Translink CEO: Light Rail Should be Included

In a recent interview with Black Press, Translink CEO Tom Pendergast spoke in support of light rail expansion into the Fraser Valley, particularly when contrasted with SkyTrain-type elevated rail.

"If you've got wide street right-of-ways in Surrey and Langley, you can take some two or three lanes, put in a dedicated guideway in the centre or off to one side that would be light rail, and it will work very effectively."

He points to light rail systems going into Denver, Phoenix and Salt Lake City, but adds each corridor here needs to be assessed individually.

"SkyTrain isn't for every place and for every time," Pendergast said, and in support of a closer look at other options: "If there's one thing I feel, I feel that it's not clearly evident that an alternatives analysis is gone through when people decide what technology to use to deliver the service in a corridor."

It is quite refreshing to see the CEO of Translink speaking like this, when current provincial and federal governments have been solidly behind new Skytrain expansion to the airport, and later, Port Moody/Coquitlam. Even the outgoing mayor of Vancouver has tried to use SkyTrain to his advantage, when he unilaterally decided to try and push for its expansion to UBC.

Equally interesting were Pendergast's comments regarding real estate development - a major future source of funding for Translink - and 'smart card' payment systems.