Repeat A Lie Often Enough…..

“If you tell a subway lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The subway lie can be maintained only for such time as the City of Vancouver and TransLink  can shield the people from the political, economic and/or environmental consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the City of Vancouver and TransLink  to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the subway lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the City of Vancouver and TransLink.”

The Vancouver Sun keeps publishing TransLink’s propaganda as a true booster for the city of Vancouver because to be a world class city, it must have subways.

There are three issues to deal with.

Broadway is not the busiest Transit corridor in North America.

Contrary to the often repeated statement that ” TransLink calls the busiest transit route in North America” Broadway is not, not even close. When faced with a possible legal action, TransLink revised the claim and stated in Feburary 2019, “the 99 B-Line route on the Broadway Corridor moves 60,000 customers per day on articulated buses running every three minutes at peak times. This is our region’s most overcrowded bus route. ”

And again TransLink fudges the actual numbers of customers using Broadway, from a stated , “…100,000 trips per day” which amounts to less than 50,000 actual people using Broadway as transit customers make a minimum of two trips per day (in and out), which deos not even come close to the North American Standard for building a subway, which is a transit route with traffic flows in excess of 15,000 pphpd! Broadway’s traffic flows are less than 4,000 pphpd!

By the way,has there been an independent audit of ridership on Broadway?

By comparison, the Ottawa Transitway carried around 200,000 customers a day, with a peak hour capacity of 9,000 pphpd, well over double that of Broadway.

The trolleybuses are not coming back to Broadway

Like Cambie St. which once had trolleybuses, once a subway is built and the massive subsidies needed to operate the subway come into play, the expensive to operate trolleybuses will be sacrificed as a cost saving measure. According to the Toronto Transit Commission, when forecasting the annual subsidy for a almost same length subway, estimated the annual subsidy will be in excess of $40 million annually!

Adios to the trolleybuses on Broadway.

Real Construction Has Not Yet Begun

As there has not been any call for tender and as the Covid-19 pandemic has made the cost of cement and specialty steel increase, no company will entertain bidding on the subway project until all costs can be assured. Real construction will start just before the next round of civic elections as the subway is a $3 billion reelection gimmick for the NDP and Greens. Unfortunately, it will be seen as a FastFerry style debacle by voters as higher taxes and user fees will make many more people to take notice of politician’s pet mega projects.

Isn’t it interesting that TransLink is removing the trolley buses on Broadway due to the ” extremely high voltage and would cause a hazard during construction”, really and here I thought Broadway was going to be a bored tunnel?

What will be the real cost of the Broadway subway?

TransLink taking trolley buses off busy Broadway for next five years

TransLink trolley bus on West Broadway between Granville and Arbutus streets on June 9, 2020. For Susan Lazaruk story. Credit: Mike Bell/PNG [PNG Merlin Archive]
The No. 16 Arbutus trolley bus moves west along Broadway, near Granville Street, on Tuesday. Mike Bell / PNG


Beginning in less than two weeks, trolley buses will no longer run along Broadway and they won’t be seen on the busy corridor for the next five years, in order to allow for safer construction of the Broadway subway project expected to start in the fall.

The B-Line diesel buses will continue to run along the corridor, which TransLink calls the busiest transit route in North America, with more than 100,000 trips a day, and the No. 9 trolley route will be switched to diesel buses, beginning June 22.

And other north-south trolley routes that run briefly along Broadway between Cambie and Arbutus streets will be diverted, either to 12th or 4th avenues, until the 2025 project’s completion.

The $2.8-billion subway will run under Broadway, from Great Northern Way to Arbutus Street.

The overhead trolley lines on Broadway will be removed to allow for building the 5.7-kilometre subway because “they’re extremely high voltage and would cause a hazard during construction,” TransLink spokeswoman Jill Drews said in an email.

While the line will be tunnelled, there will be surface construction around the six stations, to be built at Great Northern Way and near Main, Cambie, Laurel, Granville and Arbutus streets, she said.

Cambie Street merchants, some of whom are still fighting in the courts for compensation for lost revenue during the construction of the Canada Line from 2005 to 2009, are optimistic that Broadway subway construction won’t be as disruptive as the “cut and cover” construction of the Canada Line.

“I think TransLink and the city and the province have all learned from the last one (Canada Line construction),” said Rania Hatz, executive director of the Cambie Village Business Association. “We’ve been in good communication almost weekly.”



The project will provide signs and way-finding information to minimize the impact on area businesses and to keep the public informed about each stage of construction, she said.

“They listened to every one of our requests,” she said. “It’s been amazing, not something you’d expect from a government agency.”

TransLink has sent out a business survey and knocked on doors to speak with owners and managers to create traffic and construction plans, said Drews.

The project’s transparency is in contrast to what happened during the Canada Line construction, when “they bulldozed, lied and bulldozed to cover their lies,” said Hatz.

A class-action lawsuit last month was sent back to B.C. Supreme Court for another trial by the B.C. Court of Appeal, leaving the 250 merchants suing TransLink and the province for lost revenues “extremely disappointed,” spokesman Leonard Schein said in a statement.

The lawsuit was filed 12 years ago, and two years ago the lower court ruled the merchants should be compensated for losses for the four years of disruptive cut and cover construction, he said. But it was appealed and the appeal court limited compensation for losses to one year.

“Canada Line is pleased with this result and is hopeful that the parties can move toward a final resolution,” said Drews.

The South Granville Business Improvement Association hopes the diversion of trolley buses to 12th Avenue near Granville Street will help traffic flow, spokeswoman Ivy Haisell said in an email.

But South Granville merchants are concerned about possible added pressure on parking for the shopping district if spots are removed from Broadway, she said.

The diversion of trolley buses to 12th Avenue, a residential street lined with apartment buildings, is of concern to Teresa Stolarskyj, who lives on 12th Avenue.

“Are we going to see more garbage on our street and more drunk people waiting for the bus late at night?” she said. “Is it going to be louder because of the traffic?”



9 Responses to “Repeat A Lie Often Enough…..”
  1. Haveacow says:

    Have they announced which consortium won the P3 bidding for the project contract, which I assume the contract is a DFB (Design Finance and Build) Contract because the Operate and Maintenance part would be covered by Translink? If not, have they set an announcement date yet? I know they have been doing pre-construction work, I wonder if they have been sneaking in actual construction work (part of a age old trick of keeping contract costs down)?

    The price of steel and concrete will be set in the contract, due to the fact that this is a P3 contract, the total price is forever fixed at the agreed final price value. However, they are going to have to be quick so real construction can begin in the fall. September 1 to October 1 is the current probable start range. You have 2 to 3 months once the contract is signed to begin real heavy construction. At least, you can go later than we can with outdoor work, by mid October it’s usually too cold to pour concrete outside.

    Zwei replies: As far as I know, no announcement has been made. They are doing minor pre-construction work but as for the big dig, nada.

    There some rumor around, including a cut and cover option and that costs have soared, in part, due to covid-19. As the mainstream media does not report honestly on transit, it is hard getting hard facts. There is more than subtle hints that the province wants to rethink the projects, due to the “FastFerry factor”. There is some very nasty emails floating about naming all sorts of people doing all sorts of things, regarding the subway. For the NDP, subway ribbon cutting is turning into hangman’s noose.

  2. zweisystem says:

    I would also add, the collapse of ridership on transit has sent shock waves through TransLink and Victoria. The lack of a wave of public support for Translink and SkyTrain has been very loud and Horgan is gearing up for an election, The subway may turn into another FastFerry debacle. Local support is also waning in David Eby’s riding and merchants along Broadway, who have been devastated by the lock-down, are now seeing business drift away.

    A store owner on Broadway told me in an Email that he (a long time supporter of the NDP) has stopped donating to the NDP and has informed the party not to call him. He even had a NDP Minister phone him and he told him/her bluntly, stop the subway. Higher taxes are on tap and I think Translink is very worried that the subway may mean a very loud anti TransLink/subway lobby in the next provincial election, probably next spring.

  3. The numbers for the B-Line look like this (specs from Translink):

    48 seated, 110 total x 20 vehicles per hour (3 min. headways) = 2,200 pphpd.

    At 4,000 pphpd, you have to carry 200 people per bus, or 90 more than the ‘official numbers’ of 48 seated and 62 standing…

    152 standing and 48 seated. A 1 : 3 ratio for ‘packing them in.’

    We know from anecdotal data that a good part of the ridership is going to UBC. We now have a B-Line on 41st—much to the chagrin of one Kerrisdale resident I met earlier in the year.

    And we used to have a trolley service from VCC Millennium to UBC along 4th Avenue.

    The trolley carries about 1,500 pphpd. Two B-lines (fully packed) 8,000 pphpd. That approximates Canada Line capacity at 9,800 pphpd.

    SO THE BUSES CAN DO A LOT OF THE WORK. And it would make great sense to electrify the B-Lines rather than do away with the overhead wires.

    I have to agree with Zwei, we are not making ‘good’ transportation choices. And it is up to us at the ballot box to make sure that politicians supporting the subway don’t get back in.

    Keep in mind that we are also living crisis-after-crisis: 9/11, 2008 market crash, homelessness, housing bubble, opioids, and now COVID. What’s the next one?

    There are a number of choices.

    One or two of those would create a ‘perfect storm’ where government would have to step away from super-rich subway projects. If only because the condo sales were seen as sagging.

  4. Adam fitch says:

    You know, Zwei, it really does not make sense to say that the broadway subway is a vanity project for the ndp and greens.

    All the green mlas represent southern vancouver island ridings, and weaver looks like he is on the way out.

    Who is an ndp mla in the vancouver area other than david ebey. As faf as i can tell, all the ndp mlas have bbe dead silent on the subway.

    They dont want to raise any public attention, because they know once the construction starts, they will be blamed for the traffic chaos.

    I really think that translink (and the mayors council, dominated by vancouver and surrey) are pushing this project forward, and the provincial govt is just going along quietly for the ride.

    I dont think that the provincial govt – cabinet, min of transportation, min of finance, min of muni affairs – really have a clue about what is going on in vancouver, or what local politics is about.

    Frankly, they are as distant fom vancouver as plliticians in ottawa.

    Zwei replies: The Broadway subway was the pet project of Vision Vancouver who were the civic name of the NDP. One of strongest supporters of the subway a former Vision Councillor is the premier’s Chief of Staff. It is the Greens on city council that approved the subway and did everything in their power to prevent any scrutiny of the project. Horgan or the former NDP MP and now Mayor of Vancouver could have killed the subway at any time.

  5. Wetwipe says:

    So many facts here are not true.

    Broadway is one the busiest bus routes in Vancouver. It is always crowded.

    Trolly buses will return to broadway. Subway is being built in a bored tunnel. Only the station locations will be cut and cover. Broadway traffice will continue during construction. There will be no need to take down the trolly wires.

    Cambie was different. That was cut and cover. It was a mistake as so many business had to close. It is shame trolly bus has not returned to cambie. Vancouver is not the greenest city.

    There will be no P3 for broadway subway. BC government will give contract to its preferred builder.

    Some things are not good with broadway subway. At Main street, they are choosing to build station on west side of street causing several business to close. There is a parking lot on east side of street. This type of thing inflate the cost.

    Zwei replies:

    FACT: Broadway is not the busiest transit corridor in Canada or North America. Maximum traffic flows are under 4,000 pphpd in the peak hours.
    FACT: Cambie was going to be a bored tunnel until cost escalated to a point, cut-and-cover construction was used to cut costs.
    FACT: Trolleybuses will not return to Broadway, as they did not return to Cambie. The huge costs of operating the subway will force TransLink to reduce costs elsewhere and Trolleybuses are expensive to operate.
    FACT: The Federal funding demands that the project construction will be a P-3
    FACT: Some bus routes are crowded because TransLink does not run sufficient buses to deal with customer demand. This is a management problem.

  6. Adam fitch says:

    I kind of think that the provincial liberals are staying silent until construction starts, and then they will start yelling and screaming and tearing thei hair out about what a terrible job the ndp is doing on the project.

    This will be funny, and it will be interesting to see how the ndp reacts to the criticism, sine the liberals were inpower through most of the planning period, and the liberals were entirely responsible for the 2015 referendum debacle (christy clark).

    One liberal, sam sullivan, may have said a few things. Wilkinson – silent.

    Both parties have egg on their faces on this one. It will be a sh*t show.

  7. Wetwipe says:

    If broadway is not the busiest in Canada, then what is? It is one of the busiest in Vancouver. I never said it was the busiest in Canada or north america.

    Broadway subway is really just an extension of the existing millenium line just like the extension to Coquitlam. It will be operated and maintened by same company that operates the skytrain.

    Zwei is just making stuff up that trollybus will be discontinued. At the open house, translink says trollybus will continue on broadway during construction.

    The NDP built the first Millenium line in 1990’s and there was no p3. There will be no P3 again.

    Zwei Replies: According to TransLink Broadway is “This is our region’s most overcrowded bus route.” This simply means TransLink is not supplying the buses to carry the demand. As the present B-Line capacity is a mere 2,200 pphpd, TransLink could easily increase capacity far cheaper than a $3 billion subway.

    An important part of the Federal Grant to build the subway (they are paying one third the cost) is that a P-3 must be used to match the funding. Thus both SkyTrain extensions will be P-3’s as they legally have to be.

    Sunshine, I am not making this up, TransLink will discontinue the trolleybus service on Broadway because of the huge extra operating costs of the subway (an extra $40 million annually). This will not be announced until the end of the next round of civic elections.

  8. Haveacow says:

    First, although bus builders say you can fit 110 passengers on a articulated bus, the only way you can realistically do this is if your seating arrangement is nothing but side mounted individually mounted or on bench mounted side facing seats (longitudinal seating) combined with forward facing seats at the rear of the vehicle. This seating arrangement sometimes called “a perimeter seating pattern” in the transit industry is what is implied by bus builders when bus builders state passenger capacities on single articulated buses of 100-110. This implied seating arrangement is rarely used in North America because no less than 33% during non peak hours and upwards 63% passengers during peak periods, are standing nearly all the time. This is deadly in the transit industry here in North America. Passengers hate it universally. Bus Manufacturers will never tell any politician this, it’s one of their dirty little secrets.

    The second you add forward facing double seats your standing capacity drops by a rate of 1.6 standing passengers for every second forward seat in a pair of seats. Just turning a seat forwards from a side facing seat reduces standing space. If your single articulated buses has more than even 95 passengers consider yourself lucky, or unlucky if you have to be inside this for more than 5 to 10 minutes.

    In operating multiple vehicle makers, model designs and seating arrangements on our bus Transitways here in Ottawa for almost 40 years (37 actually). 95 passengers on a single articulated bus is about the limit, especially given the body sizes of North American bus passengers. Reduce the number down to 92 or 93 if purses or bags (school and or shopping) are being carried. The numbers drop even more in the winter due to baggy winter clothing. Don’t even talk to me about walkers and shopping carts.

    For simple capacity calculations O.C. Transpo uses 90 to 93 passengers per single articulated buses, depending on the season. You can go as high as 98 if you are trying to move large numbers of passengers in a one time special event (Canada Day in Ottawa) or it’s a forced evacuation of some type, but never in normal operating circumstances.

    Secondly, Zwei might just be right about electric trolley buses, especially large articulated ones. Just in my teen and adult lifetime, I have watched Toronto, Pittsburgh, Dayton, Hamilton, Cleveland, Baltimore and maybe Boston (although I would have to check that one) retire their entire network. With Philadelphia, San Francisco and Edmonton continually making noise about getting rid of their networks. The point is that, trolley buses have been reduced to a niche transit vehicle in North America. This makes buying new ones very expensive especially considering the general improvement in battery technology. Within a decade, battery powered buses will be cheaper and more importantly, far more common and thus making spare parts cheaper than on electric trolley buses. The other point is that battery powered bus operations don’t have to maintain and repair a double wire, overhead power collection system. All these electric trolley buses have still the same issue as regular buses, they don’t last very long compared to trains, most buses now have a 8 – 12 year lifespan in North America, this is unfortunately becoming the norm for all bus designs.

  9. Haveacow says:

    I have now spent 27 years working in rapid transit planning and design. Look, if I was in charge in Vancouver, the Broadway Extension project just wouldn’t be happening. Given the other costs and desperately needed upgrades of the existing Expo Line, especially due to the fact that many of the needed upgrades haven’t been fully costed, yet alone budgeted for, by Translink. Although they are finally starting to do the costing on some of the expensive stuff now and I stress, SOME OF IT. Much of the needed upgrades haven’t even been publicly acknowledged as needed by Translink in any of their public documents, trust me, there are some really expensive and time consuming upgrades needed, right now. A below grade Skytrain right of way is just too expensive considering the number of passengers it will actually be carrying. In the future yes, the project will be worth it but not right now.

    The cost of the Broadway extension is currently about $496.4 Million per km, only $46 Million per km less than the final cost of the last subway extension in Toronto. A subway extension which went over budget due to politicians enlarging the original project’s scope and thus greatly extending the building and planning time needed. A subway line that by design is temporarily using a 60+ year old signaling system until the rest of the line is fully converted to a much newer and better system in 2022. Even though, the old signaling system and subway line can move twice the capacity of the Skytrain.

    In a mature rapid transit system, the capital cost of any new line extension has to be considered against the capital costs of upgrading your existing rapid transit system. This is why this extension is a bad idea. This project is putting a smaller number of new passengers and the extension’s expensive capital and operating costs, ahead of the capital cost of upgrades and operating costs of your busiest rapid transit line, which is in extreme need of operational updates and capacity upgrades. The transit industry refers to this as the debate/battle between horizontal or vertical expansion. Not to mention Zwei’s age old operating technology debate of LRT over Skytrain.

    I now many don’t want to hear this but Zwei has a big point, not only do you get a lot more LRT mileage compared to Skytrain for the same amount of money. You get a lot more expansion capacity with LRT versus Skytrain, using the same amount of money. At some point, most likely sooner than later Translink will have to consider this when considering a system extension.

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