minutes on public transit. This is the fundamental reason for the high vehicle use in Vancouver where people couldn’t take public transit even if they were inclined to take public transit which is stuffed full with students riding in from Surrey on $40 monthly passes costing TransLink $500 monthly to put students on s-train so that s-train isn’t virtually empty which it is 80% of the time anyway.

    Tram service transporting students over 30 minutes in Vancouver is just as fast the subway service transporting students over 30 minutes from outside Vancouver. Thirty minutes is 30 minutes. To clarify, the subway merely extends the distance of the commute and swaps out short distance commuters for long distance commuters. This is what the dopes in charge of public transit in Vancouver don’t grasp and the reason that they have to be purged to make public transit cost effective in Vancouver. They are incompetent and corrupt. Reasoning with them is futile and they couldn’t give a crap how wrong they are. All they want is to keep their jobs to keep taxing drivers to pay for their salaries and more subways.

    No way. Forget it.

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