Monday, June 07, 2010

BC Transit Open House at City Hall

I went down to the BC Transit open house today.   I ran into MLA John Horgan there and chatted with him for a few minutes, the introduction of rapid transit would be of significant benefit to his constituents.  I also saw MLA Rob Flemming signing in as we were on our way out.

All I can say is that I am underwhelmed with what they had on offer.   They certainly had much less detail and information available than when they were looking at the Bus Rapid Transit idea.

I wish BC Transit would address two issues in detail:

  1. How much demand is needed to make rail rapid transit a reasonable option
  2. How much will it cost to build and operate a rail transit line.

How many people do you need on a rail rapid transit line to make it a good option to replace the buses with?  Is there enough demand from the Westshore to fill rail cars and justify building a dedicated rail line?   Is it impossible to meet the demand with buses?

People keeping talking about wanting rail transit but are doing this in absence of knowing how expensive it is to build.   The cost to build rail is much,. much higher than any bus rapid transit.   Beyond the capital costs, about $30,000,000 per kilometre, there are the operating costs.   Everything points to the need for a very high ridership to make it cost effective to operate rail.

Based on what I saw at the open house, there is no indication BC Transit is thinking of choosing trains over buses.
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