Letters to the Editor

LRT is the sound choice

Once again letter writer Daryl Cruz misleads the public about the SkyTrain with a host of of what I can only say are inventions (“Surrey’s next mayor should push for SkyTrain,” The Leader, May 15).

Light Rail Transit (LRT) is not slower than SkyTrain, in fact modern LRT can achieve speeds of 90 km/h to 100 km/h on suitable rights-of-ways. A transit system’s commercial speed is determined by the quality of rights-of-way and the number of stations per route kilometre. Given equal quality rights-of-way and station/stops on a transit route, modern LRT would edge SkyTrain in the speed department.

More stations on a transit route makes the line more customer-friendly and being customer-friendly is the number-one way to attract new customers to transit.

Yes, LRT operating at grade may be involved in auto accidents every once in a while, especially when motorist disobey stop lights and signs, yet more people are killed by SkyTrain on an annual basis when compared to LRT.

Unnamed studies claiming SkyTrain brings in more investment dollars than LRT is just plain suspect.

SkyTrain’s ridership is largely made up of recycled bus riders as over 80 per cent of SkyTrain’s ridership first takes a bus. Any transit system can claim high ridership if all bus passengers were forced to take one metro line into town.

What is not generally known is the federal government tried to force the City of Ottawa to build with SkyTrain and a delegation was sent to Vancouver to research SkyTrain. What they found made the choice to build with LRT there all the much easier. The delegation found that SkyTrain not only cost more to build than LRT, it had less capacity, was more expensive to operate, and showed premature deterioration of the cement guideways, needing expensive repairs.

One can now see why only seven of these museum pieces have been built and why Surrey’s decision to build with LRT is very sound indeed.


D. Malcolm Johnston

Rail for the Valley


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