You do Not like Streetcars ……………. Pity!

In Metro Vancouver, publishing the following is considered heresy by the SkyTrain lobby, yet today, SkyTrain shows very little benefits to the community, rather it creates barriers to transit.

All the SkyTrain Lobby, the mayor’s Council on Transit, TransLink and the provincial government can show is that SkyTrain drives up property values, creating demovictions for the less wealthy, and a general un-affordability of housing. TransLink can’t even show an independent analysis of light metro operation because internationally it is considered obsolete and is unsalable, except that is, to the rubes in Victoria, metro Vancouver, TransLink, and the Mayor’s Council on Transit.

I think the consequences of the $11 billion needed to build 21.7 extension to both the Expo and Millennium Lines will come back to haunt them.

A study from Bath England


The installation of trams drives city regeneration by making access cheap, easy, fast, pleasant and convenient.

Above: Higher economic acitivty near a tram line due to trams

Croydon Tram at Reeves Corner, doing everything that TransLink claims trams cannot do!

Croydon Tram at Reeves Corner, doing everything that TransLink claims trams cannot do!

Croydon Tram Link – Academic analysis of benefits of Croydon Tram:

Extract from Economic and regeneration impacts of
Croydon Tramlink

1.14 Impact on businesses:
The majority of businesses in the Croydon area regard Tramlink as having a positive impact on their business, helping to raise their profile, increasing
customer numbers and business activity.

Tramlink is most visible in Croydon and has brought renewed confidence to the area. It is evidence that major changes can occur at a local level and
represents a strong marketing tool to convey Croydon as a place with drive, ambition and a “Can do” philosophy. Major developments are now taking
Tramlink into account and high profile office based employers have recently moved in, quoting high accessibility as a key factor in their choice.

Whilst the retail sector was negatively impacted during the construction period, footfall in Croydon centre was supported by Tramlink during major retail
redevelopment. In addition contrary to initial fears, it has not generated a drift of shoppers to Croydon at the expense of other centres along the route.

1.15 Conclusion and lessons for future systems. As expected Tramlink’s impacts as perceived by stakeholders are varied and very difficult to quantify. However it is clear that it has had the following impacts:

• Radically improved orbital access across South London;
• Markedly raised the profile of Croydon but not other centres served by the system;
• Assisted in attracting high profile inward investors to Croydon;
• Facilitated some commercial development along the route;
• Attracted young professionals to the area leading to a slight increase in property prices;
• Made recruitment marginally easier and improved productivity through better punctuality;
• Improved the job prospects of the unemployed residents of New Addington;
• Improved the accessibility of the mobility impaired and socially excluded especially in New Addington and to a lesser extent at Phipp’s Bridge;
• Maintained footfall in central Croydon during major retail redevelopment;
• Enabled the upgrading of a number of retail outlets within Croydon; and
• Benefited the residents of the areas it served broadly in line with their age and gender, that is, the benefits have not been biased towards any particular
group. It has, however, had less of an impact on other centres such as Wimbledon but it has not led to the downturn of smaller centres which was a concern when
the system was being planned and built. To maximise the benefits of future systems, besides ensuring that it offers a high quality transport service and integrates to other transport systems, the areas to be served need to ensure that:
• They use the goodwill and feel good factors generated by new light rail/tram schemes to aggressively market their areas;
• Training schemes are put in place to enable residents to take up the employment opportunities that become available to them through improved accessibility;
• The system is highly visible and associated stops are of a high quality; and
• Planning policies facilitate appropriate residential and commercial developments around tram stops.


One Response to “You do Not like Streetcars ……………. Pity!”
  1. Professor Kay says:

    North America has prospered from its car culture. One hundred years ago, rail transit was replaced by cars and buses. Buses use the roads and are more economical than rail transit. Rail transit is the bane of our major cities.

    Public goods have a well-established definition in economics — and transit service doesn’t meet it.

    By the 1920s, as the automobile became a fierce competitor, privately run transit struggled.

    Large numbers of low‐​income people no longer rely on transit, and, in fact, increasing auto ownership has helped lift many people out of poverty because automobiles provide them with access to far more jobs and other economic opportunities than transit does.

    Zwei replies: I question the studies you provided as both Bloomberg and the Cato Institute are far right American think tanks, not unlike the Fraser Institute, which craft studies for the benefit of their supporters.

    Transit struggled because funding was cut, which reduced the ability of transit systems to operate. After WW@ mopst transit systems offering rail transit were denied funding, even though the systems ran 24/7 for almost 5 years straight with little maintenance. In short they ran up to 20 years of service in just 4 years and needed an infusion of funding to maintain, repair or replace infrastructure.

    There was also strong lobbying from auto makers to stop federal and state funding of public transit systems, especially the ones that operate successful streetcar operations.

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