Thursday, June 02, 2011

LRT capacity - it is no better than what buses currently do but it will cost more operate

Looking at the number of trains proposed on the system at the start of proposed operations, which is 13, there is a major issue with capacity on the route - the LRT does not offer more capacity than we currently have on the buses.

Each train could do about 0.66 round trips per hour.   The proposal is to start with 13 trains with a capacity of 230 passengers, this means a maximum capacity of 4000 people per hour.  This would be a train every 3:28 minutes.  That is a one way capacity of 2000 people per hour.  

Buses can make about 0.6 trips per hour in peak hours from the Legislature to Langford and back meaning it would take 42 buses a hour to have the same capacity, as 13 LRT trains.     So how are we doing at the moment?

Currently, during the busiest peak hour which is 4 pm to 5 pm, there are 35 out bound buses on 11 routes that would likely be replaced by the the LRT.   This means the one way capacity of the busiest hour with the the buses BC Transit is operating now is 2800 people outbound.   This is a bus every 1:43 minutes.

I am assuming a maximum capacity of 80 people per bus.   The Alexander Enviro500 double decker buses operated here have a capacity of over 100 people.   The eleven routes are:  #30, #31, #32x, #50, #52, #57, #61, #70, #71 #72 and #75.

If we take out all the peninsula routes and only look at the buses that run the whole length of Douglas, there are 26 outbound buses between 4 pm and 5 pm with a capacity the same as what the LRT will be able to handle on day one.  This is a bus every 2:19 minutes along Douglas.  

The cost to operate the 13 LRT trains for one hour is $4550.   The cost to operate the current buses on all 11 routes for that one peak hour is $3400.   This means it costs $1150 more per hour to run the LRT which has a lower capacity.   If we only look at the 26 buses that currently run the length of Douglas, the operational cost is $2500.   That is $2000 less per hour than the LRT will cost.

Meanwhile, in the heart of downtown, during the busiest peak hour of 4 to 5 pm there are 81 buses that pass through the intersection of Douglas and Yates northbound.   That is a bus every 44 seconds and an hourly capacity of 6500 people going through that intersection northbound.   This is what we can do at the moment, this is not a plan or projection, this is what is actually being done at the moment
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