Council has a big LRT discussion today, where it’s expected they’ll signal the need to have the next leg be the one that goes west. The mayor says we’re past the point of looking at bus rapid transit as a stepping stone to light rail.
“My position is I think we should carry on building LRT where the traffic warrants it and we should be upgrading the bus service as a pre-cursor until we can get the resources together to extend LRT,” Mayor Don Iveson told reporters. “But our long term network plan was for LRT based on long term ridership potential.”
BRT vs LRT is a debate that’s been carried out in other centres like Ottawa. However Iveson said there’s enough money on the table potentially to make the leap. especially with what can be built as a byproduct.
“Rail is the strongest city building signal you can send to the real estate community about the long term commitment to transit for that area. Would Bonnie Doon consider re-imagining their entire mall around BRT? Maybe, maybe not. Are they starting to think about it now that LRT Is coming to their doorstep? Same with Mill Woods Town Centre? Absolutely.”
“The operating costs for LRT is about $500 an hour. You take that and divide that at peak hours by the number of people who are on the train and it’s very, very, very efficient. You do that with a bus system, you don’t get the same efficiency.”
“I think we’re already at the stage where like Ottawa, we’re ready to go to rail. The federal funding is materializing. The provincial signals are very promising that the dollars will be there.”
He adds building LRT will allow them to redirect bus service to beef up other parts of the city.