Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"Gary Okino" versus "Cliff Slater" -- Vancouver SkyTrain Edition


This is just garbage. Sure when, and it is very rare when SkyTrain has a problem, they need to go back to manual operations which compared to the automated operation is very slow. But the reality is that SkyTrain operates more efficiently than any other system. There has never been an accident with SkyTrain on automatic control. Never a loss of life accident like in Washington. The trains are so close you can see the one in front some times. Try 5 – 10 minutes apart in other systems. Even Canada Line will be 7 min. apart.

I have read this blog for a while and it is clear the author has a beef about SkyTrain, but it is unfounded. His facts are many times not correct, like one post states TransLink subsidizes SkyTrain to the tune of $200,000,000 well the total cost to run SkyTrain is more like under $100,000,000 and passenger fares cover 105% of the operation of SkyTrain. It is the bus company not SkyTrain getting a huge subsidy.

Who can trust anything from a source so lacking in reality.


It is you sir, that lacks reality.

FACT: The 1991 GVRD study, “The cost of Transporting People in the Lower Mainland”, put the annual SkyTrain subsidy at $157.6 million; by 2001, with the opening of the Millennium Line, the annual subsidy paid to SkyTrain was over $200 million.

FACT: TransLink does not apportion fares between buses and SkyTrain, thus can’t claim any statistic that shows that SkyTrain recovers passenger fares. 80% of SkyTrain’s passengers first take a bus to the metro.

FACT: According to Gerald Fox’s “A Comparison Between Light Rail and Automated Transit Systems”, found SkyTrain (and all automatic transit systems) less reliable than light rail.

FACT: SkyTrain has an annual death rate of 5 to 10 people annually. True SkyTrain has never had a collision in revenue service, but the Washington Metro also operates under Automatic Train Control and it appears that one train was in automatic operation and the second train was being driven manually. SkyTrain are also driven manually if need be.

FACT: SkyTrain is having ongoing signaling problems and delays are so bad that they are being reported on the radio on a weekly basis.

FACT: Light Rail can operate safely at 30 second headways and does in daily service in cities around the world.

FACT: The provincial government has never divulged the real cost to date of SkyTrain, yet in the USA, the public are told of the total cost, including debt servicing, of a transit project.

FACT: Just the Expo Line cost 60% more to operate than the entire Calgary C-Train (LRT) and Calgary’s LRT carries more passengers.

Source: http://railforthevalley.wordpress.com/2009/07/09/the-aging-skytrain-pitfalls-of-a-gadgetbahnen/

Conclusion: Facts always trump railigion.


Philip G Craig said...

Cliff Slater is correct and Gary Okino in wrong. In September 1994, I personally escorted officials of the Attiko Metro S.A. (the metro system in Athens, Greece) to the control center of Vancouver's SkyTrain. We asked "Have you had any fatalities that related to automated train operation." The answer we got from the controller on duty was "Yes, but we don't like to talk about them. One of them was a young man smoking marajuana who came staggering into a station and sat down at the end of the platform with his legs dangling into the trackway. We could see him on CCTV. We pressed the "All Trains Stop" button but it was too late; a train just entering the station swept him to his death. It was horrible to watch." Vancouver's SkyTrain system lacks platform edge doors which could have prevented this incident from happening, as well as the suicides [diving into the "pit" in front of an approaching train] that occur from time-to-time. Read the Honolulu City Administration's RFP for the Design, Build, Operate and Maintain (DBOM) Contract; it specifically calls for automated train operations and states that there will be no platform edge doors at any of the 21 stations planned between East Kapolei and Ala Moana Center.

Philip G. Craig
former Chief Planning Officer
Attiko Metro S.A.

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