SkyTrain for Surrey, not LRT!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – July 19, 2019 – Surrey, BC
TransLink has found that three options for proceeding with a future Surrey-Langley SkyTrain—including two staged options to either Fleetwood or Clayton town centres initially—have far higher benefit-cost ratios than previous LRT proposals. Although the cost for a full extension to Langley City rose slightly from $2.9 billion to $3.12 billion, the final benefit-cost ratio estimate of 1.24:1 shows that the full extension to Langley is a step in the right direction for South-of-Fraser cities with growing transit needs.
More importantly, TransLink’s finding of a 1.12:1 benefit-cost ratio for a partial extension to Fleetwood (costed at $1.6 billion) shows that SkyTrain offers a far superior return-on-investment compared to previous LRT proposals. The previously proposed Surrey-Newton-Guildford LRT was expected to have a benefit cost ratio of 0.7:1. That means that the switch to SkyTrain generates a 60% higher return-on-investment for the same $1.6 billion in funding that was originally slated for a poorly planned LRT project.
We have long noted that street-running light rail lines proposed by previous City of Surrey governments would offer fewer travel time reductions and less capacity for future growth. With the switch in technology and advancement of a Fraser Highway project, the door remains open to pursue SkyTrain projects on King George Boulevard and 104 Avenue that would likely have superior returns-on-investment compared to an LRT.
Fraser Highway carries 5 different bus routes (320, 345, 395, 502 and 503) along its length, and TransLink has noted that ridership growth on Fraser Highway is constrained by its current limited capacity. Even a partial extension on the Fraser Highway corridor would offer significant increases in transit capacity and reduction of overcrowding. A SkyTrain extension to Fleetwood will also significantly shorten commutes, which can take as long as 30 minutes on a bus in rush hour, to less than 10 minutes.
SkyTrain for Surrey will be urging decision-makers at all levels to support and proceed with a full-length Surrey-Langley SkyTrain. In addition to strong public support cited by three different surveys, a positive benefit-cost ratio shows that this is an excellent transit project that will bring significant travel time reductions and economic development opportunities for South-of-Fraser cities.
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.
Daryl Dela Cruz – Founder, SkyTrain for Surrey
Phone: +1 604 329 3529, [email protected]