Anti-LRT argument is off the rails

Modern LRT is considered one of the safest public transit modes in the world

The predictable letter from Frank G. Serle, Jr., supporting SkyTrain is again full of anti-LRT rhetoric and very short on facts.

Modern LRT is considered one of the safest public transit modes in the world and statistics show that more people die annually on SkyTrain than the Calgary C-Train LRT.

As for SkyTrain being more ecologically friendly, a study done by UBC prof. Patrick Condon found that SkyTrain was a far greater burden on the ecology than LRT.

His study shows a cost of a trip, with full external costs including pollution, for SkyTrain was $12.34 versus $7.64 for LRT and $3.04 for a modern streetcar.

Modern LRT is as convenient as SkyTrain and with light rail, computer glitches do not stop service.

Being elevated means that costs for new transit constructions rise dramatically (reducing the size of ones transit network) and there is little incentive for car drivers to use the new expensive transit system, as the elevated transit is up in the air and out of sight.

The stoplight issue is a canard.

If a traffic light controlled intersection for light rail causes so much grief, then all the light controlled intersections must cause continual traffic chaos.

Would Mr. Serle have us remove all light-controlled intersections (and all stop signs for that matter) to reduce “stop-and-go traffic and its negative polluting effects”?

What Mr. Serle doesn’t address is that SkyTrain has been on the market for over 30 years, yet only seven such systems exist.

All were sold in private deals where modern LRT was purposely excluded, yet during the same period, more than 150 new LRT systems have been build or are under construction, with the vast majority of them approved in a full and open public consultation process.

This singular fact speaks for itself.


Malcolm Johnston

Rail for the Valley


Surrey North Delta Leader

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