The NDP – Stupid Is, As Stupid Does


Trust the NDP, to get embroiled in extending SkyTrain. Again, the NDP proven they haven’t a clue about regional transit or transit mode and if proceeded, there will be severe financial consequences for the taxpayer and the transit user.

Premier Horgan has made a very, very expensive mistake.

Again, for the general benefit of everyone, SkyTrain is the name of our light-metro system. The SkyTrain light-metro system consists of two very different railways; the Canada line which is a conventional railway and the Expo and Millennium Lines, which are an unconventional proprietary railway, now owned by Alstom of France.

The name of the proprietary railway, after five previous name changes is Movia Automatic Light Metro and a total of seven systems have been built.

Light metro, being part of the metro family, becomes exceedingly more expensive to operate in the suburbs. MALM was never designed to be a regional railway and will end up costing much more than other transit modes.

The estimated full cost of the the Extension to Langley is $3.12 million.

          Fleetwood                      Clayton                          Langley

From TransLink




The estimated added operating cost for this line is $32.4 million.

From TransLink


Added to the estimated $40 million in annual operating costs for the Broadway subway, means that operating costs for these two projects will soar to over $72 million annually.

But there is more, much more.

The Expo line is desperately in need of a major rehab which must include a complete overhaul and an increase in its electrical supply; a new automatic train control system; a rebuilding of all the stations on the Expo and Millennium Lines to extend the station platforms beyond the current 80 metres, to allow for longer trains to increase capacity; and much new track work, including replacing all the switches to allow for faster operation.

The cost for this could be has high as $3 billion!

This means TransLink must source an additional $4.5 billion to Extend the Expo Line to Langley.

What fools paradise do the NDP belong?

There are many other expensive issues to contend with, including the new owner, Alstom, may discontinue the manufacturer of the Mark 2/3 cars, which would mean the costs for the already expensive and small cars may increase by about 20%.

Sourcing spare parts for the proprietary light metro are  becoming problematic.

Oh yes, the damn thing doesn’t operate in the snow, and it snows a lot between Surrey and Langley.

Who is going to use it?

Not many because there is little demand for a direct line to Vancouver from Langley. Less than 1,000 pphpd in the peak hour.

When the NDP flip-flopped from planned LRT to SkyTrain on the Broadway – Loughheed Rapid Transit Project, it set back transit expansion in the region by over 20 years. The renamed Millennium Line, using the then called ART system (the fourth renaming of the proprietary system) which was so expensive to build, had to to be built in two parts, with the second section being the Evergreen Line. Sadly this will set back useful transit for the Fraser Valley for generations.

For Added insult, $4.5 billion could buy a Vancouver to Chilliwack TramTrain service; a completely rebuilt E&N and with money left over to build a BCIT to UBC Tram.

This project is neither green or user-friendly, nor cost effective. What it shows is that the NDP have a grave ignorance of transit and regional transit ills.


BC NDP pledges SkyTrain extension to Langley, Liberals promise small business tax cut

by Mike Hall

Posted Oct 8, 2020

File – SkyTrain. (Lasia Kretzel, NEWS 1130)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The BC NDP is pledging to complete the Surrey-Langley Skytrain expansion as part of $9 billion more in infrastructure funding, while the Liberals countered on Thursday by promising to eliminate the small business tax and offering help to the hospitality and tourism sector, both hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

NDP Leader John Horgan said his party’s plan sets out $3.1 billion to complete the Surrey-Langley Skytrain project. Of that, $1.6 billion was previously committed by all partners for the first stage to Fleetwood.

The NDP, if re-elected in the Oct. 24 provincial election, promises another $1.5 billion for the portion to Langley, with help from the federal government.

The remaining portion of the $9 billion would go to building roads, according to the NDP. The party’s overall $32 billion infrastructure plan would create 18,000 jobs.

“We want to make this a provincial project,” Horgan said of the SkyTrain expansion. “So that takes the pressure off municipalities. It takes pressure off TransLink. We’re going to fund it. The municipalities will have to find their share. I’ll work with the federal government, as I’ve been doing for the past number of years, to make sure that we get our fair share of the dollars we send to Ottawa coming back here to build the communities that we want to live in.”

Horgan added SkyTrain to Langley is overdue.

“It connects this community to the rest of the Lower Mainland,” he said.

“Twenty-three billion dollars, plus $9 billion is a lot of money for construction jobs. But we get something out of that — we get an opportunity to train the next generation of skilled workers. British Columbia has been built by working people. We need to make sure that training is there for their kids and their grandkids.”

BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson focused on small business and tourism on Thursday, but also said his party previously supported the SkyTrain expansion project.

“The Liberal government is the one that invented the project in the first place,” he said. “Rapid Transit to Langley has been on the books for about 10 years, and the issue has been the financing with the municipalities. So we’re glad to hear that John Horgan is prepared to commit to what the BC Liberals have always supported. And the question now is, is he prepared to pay for the municipal share or not? And if John Horgan doesn’t have the answer to that, this is just another repetition of BC Liberal infrastructure planning.”


8 Responses to “The NDP – Stupid Is, As Stupid Does”
  1. Chris Shelton says:

    When will the Government do its due diligence and comply with their Treasury Board Directives on Capital Asset Management Framework and do a Life Cycle Assessment of this technology?

  2. Haveacow says:

    Notice no one is talking about a second stage of the Broadway Line, from Arbutus to UBC! Will give you $1.5 – $1.6 Billion to finish a fairly easy-to-build line to Langley, even though there is only a staggering low passenger demand (a level service and passenger demand a surface LRT Line was perfect for). Provide cash for a completely tunneled or now maybe, only a partially tunneled, partially above grade line extension to UBC, especially now so they could lock in material and engineering costs early? No thanks, not this election cycle.

    Zwei replies, there is no funding and with the Expo Line’s desperate need for a rehab, I doubt funding will come anytime soon.

  3. Harrison L. says:

    Thanks for the article. It’s a real shame. I’ve been dreaming for years of mass transit servicing the Langleys and beyond. The SkyTrain solution is such a first world response to the mass transit question. I.e. spend exorbitant amounts of money on a public project implementing fancy technology with the end result being it is too expensive for the average person or it isn’t really that much cheaper than owning a car, so why bother. Trains have been around for a long long time. The technology is well understood. There are practical solutions that don’t break the bank!

    I fear in the end this will give mass transit a bad name (like the debacle of high speed rail in California) as an expensive hobby of environmental goody two-shoes when it could be a sensible answer to traffic problems, air pollution, accessibility, and equity.

    I think the problem is that they try to compete with cars and make it as comfortable and sleek as being able to drive a car, as opposed to focusing on rugged, long-lasting, affordable solutions accessible to all. If it is cheap, works well, and clean, I think people will come.

    We need something that works, not luxury…

  4. Tesla says:

    It is money well spent to extend skytrain to Langley. Only a further $1.5 billion is needed and the NDP agreed to pay it. It is a done deal if they get reelected. Skytrain is going to Langley.

    Translink has already started rebuilding the expo line. Three stations have been rebuilt.

    More stations to be rebuilt soon.

    Zwei replies: First off, you are a troll as you use various names and email addresses, but your IP number remains the same.

    The total cost for SkyTrain to go from King George to Langley, according to TransLink is $3.12 billion, $1.63 to build to Fleetwood; $2.22 billion to Clayton and $3.12 to Langley. As of now, there is only money funded to build to Fleetwwod, thus another $1.5 must be sourced to complete it to Langley. Where is the funding coming from?

    You also make light of the station renewal program with three stations done, well here is a news flash all the stations need to be rebuilt on the Expo and Millennium Lines and that is not going to happen any time soon.

    What are political promises today will be broken promises tomorrow as fiscal realities hit government, as 2021 will make 2020 seem like child’s play.

    If you actually took the time to study the situation, instead of palying silly-buggers, trolling, you might learn something.

  5. Haveacow says:

    Does anyone have the current (pre Covid 19) ridership data that shows how many passengers get on and off at each station in the morning and afternoon peak hours on the Expo Line as well as expected opening ridership at the same time for both the Fleetwood and the Langley extensions?

    The reason I am asking is that, no matter how good or bad an outward rail line extension is, you loose some existing customers or they are less likely to ride the new line because they loose their easy seat. How many of the existing passengers who currently easily get a seat (because their station is at or near the end of the existing line) will not ride or may think twice about ridding the Skytrain because it’s a less comfortable ride? Now you hope that any lost riders will be more than made up for by new riders gained from the extension. I just wonder what is the limit of the Expo Line’s consistent horizontal service extension versus the need for vertical service expansion factors?

  6. Rico says:

    Haveacow, skytrain ridership by station by year is available from the translink website under performance review.

  7. Haveacow says:


    Do they break down the passenger data into daily as well as am peak and pm peak totals? I keep seeing daily expected totals for certain extensions in 2030 or 2045, do they have expected passenger levels at opening? It worries me when any transit agency does this.

    For years the Region of Ottawa Carleton, later the New City of Ottawa, would do this for planned Transitway extensions. One day at a public meeting regarding a Transitway extension, mere citizens asked what the expected opening day passenger level would be, for this particular extension. They told the public after being asked 6 times that, this was propriety information and it would hurt property acquisition negotiations and that they would need an official provincial, access to information request to get their answer. So one of the local T.V. stations did just that and when they got the answer, they played it on every newscast for 2 or 3 days.

    The reason O.C. Transpo and Ottawa Infrastructure Services didn’t want anyone to know was that, it wasn’t just because it was a small number, it proved that it would take a decade or longer for ridership to increase to their own previously stated, minimum threshold value. This is a minimum level of passengers to even warrant a Transitway extension in the first place. It showed several of the planned stations would never reach useful passenger levels considering their capital cost. Thus cheaper alternatives could have been used and the balance of the funding used for other desperately needed projects.

  8. Rico says:

    Haveacow, the data I referenced for you is existing use by station and includes time of day. It does not include projected stations. Ridership projections for the extension by station should be in the business case analysis (I don’t remember for sure about Surrey but it was in Broadway)..

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