Subway Realities From Toronto

Interesting article from Toronto, which spells out some fiscal subway realities to TransLink and the City of Vancouver.

Please note Zwei’s two comments in the article and should give one pause to think that in Vancouver, the cost of subway construction has been vastly understated.

Mayor John Tory eyes alternative, more expensive routes for Scarborough subway

With concerns over building SmartTrack and a council-approved subway side-by-side, Tory and the city are looking at more eastern alternatives.

The replacement for the Scarborough RT, pictured above, might be getting more expensive if Mayor John Tory's team pushes for changes to the proposed subway extension.
Marcus Oleniuk / Toronto Star Order

The replacement for the Scarborough RT, pictured above, might be getting more expensive

if Mayor John Tory’s team pushes for changes to the proposed subway extension.

By: City Hall reporter, Published on Tue May 26 2015

Mayor John Tory appears willing to change the council-approved route for the controversial Scarborough subway in order to make it work with his SmartTrack ambitions.

But changes to the current plan could dramatically increase costs ai??i?? in one scenario by at least $1 billion.

Though he remains committed to building a subway instead of an LRT, Tory is keeping an open mind on where that subway would go, how it would get there and how many stops it might include.

Toryai??i??s main problem stems from concerns that his heavy-rail SmartTrack and the planned three-stop subway ai??i?? running north on McCowan Rd. ai??i?? would cannibalize each otherai??i??s ridership.

SmartTrack, which Tory largely staked his election campaign on and which hinges on the use of existing GO rail in the east, canai??i??t be moved. The subway, which he also promised to build, can. At what cost, however?

Because of how close together the two proposed lines are, city staff expanded their subway study area east to include other possible routes, something later encouraged behind-the-scenes by Toryai??i??s staff. Those routes, following public consultation, will likely be the subject of debate later this year with final approval up to council.

Officially, Toryai??i??s office says it would be premature for him to weigh in on any of the routes ahead of a staff report expected as early as July.

ai???The mayorai??i??s support for building the Scarborough subway is unwavering. Once a route is selected and the necessary preparatory work has been done, the mayor wants to get on with building it as soon as possible,ai??? Toryai??i??s spokesperson Amanda Galbraith said in an email.

But earlier this year, the mayorai??i??s staff seemed fixated on pushing the subway east.

On Jan. 28, Toryai??i??s director of policy Stephen Johnson, chief of staff Chris Eby and the cityai??i??s chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat discussed a public presentation on the subway study to be posted the next day.

That back-and-forth, which played out in emails obtained by the Star through a freedom of information request, focused on one particular map showing nine possible alignments for the subway.

ai???The route option that hits Kingston Road needs to show a station there. That is essential,ai??? Johnson told Keesmaat.

Galbraith said a Kingston Rd. stop was ai???raised in the context of the expanded study area and the view that it should extend as far east as Kingston She pointed out that staff ultimately decided against that suggestion, though itai??i??s not clear why.

When the map was published in January, it showed a Markham Rd. corridor that would see a subway travel east on Eglinton Ave. and north on Markham to Ellesmere Rd. before doubling back to connect with the Scarborough Town Centre.

One crucial point, transit experts argue ai??i?? and Tory himself acknowledged during an interview with Steve Paikin on TVOai??i??s The Agenda last week ai??i?? is the need for any line to travel through Scarborough Town Centre as a major hub for riders. It is one of the biggest draws for the ridership used to justify the switch to a subway.

But in order to build a station there, any subway east of McCowan Rd. would have to double back.

Though it has yet to be spelled out by staff, a Markham Rd. alignment appears to cover, at minimum, close to 11 kilometres.

Typically, the price tag for building subways has been said to be at least $300 million per kilometre ai??i?? which doesnai??i??t take into account additional costs of building multiple stations and other expenses.

The three-stop McCowan option, which was presented and approved by council in October 2013 at a cost of $3.56 billion, runs 7.6 kilometres.

The cost of tunneling some three additional kilometres for the Markham Rd. option could be close to $1 billion.

A note from Zwei: Has the cost estimates of the proposed Broadway SkyTrain subway been purposely understated to confuse Metro Vancouver residents? Is the cost of the proposed Broadway subway over $1 billion more than the $2 billion bandied about by TransLink, the City of Vancouver, and Metro Vancouver?

The province made clear in 2013 that they were unwilling to foot any additional costs for a subway when council switched plans from a fully funded, seven-stop light rail line. The federal government later pledged $660 million to build the subway extension planned for McCowan Rd.

Since then, the city has also been collecting a special tax levy for the subway to pay its share of the costs.

Ahead of the staff report, itai??i??s unclear what else could drive up costs of the alternative routes and whether the city could find the extra money in order to complete the subway for 2023 as planned.

Itai??i??s also not apparent whether the lengthier subway option could make do with just three station stops and whether that route would attract the same number of potential riders.

In 2013, the TTC first said the ridership was 9,500 per peak hour ai??i?? a standard calculation for planning transit. That number was later changed in a city staff report to 14,000 ai??i?? just outside the necessary ridership to justify a subway, widely accepted as 15,000.

A note from Zwei: Zwei has always maintained that the minimum threshold for a proper subway were passenger flows in excess of 15,000 pphpd, despite much criticisms by local transit pundits, especially the SkyTrain Lobby. The Canada Line was built on the cheap and with pygmy stations that can only accommodate two car trains, translates into future massive costs to increase capacity of the line. The present maximum crush capacity of the Canada Line is around 7,500 pphpd, half the number needed for a subway.

Some argue it would be redundant to build both SmartTrack and a subway line because they both serve the same number of riders going the same way in the same amount of time.

Comparing the calculations by Toryai??i??s campaign team and the TTC, it would be possible to get from Kennedy Station to Sheppard Ave. in 10 minutes on both lines. Agincourt GO station, used by Toryai??i??s SmartTrack and a hypothetical McCowan and Sheppard subway station, would be just two kilometres apart.


21 Responses to “Subway Realities From Toronto”
  1. Dondi says:

    Voony claims Canada Line can do 15K pphpd. Is the difference with your 7.5K about the necessary upgrades?

    “Even, with 40meters long train, the Canada line could provides a capacity of ~15,000pphpd, assuming 330 passengers per train: that is 3 times the actual capacity. Greater frequency are theorically possible with the introduction of short turn train (avoiding the single track section):

    3 trains running in one cycle, one being shorturned before the single track section, 2 using the single track section

    PS The above numbers for the Canada line, assume the availability of rolling stock, power supply, track signalling, and fast operating switch: All those could need to be upgraded, as well as the stations along the line to handle the corresponding increase in ridership, but it could be no need for heavy civil engineering work/track reconfigutation toward a capacity increase of 15,000+ pphd”

    Zwei replies: In theory the Canada Line can carry in excess of 20,000 pphpd and the Expo Line can carry 30,000 pphpd,but that is after many billions of dollars in investment. By extension, using the same theoretical calculations a simple streetcar or tram can carry 40,000 pphpd!

    Here is a bit of logic. The Toronto subway, uses 6 car trains and stations with 150 metre long platforms to move 15,000 pphpd.

    Voony says a lot of things, but he doesn’t really understand the basics of rail transit.

  2. Rico says:

    You made me laugh again. Thanks. Ps you may want to google the ridership on the Younge line.

  3. Haveacow says:

    Ah yes, the debate goes back to which one has the biggest. I have argued here before, it is not the ultimate theoretical capacity that’s really important, its what’s the functionally realistic operational capacity that passengers will want to ride in and can tolerate. The Yonge Street Subway Line in Toronto in theory can run up to 36000 people/ hour/direction. That line can legally (without exceeding its Transport Canada Operating Certificate) handle about 34500 people/hour/direction. During most peak periods the actual measured volumes is between 28900-30900 p/h/d. On certain special event days 32,600 p/h/d and 33,100 p/h/d have been measured. I have ridden on that subway when it reached 32,000 (working at the CN Tower during a Shriners convention, Blue Jays winning the World Series and a Papal visit) it is not for the faint of heart or anyone whom is prone to fainting for that matter. Put simply, it is very unpleasant! Notice the difference between the theoretical capacity and what the average Torontonian is willing to put up with on a regular basis during the peak periods. My guess is that the Canada Line has a similar functional limit legally speaking and a functional limit to what passengers under normal conditions will actually want to endure.

    The reality is that, big improvements in capacity of rail lines only happen when you expand stations platforms and entrances/exits, make the trains longer, operate more of them and operate them with smaller headways, which is expensive and takes approval and testing from Transport Canada plus a great deal of time (can take years). Simply changing train operations by introducing short turns and other little operational tricks will grant you only small numbers gains in capacity and may make you loose passengers because large groups of passengers can end up being inconvenienced by having to get off a short turning train. Ultimately its the expensive and time consuming upgrade choices that passengers respond to. Its not fair but it is historically what passengers have preferred .

  4. Haveacow says:

    I have again rerun the basics of what the Canada Line can do through 2 of my own rail transit capacity calculation models. The largest hourly capacity was just under 8000 (7910) p/h/d the lowest were around 5400p/h/d. The point is, I had to be really tough on the Canada Line to get the low value and really easy on the characteristics of line to get the high values. This tells me that ultimately, unless there is a big change in the layout/size of the trains and stations no one is going to get the big peak passenger numbers form the Canada Line they really need. Even if you believe the Voony article think about it. Would you want to be on a small 41 metre long train that has 330 passengers stuffed into it for more than say 5 minutes?

  5. Rico says:

    To save you the effort since you tend not to look at things you don’t agree with the capacity of the Yonge line in Toronto is 33,200 with the rockets….and even the Expo line has 14,000 to 16,000pphpd as it stands today. I could point to the Expo upgrade study and note your billion dollar upgrade to increase Expo line capacity to 25,000pphpd includes new rolling stock, required infrastucture and extra operating costs for 30 years. Tell me again, did you even bother to read Voony’s post?

  6. zweisystem says:

    American transit professionals use the calculation of 5 people per metre length of car for capacity. This takes into account the desire of American transit customers wanting seats (longitudinal seating is a big no no) and the customer flow entering and exiting the vehicle at stations. You are not going to attract much new ridership if you pack people in trains like sardines and unfortunately, under TransLink’s operating regimen, this is exactly what they are doing.

    The capacity debate is like penis envy, in the end it is how you use it and not how big it it is.

  7. Haveacow says:

    My basic point is still unchanged, what ever the capacity is, once you get within about 85-90% of the final practical capacity passengers start avoiding the service in greater and greater numbers, in regular operating circumstances you may never get closer to your full capacity than 85-92% of your limit. Its only when special circumstances come up like concerts, sporting events, political meetings, Exhibitions, evacuations and such, that the normal behavior block which prevents certain passengers from using the service at these high capacity moments is finally overcome. Mainly because the passenger really wants or needs to be there on the service. The last point being is that, it is somewhat illogical to consider you can ever in the normal day to day operations of your transit line ever get closer than about 92-95% of your capacity, although the final point depends on where you are and the norms of the city you are in. This has been the cornerstone behind the mathematical model a friend of mine and I have been working on for the last few years. This is why I get a little bored when I here this talk because in the real world its only the expensive changes that really get the extra passenger amounts that really count.

    You and me both, live in the real world. I try to remember its not your fault! So if I swear at you its not you personally its years of frustration of telling people, its not that easy, there are processes and laws you have to follow or else. I get majorly pissed off when people just kind of casually suggest in articles that by adding a new signaling system or buying a few extra cars or short turning in certain situations can greatly add capacity to rail transit lines. These ideas for the most part do not in the real world add much capacity because passengers screw it up in the real world. If it was really this easy the operating authority would have jumped on it immediately. These kind of moderate changes, easy changes people say, can take years and many millions of dollars in the real world. Its a really fucking big deal and it really pisses me off when people whom do not work in the industry say well it is possible isn’t it? Yes in theory but, the reality its a years long commitment and possibly a decades long legal process as well as major equipment installation hassles.

    For example in the Voony’s blog article, the act of adding a 3rd train seems easy, unless you realize that you just increased your operating cost. Your increased capacity better bring in more revenue than, the cost of operating and servicing that extra train or else someone gets fired. Budget people in the real world can argue for months about this before anything happens. To get your Skytrain system to run at a 109 second frequency during the peak period, Translink was forced to reduce off peak service. How long do you have to wait for a train at Midnight in Vancouver on the Skytrain or Canada Line, in Toronto and Montreal subway’s its 5-8 minutes depending on the line? My point is this kind of talk is about real money and sometimes a great deal of it. I get upset when people just brush it off when they don’t realize the major time and staff commitments it takes to make even a simple change.

    The Voony article shows the third train added to the Canada Line scenario requires regular use of the second cross over track in daily operation to provide a short turn capability. Does the line’s operating certificate allow this? If it doesn’t or it was only supposed to be used in pre operation only not in regular passenger service, have they changed this officially in their operation? Does the cross over presently exist or does it have to be built in? If you answered no to any of these questions, to actually do this you have to apply to Transport Canada to change your status in the operating certificate of that line. This process can take months or years depending on the severity of the change. Especially when you realize that, Transport Canada lost over 4000 employees during the last round of cuts by the Harper government and one of the worst hit areas were in this field of service. Seems easy until you have to actually do it in real life and we didn’t even discuss the actual cost of adding the track.

    Again in the Voony’s article the writer says,

    “The above numbers for the Canada line, assume the availability of rolling stock, power supply, track signaling, and fast operating switch: All those could need to be upgraded, as well as the stations along the line to handle the corresponding increase in ridership, but it could be no need for heavy civil engineering work/track reconfiguration toward a capacity increase of 15,000+ p/h/d”

    The reality of the situation that is so casually talked about is what really which makes my head scream! The cost of introducing just one of these improvements in real life is stunning. The process of introducing a modern ATC system and building new trains for a metro line to upgrade capacity by 20% is simple statement but in reality its a long frustratingly slow process. Upgrading the 60 year old signaling system on the 30.2 km Yonge University Spadina Subway Line (Line 1) is going to take a decade (2010-2020) and cost $526.8 Million in equipment alone. Thankfully the 8.6 km extension to York Region will already have it installed when it opens! Please when we talk of projects keep these realities in mind as you write. Cost of the new trains plus the signal system is worth it because the only other significant answer to the capacity problem of the Yonge St. Subway is closing down Bloor and Yonge for 6 months and greatly expanding the station by adding new platforms thus doubling possibly tripling throughput. Estimated cost $0.8-1 Billion. Or for a mere $4-7 Billion to build the Downtown relief Line.

    I am not saying that it would be that expensive on the Canada line but guys you have to start understanding that if the polls are right, Translink is not going to get its new spending money. Therefore try and keep the talk of spending in line with what technology Translink can actually afford to purchase. The Canada Line has a low capacity it will not change until Translink gets a great deal more money to upgrade it. You can give it whatever capacity number you want but, passengers will never let it get up close to its maximum under normal circumstances. If its crowded now its not likely to upgrade its capacity in any significant way until major amounts of money are spent. Remember, Translink still has not purchased the software it needs to upgrade its system recovery time on the Skytrain Lines after a shutdown. It can’t afford the $30 Million its going to cost. That’s the kind of reality you guys need to start bringing into your conversations. My rant is complete, thank you for your attention.

  8. eric chris says:

    @Rico, okay, the s-train can move more people if it is upgraded. Until it is, it isn’t. Was the electrical system designed to draw more power for more s-trains? What difference does it make anyhow? About 80% of the riders on s-train are recycled from buses and ridership on the s-train is intentionally inflated by 80%.

    At present, the capacity of s-train according to TransLink is 12,500 pphpd. Of course, if TransLink wants to add hundreds of more carbon emitting diesel buses (increasing road congestion) to the roads to transfer more riders to s-train – s-train can carry more riders. Adding 400 diesel buses to transfer riders to s-train costs about $3.5 billion to operate over 10 years ($120/hr per bus).

    “PTPT vs HTHT”

    Point to point transport (PTPT) by car is about twice as fast as hub to hub transit (HTHT) by s-train, subway or b-line (Statistics Canada). Any transportation moving too far away from PTPT, cannot attract drivers. Buffoons at TransLink spent about $10 billion on HTHT to not attract drivers. Trams approach PTPT and are the smartest transit possible to attract drivers.

    “Stupid transit by stupid or corrupt people = s-train”

    You know what? It costs about $100 to plant a sign post every 250 metre for a tram stop ($800 over two kilometers). For the s-train, it costs about $50 million to put up the s-train station requiring power for the escalators, guards, maintenance, janitors… every two kilometres.

    What’s the reason for this? It is to funnel billions of dollars from taxpayers to SNC Lavalin building the s-train lines and Bombardier supplying the s-train equipment – under the false premise that s-trains are faster than trams and less expensive than trams. Supposedly, spending on s-train results in more transit capacity than spending on the tram (LRT with stops every 250 m to 600 m).

    How about you do the math for us, Rico? Show us that three trams lines at grade to UBC with a combined capacity of 40,000 pphpd do not have more capacity than one subway line having 12,500 pphpd in capacity to UBC? Show us that the capital and operating costs of the subway line to UBC are less than the capital and operating costs of three tram lines to UBC.

    Okay, do it. I’m waiting for your “math”. Of course, there will be no math forthcoming from you as usual. You know the reason, Rico? You’re a retard. Saying that s-train has more capacity than the tram (for the money spent) is like saying that water flows uphill by gravity.

    “Commuting time with tram compared to commuting time with s-train”

    Sure, the round trip transit time for the tram is about twice the s-train’s for a few hours daily during peak hours. To counter this, the time to reach the tram is about one-fifth the s-train’s. So, the commute on the tram is faster than the commute on the s-train, for 75% of the commuters.

    Transit is the slowest mode of transportation (Statistics Canada). Building s-train and subway lines costing orders of magnitudes more than trams to make transit “less slow” for transit users is fckn stupid. Drive, if you want fast commutes. Rico, you and people like you (Daryl DC, Jeff Nagel, Gregor Robertson, Gordon Price, Geoff Meggs, Jerry Dobrovolny… Greg Moore) are stupid or corrupt. You are too unethical or dumb to know how dumb or unethical you are.

    Right now Rico, taxpayers pay 70% to 90% of your fare on public transit for you and other leeches like you to degrade the air quality and clog up the roads on very noisy and carbon-emitting diesel buses for HTHT which actually increases road congestion. If you are concerned about commuting speed and the environment, buy an electric car or Ducati motorcycle and get the heck off HTHT by TransLink.

    Rico, don’t forget to show us your calculations on how s-train is less expensive to build and operate than the tram for any given capacity. Do not give us another study (with incorrect assumptions) from TransLink.

  9. Dondi says:

    Eric Chris wrote about Rico:

    “You’re a retard.”

    And, “…you and other leaches…”

    Please rise above this level. If you were provoked because Rico called you names just ignore him/her.

    But your comments raise an interesting question, given that I take this forum to be for those interested in and generally supportive of urban and periurban transit. You say that any HTHT by transit that does not come close to matching the speed of PTPT by auto cannot attract riders.

    But is there an example anywhere of transit that generally meets this condition? I can only imagine it generally applying if the speed of PTPT by auto is slowed by removing all the public subsidies of this mode. So is HTHT by transit only feasible in unusual circumstances?

    Zwei replies: We must remember that LRT is not impeded by motor traffic, that is why it is different from a streetcar. Sadly, the concept of a reserved or dedicated R-o-W has not sunk in in this part of the world. The speed issue is a canard, used by the SkyTrain types to masquerade the fact that the distance between stations is much further apart than with LRT. The optimum spacing between station or stops on an urban LRT line is about 500m to 600 m apart. SkyTrain station spacing averages over a km apart. This gives you a faster commercial speed, but at a penalty of not attracting customers.

  10. Dondi says:

    Zwei, I’m with you on dedicated ROWs. But what Chris suggested was that any HTHT by transit must approach the speeds of PTPT by auto to draw riders.

    Such HTHT includes LRT, even given the greater local ridership draw of its closer stations relative to Skytrain’s more distant stations. So does Chris really believe in transit, given that even the best LRT probably can’t match door to door times by car for most people?

    Or do you think LRT can do this – without, as I raised before, eliminating all the leeching of public dollars by cars (that make it possible for them to be the more attractive option)?

    Zwei replies: The Hass Klau study found that the over all ambiance of a transit system (bus or LRT) was paramount in attracting customers to transit. Second came ease of ticketing and third was the speed of the commute, not the actual transit. As Eric has pointed out in the past, LRT is faster than a subway delivering customers to their destination if the commute distance is less than 7 km.

    Dedicated or Reserved R-o-W’s enable streetcars to match commercial speeds of a subway. In Europe it has been found that a tram line which has only 40% reserved R-o-W’s was competitive with a metro.

  11. Rico says:

    Dondi, these days I am doing my best to never read anything by Eric Chris, I find it helps improve my opinion of people in general…so without actually reading his post I will note the Vancouver transit system is essentially a grid system with some radial elements, notably the Expo line. It tends to have straight routes with transfers and relatively high frequencies…and despite what Zwei may say it is one of the few transit systems in North America / Australasia that has seen significant ridership growth (well above population growth, hence the increase in transit mode share). Auckland Transit did a study of comparitor cities to help model their goals and Vancouver was the ONLY one to show significant growth. Note Auckland did not use Calgary as one…another ‘S bahn’ type system…also with significant growth. You may want to ask Zwei how Vancouver transit use growth has compared with Portland, a city that went with multiple lower cost lines (at least as far as capital costs) instead of fewer higher quality lines……Dislaimer I actually do know Portlands lack of transit sucess has other causes than just slow service thru downtown…on happier transit news I think the Orange line is opening soon. You should do a story.

    Zwei replies: Yes Rico, don’t read anything from Eric Chris, a professional Engineer and listen to the SkyTrain Lobby, who champion SkyTrain, which no one seems to want, except in Vancouver. Yes Rico, turn a blind eye to fact and pontificate Daryl’s or the Skyscraper boy’s nonsesne.

    Since 1986, I have talked to scores of transit professionals, engineers and planners and not one thought SkyTrain a good transit system. Maybe that’s why only seven such systems have been built.

    Even Bombardier wants to sell its interests in SkyTrain!

    Rico, you are like alchemists of old, trying to turn SkyTrain lead into transit gold – won’t work as the operating philosophy behind SkyTrain and all the excuses and BS from the SkyTrain Lobby is not going to change that.

    Oh by the way Rico, Mr. Haveacow is a transit professional and not an invention as you claimed on your many newspaper posts during the transit plebiscite.

    P.S. I would not use any statistic coming from TransLink because they were, as BC Transit before, in partnership with Bombardier to sell SkyTrain abroad. It is called conflict of interest.

  12. Dondi says:

    Zwei, I asked about whether Chris really believes in transit in general (transit vs. cars), not more tired points about Translink and Skytrain. For a rational discussion about which transit mode we need to first clarify transit vs. car. Do you agree with him on that issue?

    Zwei replies: Public transit is good, but not when it is built in private deals (SkyTrain and the Canada Line) to win elections. Chris is a professional engineer and he sees through the TransLink and SkyTrain lobby’s BS, in fact most credible transit planners internationally see through TransLink’s and the SkyTrain lobby’s BS.

    Transit should be built to meet ridership volumes per route and not as a grand cure all for “congestion” or “pollution” and this where we got it wrong. In the hierarchy of transit it is bus > tram/LRT > metro, with each mode able to affordably cater to various traffic volumes, with metro generally built, due to cost, on routes where passenger flows exceed 15,000 to 20,000 pphpd. Build metro on lesser routes and the subsidy to operate transit increases.

    If BC Transit and TransLink had built “rail” transit on routes that justified a “LRT” or “metro” option, we would not be in the mess we find ourselves in today.

    So, continuing TransLink’s present course in building light-metro in expensive subways (Broadway) will only further increase operating subsidies, where transit in other regions is curtailed to support expensive subway.

    This I do not support, nor do I support LRT being built as a poor man’s SkyTrain in Surrey. Until there is change in planning direction,like Eric Chris, I do not support more investment in transit, until transit is built to meet ridership demands.

  13. Haveacow says:

    A little history about Portland guys. Portland like many metropolitan areas in the US was hit hard by the 2008 housing bubble/burst and the resulting recession. It was made worse because Portland’s Tri Met was allowed to you use a special class of bonds and Mutual Funds that were commonly used as investments for municipal departments and allowed them to use the dividends as part of their operating budgets. Many transit properties in the US were receiving as much as 30-40% of their operating budgets from these funds and bonds. The trap these municipal departments got into was that they used the dividends to pay for their expensive municipal employee pension funds. This allowed cities like Portland to spend a lot more on expanding their transit networks (bus and rail capital expansion) as well as supplement their operational budgets. A major portion of the LRT and Bus system expansion in Portland during the 90’s was paid by the extra operational funds that didn’t have to go to pensions.

    When the bubble burst in 2008 these municipal investment funds and bond portfolios lost a large % of their total value in some cases up to 80%. This left many transit systems that used the dividends to supplement their employee pension plans, like Portland’s Tri Met, in a very difficult position. They were required by legal agreements to supplement employee pension plans unfortunately this now had to come from their operational budgets, transit being no exception had to massively cut their bus and rail services. Capital projects not already started like the new Orange Line to Milwaukee LRT project, had to be shelved or severely cut back.

    Tri Met got into further trouble by not cancelling the Orange Line project outright, which was deep into the design/ build phase when the real financial cuts took effect to the operational transit network starting in 2009. It was believed that, by extending out the construction schedule (now set to open 2014, then to late 2015 not the original 2012) they could lower costs enough to allow the project to continue. Even when it was clear that the funds needed for maintenance and operational budgets could have used the cash infusion from the cancelling of the LRT project. By late 2012 – early 2013 it was clear that the existing LRT lines were clearly suffering from way too much deferred maintenance and the once fantastic bus network has been so severely cut back that only now in 2015, is it starting to come somewhat near to pre 2008 service levels. There is still so much deferred maintenance on the LRT network that, it is unlikely they will really catch up on the needed LRT maintenance work till after 2020 given current budgets. Unfortunately many American transit systems face the same problem, including a new one, state governments which control much of the municipal operational funding in the US, including transit, infested with Tea Party like politicians whom refuse to fund needed projects and any operational funding increases for many idiotic or strictly partisan reasons, in some cases, just because its government run and they don’t trust or like it. This means it will take many more years for agencies like Tri Met to fully recover and they still have one of the most supportive state governments.

    Zwei replies: My sources in Portland echo the same thing.

  14. Haveacow says:

    A further update on the Portland situation. A friend of mine whom used to work for both the City of Portland and Tri Met, finally received his severance pay that was legally his. It took only 4 years to get his money he was supposed to receive 3-6 weeks after being let go by Tri Met’s planning department 2011. He was talking to several people whom still work for Tri Met and said to me that, they figure that the fallout from 2008 will last at the least a decade if not 15 years.

  15. Rico says:

    Zwei, note I did not quote any sources from translink. I quoted a study from Auckland Transit and mode share would be Stats Can.

  16. Dondi says:

    Zwei, your point about choosing the right transit mode for the level of demand is all well and good.

    But you again avoid my question about whether you agree with Chris’ comments that seem to exclude transit as a general alternative to the car when he wrote that “Any transportation moving too far away from PTPT, cannot attract drivers.”

    Chris allowed that trams approach the speed of PTPT, but even if this is true it could only be so at the very local level, certainly not Surrey-Newton to UBC.

    Chris, if you are there, please correct me if you are not referring to PTPT by car, or any other misperception on my part.

    Zwei, pardon me for harping on the same point again. But if the ruling by Chris the professional engineer is right then us transit enthusiasts may as well all stop thinking about LRT or any other transit except, perhaps, trams for local trips. Or, we could also slow down cars so transit CAN compete with cars on the basis of speed.

    Translink and Skytrain certainly deserve critique. However, the distinct impression I get is that Chris’ antipathy is rooted in a non-belief in public transit in general. It seems likely he would similarly dismiss any other Canadian transit authority where he lived, because none of them plan on the basis of his ruling as a professional engineer.

    That is fine, but us transit-hen’s need to know when there is car-fox clucking in the blog-chicken coop.

    Please reassure me that I am wrong and it is just us chickens.

    Zwei replies: I do think Eric C. is on the right track, to a point. Rapid transit does not reduce congestion, unless it provides an attractive alternative to the car. We have not done this in the region and currently masquerading this fact with now over 130,000 deep discounted U-Passes issued to post secondary students, who are now crowding the system. As mentioned many times before, mode share for cars in the region has remained at 57% for over 20 years.

    If one wants to reduce congestion, one must reduce road space, but traffic engineers and politicians refuse to do this and play silly buggers with statistics. Speed has little to do with it.

    As I repeat again, a successful transit system caters to the needs of the transit customer and not the politician.

  17. eric chris says:

    Full steam ahead with the subway to UBC. Gregor Robertson is banking on it to build “investor” condos making Vancouver more unaffordable. No worries!

    Businesses on Cambie Street were ruined and lives destroyed by the subway. After the subway, road congestion worsened. No worries!

    Broadway is a disaster with 99 B-Lines blowing out windows and make people choke on diesel exhaust soot. Right now, UBC is closed and TransLink is running over 10 bus routes with no riders to UBC, costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars over the summer. No worries!

    Cracks are making homes structurally unsound along the Evergreen Line. No worries!

    Transit by TransLink is a billion dollar blunder by the hundreds of half-wits and nit wits. Who is in charge of the monkey show at TransLink?

    Todd Stone, Minister of TransLink, wake up. Fire somebody. Fire everybody at TransLink.

  18. eric chris says:

    @Dondi, dS/dt of the tram approaches dS/dt of the car (PTPT); where, “S” is the distance traveled and “t” is the time to travel the distance, “S”. If you don’t get it, study some calculus.

    You got to get it to get it. Get it? Well, Dondi, that’s what I’m saying… yeahhhh.

  19. eric chris says:

    June 7-2015

    @Rico, how are your calculations on how s-train is less expensive to build and operate than the tram for any given capacity, coming along? Just do it, Rico, show us the “calcs”. Good luck with that.

    Have you invested in a hazmat suit for s-train, yet? In South Korea people are at least wearing masks to combat MERS on transit. Well, TransLink doesn’t want to alarm riders and lose ridership. TransLink isn’t warning anyone about the deadly diseases which can be caught on transit. This is short sighted as TransLink could lose 38% of its riders to MERS.

    Unsurprisingly, as usual, TransLink hasn’t made too much of the latest wacko who caused terror on the s-train. It is bad for business. We can’t have that; keep it under wraps and throw the victims on the tracks afterwards to make it look like a suicide. Is that what the strategy by TransLink is?

    I’m puzzled, the latest terror incident on the s-train did not make it as news in the Vancouver Sun and Georgia Straight. What constitutes news about transit by TransLink in these newspapers: advertorials favouring more funding for s-train by TransLink funneling money from taxpayers to SNC Lavalin building the s-train and subway lines and Bombardier supplying the s-train and subway equipment, the French connection?

    “Neighbourhoods near rapid transit tend to dramatically increase in value” – NewCondoGuide – Metro Vancouver edition. How does this make Vancouver more affordable?

    We could have the tram line up and running to UBC by next year at no cost to taxpayers and financed from operational savings through the elimination of 10 bus routes which are in operation to UBC at present and needed for the future subway planned by the crooked rats scurrying about at TransLink. What’s the real reason for the subway to UBC? Rico?

    It is going to be hot and sunny all week. Get some sun and head to the beach if you have some time after your daily four hour round trip commute or whatever on s-train – it might clear up your foggy thinking about transit by TransLink.

  20. Haveacow says:

    A bit of good news from Portland’s Max LRT. With a final funding increase of $1.1 Million US to the operational budget, part of a $14 Million expansion of operating funds since September 2014, the MAX LRT system will as of June 7, 2015 be operating a train every 15 minutes most of the day on all lines every day, the same service level it was at in 2008 before the massive operating cuts crippled the system. Now they have to start working on restoring the bus network that saw its service cut 40-50% (depending on the line) with the same service cuts that hit the LRT system.

  21. Dondi says:

    eric chris said: “@Dondi, dS/dt of the tram approaches dS/dt of the car (PTPT); where, “S” is the distance traveled and “t” is the time to travel the distance, “S”. If you don’t get it, study some calculus. You got to get it to get it. Get it? Well, Dondi, that’s what I’m saying… yeahhhh.”

    I get that Green’s Theorm as applied to transportation is about the efficiency of loops vs. linear networks. I don’t get that (even if the theory is relevant to real world transit ) it is relevant to the issue of whether PTPT by LRT can match PTPT by car. I think Chris is changing the subject.

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