SkyTrain for Surrey, not LRT!


Surrey's first LRT line will be only half as fast as SkyTrain

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – March 27, 2018 – Surrey, BC

One detail that is increasingly left out in the discussion around Surrey’s proposed Light Rail Transit (LRT) is its operating speed. We have learned that the first of two lines being built as part of Surrey’s proposed LRT system will be only half as fast as existing SkyTrain lines serving the City of Surrey and Metro Vancouver.

A quick look at travel time estimates recently released by TransLink reveals the Surrey-Newton-Guildford (SNG) LRT line’s expected end-to-end travel time of 27 minutes. This results in average operating speed (including wait time and stops) of 21.4 km/h – approximately half as fast as the SkyTrain Expo Line, which averages 42.2 km/h when including wait time and stops.

Because Surrey’s LRT lines are being planned to run exclusively at-grade on city streets, maximum speeds will be restricted to motor vehicle speeds of between 50 and 60 km/h. By comparison, SkyTrain – which is fully separated from traffic – operates at speeds of up to 90 km/h.

Most other Canadian LRT projects feature at least some grade-separation, and thus offer higher operating speeds and access benefits. For example, over 50% of the journey on Toronto’s Eglinton Crosstown LRT is underground, resulting in higher average speeds of 28.5 km/h.

At a speed of 21.4 km/h, the SNG LRT will be one of the slowest rapid transit systems in Canada.

SkyTrain for Surrey has called for the cancellation of the Surrey-Newton-Guildford LRT project, in favour of the construction of Bus Rapid Transit on King George Boulevard and 104th Avenue for a fraction of the cost. Funds freed up by cancelling the Phase 1 LRT project could be used to accelerate rapid transit construction between Surrey and Langley. Fraser Highway commuters cannot wait another 5 years for rapid transit.

Instead of an embarrassingly slow street-running LRT, we are calling on the cities of Surrey and Langley to endorse a rapid transit system that puts commuters first. SkyTrain for Surrey’s vision for a SkyTrain+BRT combination system will result in over 2x the overall travel time savings compared to a street-running LRT.

Average speeds of proposed Light Rail lines in Canada

  • Calgary Green Line Stage 1 – 30.8 km/h
  • Ottawa Confederation Line – 29.4 km/h
  • Toronto Eglinton Crosstown LRT – 28.5 km/h
  • Edmonton Valley Line Southeast – 24.2 km/h
  • Hamilton B-Line LRT – 24.0 km/h
  • Waterloo Region ION LRT – 22.8 km/h
  • Surrey-Newton-Guildford LRT – 21.4 km/h

See also: LRT and rapid transit travel times in Canada

About SkyTrain for Surrey

SkyTrain for Surrey is the community organization that advocated for the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain extension, and continues to push for high-quality rapid transit projects in Surrey and Langley. We began as a petition calling for the scrapping of a street-level LRT proposal, which eventually amassed more than 6,000 signatures, and later contributed to making SkyTrain an election issue as a registered third-party advertiser. SkyTrain for Surrey continues to call for high-quality projects that offer a positive return-on-investment and recognize the rapidly increasing demand for transit.

Media Contact:

Daryl Dela Cruz ​– Founder, SkyTrain for Surrey
Phone: +1 604 329 3529, [email protected]

Surrey’s first LRT line will be only half as fast as SkyTrain