Letters to the Editor

SkyTrain obsolete for years

I find I must reply to Mr. Daryl Cruz’s most bizarre letter (“Light rail not right for Surrey or Vancouver,” The Leader, Jan. 1.)

The fact of the matter is simple – modern light rail made proprietary light-metro systems obsolete almost two decades ago. That many who support spending billions of dollars on SkyTrain extensions remain ignorant of this fact is telling.

LRT made SkyTrain obsolete in North America the early ’80s, when a study by IBI Group for the Toronto Transit Commission found that SkyTrain “could cost anywhere up to ten times more to install than light rail, for about the same capacity.”

Why build with SkyTrain when you got a far bigger bang for your buck with LRT?

Though only seven SkyTrain-type systems have been built since the late 1970s, the proprietary mini-metro has gone through at least four official name changes, starting with Intermediate Capacity Transit System; then to Advanced Light Rail Transit; followed by Automatic Light Metro; and presently Advanced Rapid Transit.

During the same period, modern LRT has just remained light rail, and during the same period that SkyTrain has been on the market, over 160 new LRT systems have been built and a further 56 LRT systems are under construction or have been approved.

It is also interesting to note that not one of the seven SkyTrain tendering processes allowed light rail to compete.

It is this statement by Mr. Cruz that forced me to reply: “building LRT will cost us billions and billions more than building SkyTrain.” The statement is beyond all reality and belongs in a world of fairies and pixie dust.

Yes, those supporting modern LRT are “blind” indeed.


Malcolm Johnston

Rail for the Valley


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