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Why Light Rail Doesn’t Work

  1. Light Rail offers little to no travel-time savings, while also doubling commute times during construction by paralyzing the 96 B-Line
  2. Light Rail is far more vulnerable to service disruptions requiring lengthy line closures and shuttle buses, causing severe inconvenience.
  3. Light Rail takes decades to re-generate the transportation benefits to offset its cost, making further transit expansion funding more difficult
  4. Light Rail requires a wider right of way that makes streets wider and tougher to cross and splits the community in half
  5. Light Rail causes traffic mayhem and offsets benefits to the Guildford area and shopping centre by reducing 104 Ave traffic capacity
  6. Light Rail misleads in its premise; despite “shaping communities”, it ignores the issue of auto-use growth and fails to meet regional reduction targets

City of Surrey’s Light Rail Transit (LRT) proposal isn’t comprehensive: it may assist in lessening certain issues, but completely ignores others. Light Rail also creates several issues: By choosing Light Rail, we actually worsen transit on one of the proposed corridors (104 Ave) and accept a solution that poses reliability & safety risks (LRT will run through the most dangerous intersections in Surrey and is prone to accidents & service disruptions).

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Read more: OUR VISION


6 Myths on Light Rail Transit in Surrey

Here are six myths and inaccuracies about Light Rail, SkyTrain and buses from Light Rail supporters. Click or tap each question to open the answer:

  1. MYTH: Light Rail Transit is more cost-effective.
  2. MYTH: Light Rail is better for connecting town centres and supporting business.
  3. MYTH: Light Rail links the most communities with rapid transit.
  4. MYTH: Light Rail will attract more investment than other modes.
  5. MYTH: Light Rail takes only 5 minutes longer than SkyTrain on Fraser Highway.
  6. MYTH: Light Rail can be completed and running by 2018.

Historical overview

Since 2008, Light Rail advocates in the City of Surrey have pushed an agenda of “at-grade rail and nothing else“. Motivated by the idea of opposing the expansion of the current SkyTrain system, Light Rail advocates, in their efforts, allowed practicality to take a back seat. Legitimate issues with the proposal, including a poor benefit-cost ratio, failure to meet regional auto-use reduction targets and critical inconveniences to Guildford transit riders were completely ignored. Today, unanimous support for Light Rail is met with unanimous disregard for Light Rail’s serious downsides and issues.

Light Rail Advocacy History in Surrey

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Light Rail underestimates Surrey’s transit needs. The City’s Light Rail proposal ignores a $5 million Surrey Rapid Transit Study that was commissioned to study technical aspects, which did not find LRT to be the best option. And, without a proper case study discussing the potential positives, the City of Surrey cannot effectively back LRT as a better rapid transit option over other proposals – this means the city is harming its own case for receiving funds for rapid transit investment.

Light Rail advocates have also mislead stakeholders on SkyTrain expansion as a part of the plan. Despite its potential to be very effective in solving South of Fraser transportation issues, SkyTrain has been dismissed as a part of the solution. Driven by fears of capital costs, even our decision-makers have mislead us on SkyTrain expansion – calling SkyTrain a “community splitter”, despite its ability to shape growth and create vibrant communities everywhere else in Metro Vancouver, and ignoring SkyTrain’s strength in generating more benefits than any other type of expansion.

Is there a better alternative for Surrey rapid transit?


Read more: OUR VISION

Our own Vision for Surrey’s rapid transit future includes a SkyTrain expansion to Langley and promotes bus rapid transit (BRT) investments, as part of a more comprehensive and practical Surrey transit plan that meets goals, benefits people and is responsibly built.

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