Tuesday, April 26, 2011

BC Transit says Light Rail should be the rapid transit

I am rather surprised that BC Transit has suggested light rail because it is very expensive for small traffic volume.   Most people in this region do not live near the proposed line and most transit users are not near that line.   Successful LRT lines replace bus transit that has physically reached its maximum.  

I remain concerned about the idea of light rail for a number of reasons

  • The capital costs are very high
  • There is no way they could get to the $950,000,000 number without a lot more detail.   It looks like the number was chosen simply to make the cost be under $1 billion.    
  • The passenger traffic volumes are not there for Westshore to Downtown traffic
  • It has a higher operating costs unless you get larger volumes of passengers
  • Where will we get the money to pay for the line to be built?
  • The line will accessible to less than 20% of the region's population but 100% of the region will pay for it.   In the City of Victoria there is high transit use, but these people will be expected to pay more to for transit for no improvement in service.
To give this some perspective, the cost to build this line would mean spending 3.5 times more per capita here than what was spent on the Canada line in Metro Vancouver.   

If I were the provincial government and I was looking at the list of priority transit projects, I have trouble seeing how an LRT in Victoria would make that list in the next 15 years.

What I do not know:
  • Will the line be grade seperated?  
  • Where will the line run along Portage Inlet?
  • How and where do you have the terminus Downtown?
  • How frequent will the service be?
  • Will the time really be 45 minutes?   That is how long the bus currently is scheduled to take.  Is the LRT really not going to save any time?
  • Where will the passenger volumes come from to reach the 50,000 daily riders needed to make an LRT viable?  That is half the people using transit in the CRD each day.
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