Archive for the ‘Speak Out’ category

There is a good reason only seven SkyTrain type systems have been sold in the past 30 years.

November 25, 2009

Vancouver Courier

Letter to the Editor

The article “TransLink’s Prendergast offers parting advice” contains an error, which is commonly made by those who know little about modern LRT, which must be rectified.

The comment: “At-grade light rail typically can’t carry as many people or run as fast as grade-separated SkyTrain,” is absolutely false.

The maximum capacity of a modern LRT line is over 20,000 persons per hour per direction and even some European streetcar or tram systems do manage 20,000 persons per hour in peak hours on portions of their lines.

SkyTrain, limited by automatic (driverless) train control can only manage under 15,000 persons per hour and needs a billion dollars or more in upgrades just to match what modern LRT can achieve today.

As for speed, SkyTrain’s higher commercial speeds can be, in part, accounted for fewer stations per route kilometre than comparable LRT systems.

The maximum speed for SkyTrain is about 80 km/h, yet in Portland, their MAX LRT line travels at 90 km/h on portions of their line.

MAX’s commercial speed is lower than SkyTrain because it has about twice as many stations per route kilometre than SkyTrain and the light rail travels as a streetcar through downtown Portland, with no track reservation or signal priority at intersections.

St. Louis’ LRT system in fact has a higher commercial speed than our SkyTrain light metro.

One would wish the media stop listening to the many SkyTrain urban myths and start dealing with established facts about modern light rail.

Malcolm Johnston


The View from a HandyDart Driver’s Seat

November 13, 2009

The Tyee

By Tom Sandborn

People are mad at strikers for stranding the disabled. Here’s another side you haven’t heard.

This was my job. Driving all day in fair weather and foul, finding my way through every traffic snarl imaginable. At each stop, I would climb in and out of my bus to operate a hydraulic lift to move wheelchair passengers on and off, then would quickly deploy elaborate strap-down technologies to keep the wheelchairs from shifting while I drove. I would engage passengers, many of them in physical and emotional pain, in conversations that could, sometimes without warning, plunge both of us into sadness. All the while, I would need to stay alert for radio signals from the dispatch office, signs of health emergencies among my passengers, and that erratic driver over there on the left or right who maybe didn’t see me coming.


– The need for a Regional Transportation Authority

October 29, 2009

Victoria Vision

The city has now been promised $21 000 000 from the federal government for the replacement of the bridge. This money is not coming from the stimulus money, but from the Build Canada pot of money. This should mean the timelines the city was trying to meet for the stimulus funding are not longer an issue.

Without funding from the province, the cost of the bridge to the city is over $40 000 000 if there are no cost overruns. The city needs to either find some other sources of money for the bridge or scale back the project. The easiest way to scale back the project would be to drop the rail part of the bridge.


– Region’s sustainable transit plan must be funded

October 29, 2009

Vancouver Sun

By Mike Harcourt

If TransLink’s “sustainable Metro Vancouver” budget increased $450 million per year — on top of its present approximately $1-billion budget — we could have:

– Three more LRT lines (Evergreen Line from Lougheed Mall to Coquitlam Town Centre via Port Moody, the Millennium Line extended toward the University of British Columbia and an expanded and extended Expo Line);

– Seven Bus Rapid Transit(BRT) Lines: King George Highway and Scott Road in Surrey; Lougheed to Abbotsford, 200th in Langley;


– New Canada Line already outdated

October 23, 2009

ED. The continued incompetence of TransLink management is well documented in this must-read Letter to the Editor.

Richmond News
Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Does anyone else out there feel like I do?

Congratulations TransLink! You have designed a system that is already outdated. The new Canada Line is crammed to the doors during rush hour and there is virtually no room for expansion. What are you going to do in five years when the population of Richmond has grown 20 per cent?

Go green? What a joke. I’m thinking about going back to my car. At 60 years old, I’m getting very tired of paying $100 a month to be crammed in, having to stand, and being pushed and shoved for 30 minutes.


– Creative bus stops around the world

October 23, 2009

ED. Just think what Vancouver could have if TransLink would hire some architects and designers to provide shelters that actually keep the rain off commuters. TransLink has a long way to go in understanding what customer service is all about.


– Can’t imagine daily bus rush

October 22, 2009

Peace Arch News

Letter to the Editor

I have not noticed any further comments on the new transportation arrangements to Vancouver.

Yesterday, I went “into town” to one of the art shops I patronize.

Previously, it took me 40-50 minutes to arrive at my destination. This time, the bus left White Rock Centre close to 5 p.m., with me arriving at the Broadway store at 6:40 – almost in tears.

A blooming disaster, if anyone would’ve asked me!

The Canada Line was standing room only – all the way – unable to find a comfortable spot where I felt secure. The 99 B-line was packed full, a young woman graciously ceded her seat to me. Great speed and dexterity used to “debus.”

The return trip was only one hour, but would not have been for my luck and age, as I was one of only four passengers that got on that bus – another 20 were left behind.

Three more minutes is nothing, you say. It adds up.

Standing squished next to driver, I dared ask if it is always this busy at this time. No, it is like this all day long, since the 98 B-line was taken out, he replied, just as gently.

Then, I was swept up to the Canada Line in mad rush. This time I, like most other rude people, walked on before all “detrained” and grab myself one of just a few seats available at that instant.

I do not understand why or how commuters accept this situation; can’t imagine this on a daily basis.

Alicia M.B. Ballard, White Rock