It’s all on track.
The Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation heard a progress update Thursday on development work being done on the Surrey-to-Langley SkyTrain plan, and a “refresh” on the 27-kilometre South of Fraser Rapid Transit Strategy.
The first round of public engagement is to be completed Friday, April 26, toward supporting a late July review by the council and TransLink board of a preliminary business case for a Surrey-to-Langley SkyTrain expansion.
According to a report before the council, at its meeting in New Westminster, TransLink “has also been advancing work on the components” of a memorandum of understanding with the City of Surrey to be brought forward in July, containing a specific agreement for Surrey “to pay compensation to the region for all work plan costs unnecessarily expended on the suspended Surrey-Newton-Guildford LRT.
“Management will bring forward recommendations in May on the principles for establishing the compensation figure as well as the means for fulfilling that compensation and the calculation methodology,” the report states.
Here’s the schedule: Following a briefing in June on preliminary findings, the mayors’ council will by July 25 be presented with a draft business case for a “full” Surrey to Langley SkyTrain, as well as what’s achievable within the current $1.6 billion funding, and a request for the council’s endorsement to “further advance” development of the business case.
A final draft business case is expected to be before the council in January 2020 with March 2020 being the “earliest anticipated date” for government approval, with a 15-month procurement window and four years’ construction.
Meantime, there are to be four public engagement events this spring in Surrey Central, Fleetwood, Newton and Langley.
The mayors’ council also heard that TransLink is beginning the procurement process for its largest-ever SkyTrain order – at least 203 cars – and three times larger than any previous order TransLink has undertaken.
According to TransLink, ridership reached an all-time high in 2018, with bus ridership increasing by eight per cent, SeaBus by six per cent, SkyTrain by 5.7 per cent, West Coast Express by seven per cent and HandyDART by 5.8 per cent.
TransLink is planning to add 620,000 bus service hours over the next three years, adding 350 more buses to its fleet, including four electric buses, 32 double-deckers and 56 HandyDARTs.
Fifty six cars will be added to the Expo and Millennium lines and 24 more to the Canada Line.
“Ridership is exploding, and our region is growing,” said Jonathan Cote, chairman of the mayors’ council. “If we are going to cure congestion, we need to invest in both new transportation infrastructure and service expansion to make commutes quicker and easier now, and into the future.”
Meanwhile, none of the top 10 busiest SkyTrain stations are in Surrey – nine are in Vancouver, and one in New Westminster. That said, Surrey, North Delta, White Rock and Langley saw a 15.6 per cent increase in bus ridership in 2018 compared to 2017.