Rail transit a better solution than more buses


Re: “E&N railbed impractical for mass transit,” letter, Oct. 13.

We who call for rail transit see the E&N route, Langford to Victoria, as a first step in growing a rail network. The letter-writer has an image of heavy rail bilevel cars. We see using modern, light tram-train equipment with the capacity of 200 or more people per vehicle, and the ability to be coupled to carry more. With top speed of 90 km/h, these cars can easily make the 13-kilometre trip in 15 minutes.

Add in a streetcar service, Uptown through downtown, and James Bay to Ogden Point, to attract the higher-density development that Victoria and Saanich councils want.

We do need more buses for more frequent service. But buses are tangled with the congested traffic. Even so-called rapid-bus services fail to attract drivers from their vehicles.

The provincial government is spending $80 million to shift the highway choke points for West Shore commuters. They have built a SkyTrain to Coquitlam when citizen consultation recommended less-expensive surface light rail. They ignore the evidence that light rail is cost-effective in moving people. Cities with surface rail transit keep expanding their networks.

Our region needs a serious transportation plan and it also needs serious financial input.

Can the City of Victoria by itself build a streetcar line from Ogden Point to the renewed Mayfair Mall for its own benefit? Portland built its streetcar line without regional participation. That line has generated several billion dollars in development.

Bob Trotter, president

Greater Victoria Light Rail Society

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