- Proponents of LRT claim that the current bus system is not adequate for growing demand, and so we need a long train to meet future capacity. However, the bus on the proposed LRT route, the iXpress, runs every 15 minutes. There is plenty of opportunity for expanding the service: run every five minutes or more during peak times, and move to larger (even articulated) buses. (The iXpress is a sophisticated new transit system and it didn't cost a lot to set up: see this. Buses have the great advantage of being flexible. It's easy to change a bus route, and virtually impossible with a rail line.)
- LRT is an acronym that is often taken to stand for Light Rapid Transit. However, for the trip between Fairview Mall and Conestoga Mall (the LRT route), the LRT will only be 7 minutes faster than the current bus, according to the Region's transit authorities.
- In Toronto, the name LRT refers to a very different thing from the proposed Waterloo LRT. In Toronto an LRT is a streetcar that stops every couple of blocks, just like regular streetcars. The only difference from other streetcars is that the Toronto LRT runs on a raised platform, rather than running on a lane also used by cars.
In Waterloo, the proposed LRT also runs on tracks on a dedicated raised lane. However, it's not a streetcar. It's a longer train (the stations for the Waterloo LRT are planned to be 60 meters in length). Most importantly, it stops very infrequently: there are only 11 stops between Fairview Mall and Conestoga Mall (that is counting the two places where the route turns into a loop as one stop, which is fair).
Check out the map here. Between downtown Kitchener and downtown Waterloo, there is only one stop. For many residents, the LRT may run near where they want to go but it probably won't stop there.
- Proponents of Waterloo's LRT have consistently painted opponents as being anti-transit. This is a tactic of demonization that is unfortunate and untrue. There are thoughtful and well-informed people on both sides of the debate. Some prominent examples:
- One of the most outspoken opponents of LRT is a professor emeritus of civil engineering at the University of Waterloo who taught and did research in transportation and transit planning for 32 years and is a well-known advocate of public transit (link).
- Here are all the anti-LRT letters to the editor that have been published in Waterloo newspapers.
- Here are all the anti-LRT articles that have been published in Waterloo newspapers.
- Here are my own writings on the topic, which mostly focus on negative implications of the LRT for Uptown Waterloo.