Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Archive for February 5th, 2008


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I usually go back to stories I have posted as new information beomes available. I am not sure that works well for people using RSS feeds.

So here are some stories I saw today, which expand on some items recently covered

In today’s Vancouver Sun , Vaughan Palmer talks about the latest developments in the BC Rail case, and Pete McMartin continues with the new police report on our lack of treatment for mental health problems. (The transit link in the latter issue is that Falcon thinks that gating Skytrain is part of the solution).

Wendell Cox has an opinion piece in the Montreal Gazette pushing P3s for transit. No surprise there but perhaps many of its readers will not know who he is – or where he gets his money from. He is announced as a “freelance” and at the end of the article is made to appear like an academic. He is actually a “consultant” but mainly a shill. The article does not say anything about some of the more notoriously bad P3s – the record in fact is very mixed, and anyone who tells you otherwise is being selective with the data. For instance the privatisation of British Rail means that public subsidy to trains is now three times what it was under nationalisation, and nearly all of that can be accounted for fees to private sector companies. At the same time the death toll from accidents rocketed, and the company that looks after the track has been brought back into public ownership. Australian experience has also been very mixed – some OK, most dreadful.  As it happens nearly all of the transit in BC is delivered by contractors – outside of Victoria and Vancouver, and even there HandyDart is run by contractors. The bus strike in Vancouver was about the right to pursue this method of reducing costs, but though the strike was “won”, future labour peace was chosen over cost reductions.

The French now have another even higher speed train known as AGV. Alstom has produced a multiple unit that will go at 360km/h (224mph) and will enter service in Italy first. French President Nicolas Sarkosy made a point about keeping French industry going “industry is essential for the economy of a rich nation as much as an emerging nation” which will probably resonate well here with Buzz Hargrove

Written by Stephen Rees

February 5, 2008 at 9:52 am

Posted in transit, Transportation