Letter: Trams not feasible for Vancouver Island

Makes the mistake of comparing European cities and counties to areas like ours

Trams not feasible for Vancouver Island

In response to Malcolm Johnston’s letter regarding a TramTrain for the E&N corridor. Johnston, like many others, makes the mistake of comparing European cities and counties, like Karlsruhe, Germany, to areas like ours.

Johnston didn’t include some very important information in his letter, for instance population density. The tram in Karlsruhe is in a concentrated population area which has 442 people per square kilometre while the spread out Capital Region on Vancouver Island has only 164 per square kilometre . In the even more spread out Cowichan Valley the density is only 24 people per square kilometre. Johnston also didn’t include that the tram line in Karlsruhe is not just one line but 12 lines and has 190 stations serving not only the local area but also connects to railways along the Rhine Valley.

There is no way a single corridor tram could attract the boardings Johnston’s Karlsruhe does since its 12 lines and 190 stations cover the entire area which makes tram transit an excellent option for the residents there. How often the tram runs also is a factor in attracting passengers. Translink’s Metro system, at peak times, runs trains at 1 minute intervals.

Johnston also forgot to include in his letter the full costs of getting a tram operating on the E&N corridor. The province has already provided a cost analysis to bring the line up to a standard which could safely carry passengers and it’s several times greater than Johnston’s estimate.

Just what subsidies would be required to pay for the capital and operating costs of a tram on the E&N corridor? Who will pay for it? At present, Metro Vancouver residents pay a Hydro levy, fuel taxes and property taxes to keep Translink afloat besides having to pay a hefty fare to ride any of its transit modes. Translink’s 3 zone fare is $181 a month and a day pass for 20 days a month would be $220!

Phil Le Good

Cobble Hill