Monday, July 22, 2019

Business case to build SkyTrain to Langley strongest

A map of the proposed SkyTrain extension to Langley including station locations. Select map to enlarge.

On Friday, TransLink and the Mayors’ Council released information about the proposed Surrey-Langley SkyTrain extension. The big headline was that there isn't enough money available today to build the extension all the way to Langley; there is currently enough money to build the line to Fleetwood.

The current limited funding should come as no surprise. We are currently in phase two of a three phase 10-Year Mayors’ Council Transportation Vision. A fully funded phase three would get the line to Langley. The provincial and federal governments have both stated their commitment to the 10-Year Vision. Like in the past, they are looking for our region to pay for some of project costs and the on-going operating costs.

There is a funding gap right now for phase three. This gap is the regional portion of funding. The Mayors’ Council has been working on plugging this gap. Regional funding includes property tax and developer charges.

What really stood out to me was the strong business case to build the extension to Langley. It has similar ridership characteristics to the Evergreen extension.

Information about various build-out scenarios for the SkyTrain extension to Langley. Select table to enlarge.

TransLink is presenting three scenarios for the Mayors’ Council to consider on Thursday. Extending SkyTrain to Fleetwood will likely be completed in phase two of the 10-Year Vision with the full build-out to Langley completed in phase three of the 10-Year Vision.

By 2035, TransLink estimates that the extension will have daily ridership of 39,900 if it is completed to Fleetwood. If the line is completed to Langley, it would have daily ridership of 62,000!

Building the extension to Langley would double the number of people that start using transit and stop using other modes of travel such as driving compared to just building the extension to Fleetwood. The full extension to Langley will have a meaningful impact on reducing congestion.

The benefit to cost ratio is strongest for building the SkyTrain extension to Langley. The extension would have an annual operating and maintenance cost of $31.7 million (2019 dollars) and the projected fare revenue would be $21.3 million (2019 dollars) by 2035. That would set the farebox recovery at 67%. Farebox recovery greater than 50% is generally considered good.

I look forward to the Mayors’ Council securing phase three funding for their 10-Year Vision which will likely allow SkyTrain to be extended to Langley.

1 comment:

S. said...

The 'SKytrain to Langley' project has fairly obviously been moving toward a 'SKytrain further into Surrey, maybe Langley in the future' project for some time. Sure it might make sense (though not as much as light rail) but it's *much* more likely to become a bait and switch situation.