SkyTrain for Surrey, not LRT!


Surrey-Newton-Guildford LRT is Canada's worst value rapid transit project

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – April 30, 2018 – Surrey, BC

TransLink has revealed that the cost to build the first phase of Surrey’s street-running Light Rail Transit system is $1.65 billion dollars. The Surrey-Newton-Guildford LRT (SNG LRT) line will now be over $700 million more expensive to build compared to original cost estimates of $920 million.

At these costs, which exceed $150 million per kilometre, the Surrey-Newton-Guildford LRT will also be more expensive – per kilometre – than both the Millennium Line: Evergreen Extension and the Canada Line.

We have been made aware that as a result of these high costs for the SNG LRT line, a potential extension of SkyTrain from Surrey to Langley down Fraser Highway may become DELAYED.

For $1.65 billion, the City of Surrey and TransLink are buying a system that:

  • Will run entirely on city streets and be prone to delays, blockages and collisions
  • Offers only 27% of the capacity of the Canada Line in its ultimate configuration
  • Is expected to be only half as fast as SkyTrain’s Expo Line
  • Takes away crucial traffic lanes on 104th Avenue, one of Surrey’s busiest arterial roads
  • Will not decrease commute times, with riders saving only 2 minutes end-to-end
  • Does not service Fraser Highway, Fleetwood, Clayton and Langley
  • Does not connect to South Surrey, requiring a transfer to reach Guildford and Downtown
  • Requires annual operation subsidies of several millions of dollars per year

Our verdict: The Surrey-Newton-Guildford LRT will be the worst value rapid transit investment in Canada’s history.

No other rapid transit project in Canada will deliver so little for this much money.

The selection of Light Rail technology is the outcome of years of misinformation from LRT advocates who have demonstrated a poor understanding of rail rapid transit planning and cost metrics, and have consistently overstated the cost savings of building a system at grade-level.

In the months leading up to this, Surrey’s LRT vision has been criticized by experts across the country for its poor business case; is facing heat from prominent community voices including Surrey-Guildford MLA Garry Begg, who says Surrey Council is doing a poor job ‘selling’ LRT; and has drawn the ire of locals who have faced consequences such as the razing of trees in Hawthorne Park for an LRT-related road project.

We will not stand for a system that offers poor value for the money, congests our communities, and does not deliver on the travel time savings that Surrey residents will expect from their future rapid transit system. SkyTrain for Surrey has called for BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) on 104th Avenue and King George Blvd, instead of an LRT. A BRT system would offer nearly all of the benefits of an LRT system, for a fraction of the cost.

It is time to abandon the Surrey-Newton-Guildford LRT project and scrap the Surrey LRT vision.

We are calling on all decision-makers, at all levels, to do whatever is possible within their power to put a stop to the Surrey-Newton-Guildford LRT.

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-Newton-Guildford LRT is Canada’s worst value rapid transit project