They Could Not Even Operate a Christmas Tree Train Set


Regional mayors think themselves somewhat of transit experts.

They are not, not even close.

What needs to be done before another nickle is spent on transit is a full independent review of TransLink and its operations.

That is not going to happen as there are far too many skeletons in TransLink’s closet and best keep the lid shut.

Taking TransLink’s or Metro Vancouver’s word on transit and transit planning is like buying shares in a penny stock: a lot of hype but little in return.

Not one of Metro Vancouver’s mayors understand what rapid transit is or what it can achieve if built properly.

The mayor’s council on Transit is indeed a classic “Ship of fools”.

Instead we keep building “rapid transit” in the guise of SkyTrain which has achieved little except start criminal investigations in countries where it has been built; notably Korea and Malaysia. So badly designed and so expensive that the Americans refuse to build with it.

Cheaper and more effective options need not apply!

Metro mayors vote for transit for what is good for them at the polls; needless expensive subways for Vancouver; a light metro line in Surrey/Langley on a route with little ridership and a next to useless gondola for Burnaby. They also do not care that what SkyTrain is, which in fact a dated proprietary light metro system that has long seen better days. With only seven such systems sold in the past 45 years and now only six in operation, it is doubtful that the new owner, Alstom, will continue production for much longer.

SkyTrain is the Edsel of rapid transit.

Sadly, the Mayor’s Council on Transit is utterly incompetent; so incompetent they could not even operate a Christmas tree train set.


Rapid Transit a.k.a. SkyTrain is TransLink's only vision.

Rapid Transit a.k.a. SkyTrain is TransLink’s only vision.

Transit funding needed to meet housing goals, prevent crowding, say Metro Vancouver mayors


3 Responses to “They Could Not Even Operate a Christmas Tree Train Set”
  1. E says:

    If one Pierre Poilievre is elected as prime Minister, kiss goodbye to the sweet deals between TransLink and the Federal Government. Most of Fed money is because or the close relationship the current PM and the Liberal government has with SNC Lavalin and Bombardier.

    Alstom now owns the toy metro and they have signaled that they will not play games with the provincial government and they want to wash their hands of SkyTrain. The toy train has become somewhat a tar baby with Alstom as they had to ante up a lot a cash top pay for Bombardier’s misdeeds.

    Either they will abandon construction or sell it off to the CRRC, which seems to by any and all proprietary railways they can get their hands Pierre Poilievre because he will send a fiscal lightning bolt to Victoria and Metro Vancouver.

  2. A new horse has entered this race. On 13 September CMHC doubled down on its 2022 projection that:

    “To restore affordability, we maintain our 2022 projection that Canada will need 3.5 million more units on top of what’s already being built” by 2030.

    The BC share of that number is 600,000 new doors by 2030. Let’s pick a number, 500,000 additional homes in the Lower Mainland in 7 years, over and above what is already in the pipeline to be built. And let’s make it human scale urbanism: 33% houses; 25% each row houses and courtyard houses; 8% walk-up apartments; 8% 6-storey apartments.

    Besides the challenge of tooling up industry to double production of houses, the other question we should be asking is this:

    Do we want to see 500,000 cars—or more like 1 million-plus—on our street network in 7 years?


    Since CMHC is advising the PMO, then what we must require via our politicians—starting at the local level—are the following:

    That 500,000 new doors over the next 7 years build at new tramtowns on tramstops along the BCER Vancouver to Chilliwack Interurban Corridor; and

    That the BCER Interurban Corridor operate modern electric tram like the Bombardier units demonstrated at the 2010 Olympics. Now operating on the Ion Line (Kitchener-Waterloo) and the Valley Line (Edmonton, scheduled to open later this year).

    That all new houses be CMHC GAHP: Guaranteed Affordable Houses in Perpetuity (explained below).

    • On the one hand, building more housing alone will not secure affordability. The most likely outcome of just adding product will be ‘putting out the fire with gasoline.’ Adding new product without restrictions on title will amount to feeding more fuel to the runaway, speculative global housing market.

    • On the other hand, building housing without adding commuter capacity is like shooting a horse in the leg to hurry it along. Our road network will go into gridlock and shock as an estimated 1 million-plus new cars result from this new construction.

    • Finally, I don’t anticipate handling the increase in housing by building towers. Towers are not what Canadians want to live in. The luxury condos that have been building, first in Vancovuer, and now region wide, are products that sell on the speculative global housing markets.

    Canadians want houses for homes. And that brings up the GAHP referenced in the third point above.

    • The 500,000 additional units should be built on government land, with contracts on title limiting resale value to ‘purchase price + CPI’. That is the only way we can secure the cost of housing in perpetuity—forever.

    • In Vancouver, South False Creek was built on lease-hold land still owned by government, but let on 30-year terms. At 2.5 floors in height, over underground parking, the density is 55% of what can be achieved with 4.5 storey row and courtyard houses, all units with front doors opening directly on the street or residential square.

    At these densities,

    • 425 units.

    • 200,000 units of infill in 10 Interurban stops, all front doors max 12-minute walk from the stop.

    • 400,000 units in 50 tramstops, 8,000 units per tramtown, 120 ac footprint, all front doors maximum 5 minute walk from the tramstop. The town charter prevents the tramtown from sprawling, or ‘growing’ its boundary.

    • 485,000 units in 10 tramstations, 48,500 units per tramtown, 724 ac footprint, all front doors maximum 12 minute walk from the tramstop. The town charter prevents the tramtown from sprawling, or ‘growing’ its boundary.

    TOTAL POSSIBLE BUILDOUT: 1,085,425 units.

    Half that amount is needed to meet the number projected by CMHC by 2030 required to return house prices to 2004 levels.

    Which means we need to achieve 50% buildout on all sites by 2030. While that is a more reasonable approach to growth, it remains a daunting task to fulfill.

  3. Jason says:

    Everything you have written on this website to date seems to justify why the SkyTrain was an excellent decision. Ok if I ask what you expect to accomplish? You seem to have been at this for a very long time and yet without any results.

    Zwei replies: The “Edsel” of transit systems was a good decision? Why did Bombardier offer success fees to bureaucrats and politicians to sell it?

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