July 1988 Home   Newsletters

August 1988

September 1988

President's Message (Arlene Ellis)
Riding the Vancouver Sky-Train (Astrid Monson)
Transportation Committee
News Release: Beat the School Jam
Membership
Council Observers Needed (Dorothy Murdock)
League Plans Action Following Star Wars Meeting
Favorable Reaction to Star Wars Meeting
Announcement - Congratulations
Filling Midterm Legislative Vacancies in Hawaii
Debates '88
Speak Out Hawaii
Irrefutable Evidence That League Members Are Sensational!
Neighborhood Commission

Riding the Vancouver Sky-Train

With apologies to League's regular Ghost Rider, I couldn't spend a week-end in Vancouver without riding the Sky Train from end to end.

First, the good news:

1. Cars were bright, clean, attractive. Seats simple but comfortable. Big windows provided great views.

2. Stations were clean, light, well-maintained. Important Burrard St. Station glass-roofed, landscaped, park-like, an asset to downtown.

3. Construction – two sets of rails, simple square concrete posts under each, much lighter appearance than our Airport viaducts!

4. Week-end schedule provided adequate frequency – trains with four cars, 40 seats each. Often we had a whole car to ourselves.

5. Ticket machines simple to use – made change, gave clear directions, no need for ticket sellers and, little or no evidence of inspectors checking up on free-loaders.

6. Automatic. No conductors, ticket takers, inspectors.

7. Speedy. End to end trip – 14 stops, 15 miles more or less, took exactly 30 minutes. (Remember this was a week-end trip; just a few scattered passengers, no time lost loading and unloading.)

Now, the bad news:

1. Expensive. (a) Translated into U.S. dollars, peak hour fares are $1.00 for central zone, $1.40 for two zones, $2.00 for three zones – the third zone so far is served by bus only. (b) Off-peak hour fares are $1.00 (U.S.) for any length trip. (c) Senior citizen and other special "concession" fares are about half a. and b. fares. (d) Monthly passes – $40 for one zone, $54 for two, $72 for three. Senior citizens and other "concessionaires" pay $22. (e) "Fare-saver" books of 10 tickets – $9 for one zone, $12.50 for two, $18 for three. Senior citizens, one zone only, $5.20.

2. Noisy. Steel wheels scraping on steel rails make normal conversation in cars virtually impossible. Many sharp curves, accompanied by screeching sound. They have installed concrete "baffles" in response to complaints by residential neighborhoods bordering the route. (I couldn't judge whether these had solved the problem.)

3. Single route only – goes by 1987 World's Fair site – now virtually abandoned – through several industrial and residential areas, ending in a major industrial area. Most of metropolitan area is served by bus only.

4. Ridership is disappointing – 150,000 a day during the height of the World's Fair down to around 50,000 now! Latest loss figures were not available, but were running $67 million a year (for rail alone) a year ago (operating and capital combined).

5. The Vancouver area now has a population of over 1,300,000. Assuming round trips, 50,000 rail rides a day translated into 25,000 rail users, or about 2% of the total population. At the above rate of loss the average annual loss per rail user is over $2600.

Astrid Monson
Chair, Planning & Zoning Committee

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