SkyTrain model worth supporting over LRT

Editor: I have never found Surrey’s LRT vision worth supporting.

Light Rail Transit (LRT) supporters in Surrey like to hide the proposal’s many downsides, like:

• Slower services: Bound by at-grade speed limits of 50-60 km/h, the proposed LRT is not much faster than the new 96 B-Line.

• Linear, not regional: Ridership expectations for LRT are much lower, which means less fare revenue to improve the broader bus network.

• A negative business case: LRT is expected to generate less in transportation benefits than it costs to put it in — a dismal reality for funding authorities.

The finished TransLink study has indicated that even with three new LRT lines in Surrey/Langley and a 30 per cent increase to the cost of driving, 65 per cent of us will still find driving to make the most sense, which isn’t enough.

The regional transportation strategy demands that there can be no more driving and no more costly road-building to maintain financial, economic and environmental sustainability over the next 30 years. It’s clear that everyone’s needs warrant something much bigger than LRT.

Surrey will only get senior-level government funding for rapid transit if it abandons its irresponsible LRT push in favour of SkyTrain — which it must do now, or else. There will be no LRT in Langley within the decade because the federals wouldn’t dare fund a project that doesn’t make financial or practical sense.

Langley stakeholders should support SkyTrain over LRT because:

• SkyTrain is worth funding: it actually generates significant transportation benefits.

• SkyTrain has worked in Vancouver to increase transit mode-share and reduce motor vehicle use.

• SkyTrain’s driverless advantage means more frequent off-peak and weekend service compared to LRT

• SkyTrain’s grade separation means consistent 97 per cent on-time reliability

• SkyTrain is the best catalyst for transit-oriented urban growth and slum revitalization when compared to other cities around the world

More details and a petition are at skytrainforsurrey.org

Daryl Dela Cruz

Better Surrey Rapid Transit

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