Huge costs ahead for outdated SkyTrain system


It always amuses me when politicians talk transit without knowing much about transit.

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Metro mayors, abetted by Vancouver and Surrey, continue to build with the expensive and obsolete (now called) Movia Metro, known locally as SkyTrain. Vancouver is now the only city in the world that continues to plan and build with Movia Metro. Cities which studied SkyTrain in Vancouver found it expensive to build, operate and maintain, when compared to light rail. They also found that SkyTrain lacked capacity.

The Canada Line, which is not a Movia Metro, due to escalating costs had the scope of the project so reduced that it has just a little more than half the capacity of the Movia Metro lines.

Internationally, the Canada Line is viewed as a classic white elephant.

Interestingly, SNC Lavalin own the engineering patents for the proprietary Movia Metro and lead the faux P-3 consortium operating the Canada line for 35 years.

Let us look at rapid transit costs:

  • The extension of SkyTrain to Fleetwood - $1.65 billion (funded)
  • The extension of SkyTrain from Fleetwood to Langley - at least $1.5 billion (unfunded)
  • The Broadway subway to Arbutus - $3.5 billion (funded to $2.8 billion, not including cars)
  • The Broadway subway extension from Arbutus to UBC - at least $4 billion (unfunded)
  • The Expo and Millennium line rehab, to increase capacity - $3 billion (full cost unfunded).

The list does not include the minimum $2 billion rehab of the Canada Line, to increase its capacity, in 25 years hence, when the P-3 ends and the Canada Line is handed back to Metro Vancouver and TransLink.

Over $11 billion in direct SkyTrain costs in the next decade or so and not a hint in huge increases in the operating costs, an estimate $40 million, just for the SkyTrain subway to Arbutus.

Before any more politicians talk about extending SkyTrain, let us first talk costs and taxes, as SkyTrain expansion seems to be planned and built with the notion that taxers have extremely deep pockets.

Malcolm Johnston

Rail for the Valley

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© Delta Optimist


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