SMART for Vancouver

This transit advocacy site has two main goals:

  • Promote the implementation of the appropriate mode of transit for the Broadway corridor in Vancouver. As the name implies, there is a significant emphasis on Light Rail Transit, but that is because LRT is best suited to supply higher-order suburban transit needs. Where appropriate, subway technology is promoted on this site.
  • Promote a more equitable fare structure across different transit operators in Vancouver. Fare equity involves as simple a system as possible that strikes a balance between charging based on the length of a journey while still attracting longer-distance commuters to transit.

All opinions are welcome on our Blog, even if it differs with the site’s general point of view. However, we reserve the right to delete derogatory comments.



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Blog Smart for Vancouver

17 Comments Add yours

  1. fredinno says:

    “Advocating for this idea is a colossal waste of time and money for three simple reasons:

    No benefits to Central Broadway riders
    Far longer travel times to/from UBC
    Doesn’t eliminate the 99 B-Line”


    1. adamfitch says:

      Thanks for your comment, Fredinno. Actually, it does do all three of those things.

      1. By relieving the demand on the broadway line, it makes west broadway more accessible. People can travel on the lrt on 16th ave, get off and walk, bike or bus the 7 blocks to broadway or the 6 blocks to 10th ave. And the stops will be closer together and easier to access than stops on a broadway subway would be.

      2. The lrt will only take a few minutes more to ubc than a subway would take. And be a much more pleasant ride.

      3. The 99 b line could continue to operate, if need be. In fact, with the cost savings of tis project, it could even be improved.


      1. fredinno says:

        More accessible to who? Not transit users. And the UBC extension is likely in a decade due to the expected cash stimulus injection from Covid pushing up the timeline of infrastructure projects.

        It’s not only a ‘few minutes slower’, the line is at-grade and about 2 km longer. And the stops are supposed to be closer together, which makes the line even slower. At your listed avg 30 km/hr, it’d be about 30 min. Skytrain would take about 20 min. end-to-end. The 99B is about 40 min end-to-end.

        There’s an assumption that stops need to be placed closely together. Unless you’re disabled, that’s not true. Stations are generally spaced a 15-10 min walk from each other on the Millennium, meaning if you’re between 2 stations, the most you’ll walk is 5-7 minutes.

        There’s the problem with the VCC terminus as well: all the lots in the area are slated for approved developments, so there’s no space for a transfer terminal.


  2. Blake says:

    What a ridiculous concept. There is absolutely no way an LRT for that length will cost no more than $700 million. Wheres the engineering studies to back this plan up? And I’m not looking for a pleasant ride, I’m looking for a fast, direct route that won’t get impeded by car traffic.


    1. adamfitch says:

      Blake. Over 200 new lrt projects hzve been built around the world since the 1980s. Lowest cost around 10 million per km, in todays dollare. Highest cost 150 millio per km. Average cost 50-60 million/ km.

      12.5 km x50 million / km = 700 million.

      Campare to broadway subway at 500 million/ km.

      As fzr as speed, lrt is within range of skytrain, and avoids the time it takes to enter and exit underground or elevated stations.

      No one in the know who is independent of the goverment and the development and real estate industries thinks that a subway to ubc ids possi le wihin the next 25 yezrs.


  3. Shirbert says:

    Funny enough, a sky train is considered as an LRT thusfore the sky train should be be expanded rather than building a full different type of LRT.


    1. adamfitch says:

      Hi shirbirt. It is true that a skytrain is a type of lrt, but bc it is driverless, it requires grade separation. That makes it 3-4 times as expensive to build as lrt in calgary, edmonton, ottawa and toronto. Also more than 2x as expensive to operate. Skytrin in vancouver has 900 employees.

      Now, with a tunnel, it is 8-10 times as expensive as lrt with drivers.

      Is that a good deal for vancouver?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Mike says:

    What are you trying to accomplish here? The money is allocated, contracts have been signed, and the work has begun. There is zero chance of stopping this project even if you were right on the merits.


    1. adamfitch says:

      Thanks for your comment, Mike. But I disagree. The fast ferries were canceled and sold (by the Liberals) after they had already been in service for months. The Surrey LRT project was cancelled (by Doug McCallum) after development had already started (which I disagreed with). The Massey Bridge was canceled (by the NDP). Convention Centres, Helicopters, Coast Guard ships and stations, jet fighters, icebreakers, submarines. Shall I go on?

      Liked by 1 person

    2. adamfitch says:

      Shirbirt. One more thing to note. The Edmonton LRT 1978) and the Calgary C-Train (1981) were two of the first “modern” LRT systems developed in North America. They are now called first generation, or high-floor LRTs, because they have high floors, like long distance heavy rail passenger trains.

      Since those systems were developed, LRT has moved on to second generation, low-floor LRTs. The most recent LRTs are now short-segment trains, which can make tighter turns, accommodate sharper changes in grade, and are more flexible in capacity.

      In fact the system in Ottawa is a third generation, low-floor LRT, and the new Green Lines in Edmonton and Calgary, and the new system in Toronto will be as well.

      Modern LRTs are so superior to skytrain and so much more flexible that there is no question that it is worth using them in Vancouver, even though it would mean having two systems operating concurrently. I do not see it as much different than operating several different kinds of buses (which they do), or BC ferries operating several different kinds of ferries.


      1. fredinno says:

        Ottawa’s LRT is also grade-seperated.

        The ‘cost increase’ is really a grade-seperation/vs non-seperated argument. One would imagine Surrey settled that debate in terms of public opinion Vancouver pretty handily.


  5. adamfitch says:

    Actually, i have come to the conclusion that there is now a fourth generation of modern lrt, and that is the low-floor, grade-separated, AUTOMATED (remote controlled) lrt. These are like vancouver’s skytrain, except without the linear induction motors.

    They tend to have big, ugly elevated sections or tunnelled sections. Examples include toronto, seattle, london docklands.

    Amd of course, they are more expensive to build, to operate, and to maintain.


  6. Nathan Davidowicz says:

    The Broadway Subway was announced in Sept. 2018 and most contracts have already been signed and it is too late now in May 2021 to stop it. Spend your time fighting for better bus service for Vancouver as most riders ( 65% ) will continue using the buses.


    1. adamfitch says:

      I have to disagree with you, Nathan. Construction has not started, and actual construction on the project will not start for over one year. There is extensive utility relocation required before anyone can even start construction on the tunnel and stations.

      Not all the contracts have been signed. The main tunneling contract has been signed with Acciona-Ghel, for $1.7 Billion, but that still leaeves $1.1 billion of the $2.83 billion budget un-allocated and unannounced.

      Many projects have been cancelled after commencement. The vancouver convention centre expansion (first time), the Ottawa portrait gallery, rescue helicopters, jet fighter replacements. The Fast Ferries were cancelled and sold off AFTER they were already in service. Cancellation is a common thing.

      As far as concentrating on buses, I agree with you that bus fleet expansion would be a good thing. AS it stands, Translink will have very limited funds for bus expansion because all available funds will be going into the Broadway Subway, the Expo Line Extension to Langley, and the high operation and maintenance costs of same.

      For the cost of the Broadway Subway, Translink could buy and operate THOUSANDS of new buses. In fact, they could buy and operate HUNDREDS of buses just on the interest payments of the Broadway Subway project. That is why I want it cancelled.

      Visit for more information.

      Consequently, in 2011, long before the project was announced, I proposed a cheaper, more sustainable, more flexible, and more user-friendly alternative to the Broadway Subway, in the form of LRT. As the costs are 4 to 10 times less, 4 to 10 times more distance and coverage could be achieved for the same amount.

      Or, to put it another way, I recommend developing an LRT network of perhaps two or three times the distance and coverage of the proposed Broadway Subway, and put the remainder of the budget into buses.


  7. N Matias says:

    B-Lines run almost empty during the day while BC Transit seems incapable of taking buses “off line” and saving $$$s….thats hardly smart! It demonstrates huge “mismanagement” of the system!

    Why should heavily burdened TAXPAYERS trust your LRT estimates and capabilities to build and operate a more complex system which obviously will also run almost empty most of the day, weekends, summer breaks and holidays???

    Buses allow “flexibility” you cant seem to manage!!

    NO TO LRT!!!


    1. adamfitch says:

      I agree with you, N. Both Translink and BC Transit have a management problem when it comes to deploying bus assets. I am not with Translink or BC Transit, and never have been. I am an independent planning consultant, and a transit advocate/activist.


  8. Brent says:

    If I owned a retail business on Broadway, I’d sell now. (Assuming I’be survived the last 18mo.)
    Potential customers will be underground and not know we’re there.
    If I worked in one of those businesses, I’d be updating my CV.
    With a streetcar, customers can see the shops, see what’s new, on sale etc.
    I’ll shop and walk a block between tram stops, easy, but if sky train, station to station is much too far.


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