Monday, March 22, 2010


You the know the cute little ferry boats that ply the False Creek waters between Granville Island and the rest of the known world?

There are two separate companies operating these. One has blue hulled boats and the other rainbow stripes.

Both were born just prior to Expo 86 and they have been thriving ever since, including expanding dock locations the outer reaches of Yaletown and the Science World.

What is important to remember at this juncture is that when these small businesses were first proposed, the sitting City Council scoffed.

"What do we need that for?"

Deja vu, baby.

Vancouver says goodbye to Olympic streetcar

Here's the central problem and what makes it all wrong for us:

It is apparently "very efficient, very clean, very fast."

Well, why the heck would we want that?

City staff have suggested it would cost $90-million in capital costs to buy cars, build a works yard and take other measures to make the streetcar permanent.

I don't believe that.

Do you?

The thing runs every six minutes less than 2 k and we already have one or two cars.

What do they need? An occasional lube 'n oil job?

There has got to be another story lurking in the salal here.

Vat is it, mein schatz?


Malcolm Johnston said...

David, years ago and in a different life, a I got a phone call from a European Transit type, representing one of the main players in the LRT/streetcar game.

The call went something like this:

"Hallo - I would like to speak to the head of the light rail department."

I replied, and some what taken aback by this and apologized;

"Sorry this is the Light Rail Committee and we don't have departments, let alone the people to staff them!"

The chap replied; "I was given your number by someone at TransLink."

I replied something like this; "I think you were given the toss by TransLink because they just don't do LRT, nor do they talk to people who do!

Realizing he was given the "bum's rush" by the transit types in the Ivory Towers on Kingsway, we talked for over an hour about transit and transit applications.

He told me that "one could build a LRT line from BCIT to UBC, via Broadway and 10th Ave. and a line from Main street to Stanly Park, that would double current bus ridership in two to three years, providing the revenue not only to pay operating costs, but to pay the dept servicing costs as well.

By doing so, it would be easy to find a transit company to plan, build and construct a LRT/streetcar line on the two routes with no cost to the taxpayer!

As well the LRT/streetcar service would replace buses operating on the route, thus saving TransLink a lot of money!

I am still laughed out of transit meetings when I repeat this, but of course, it is the same old TransLink/SkyTrain crowd the runs them; the same tired hacks that practice professional misconduct on a daily basis!

More recently, this quote from Gerald Fox, noted American transit experts should send chills down taxpayers spines.

"It is interesting how TransLink has used this cunning method of manipulating analysis to justify SkyTrain in corridor after corridor, and has thus succeeded in keeping its proprietary rail system expanding. In the US, all new transit projects that seek federal support are now subjected to scrutiny by a panel of transit peers, selected and monitored by the federal government, to ensure that projects are analysed honestly, and the taxpayers’ interests are protected. No SkyTrain project has ever passed this scrutiny in the US."

In Vancouver, the Luddites rein supreme! Tax and spend forever!

Anonymous said...

For many years I have been a user of the Skytrain. I figured Skytrain was the only type of rapid-transit system to have. I've altered my view on that to some extent. I was fortunate to be able to ride on the Olympic Line with my family before operation ended. I thought it was surprisingly smooth, quiet, and relatively fast. My only gripe was that I thought the cars were too narrow. There didn't seem to be much room for people in wheelchairs or with kids in strollers, but I suppose the cars could be reconfigured to better accommodate them. I think it is a real shame that the Olympic Line has been shut down after being in operation for only 2 or 3 months. I'd like to see it continue indefinitely, and light rail lines be set up elsewhere in Metro Vancouver.

Mayor Gregor Robertson supposedly said that it was up to Translink to approve and run an ongoing Olympic Line, and that it was unlikely to happen because of lack of funding, other priorities, etc. I don't buy this explanation/excuse. $8 Million was spent upgrading that 1.8 km stretch of line (for 2 or 3 months of use). How much more would 2 or 3 trains add to the cost? I think that running such a line would give the public a good taste of this type of transportation, and boost support for its implementation. It's too bad there seems to be a huge lack of political will to make this so.

Craig Y.

Malcolm Johnston said...

The Bombardier cars used on the Olympic Line were from the Flexity family of modular cars, which can be ordered with varying lengths of 21 to 45 metres and varying speeds of 65 to 100 kph, but have a standard width of 2.65 metres, the cars are narrow to contend with narrow gauge (metre) tramways in Europe.

Other manufacturers of modular trams offer up to 3 different widths. Bombardier does not to reduce costs.