The accelerated delivery of an additional 28 SkyTrain cars for the Expo and Millennium lines of Vancouver, B.C.’s SkyTrain light rail system will push capacity in the continually expanding service.
TransLink announced the accelerated purchase of the 28 Bombardier Mark III cars as part of a total of 80 new cars available on the system by 2020. As part of the plan, 28 cars for the Expo and Millennium lines will head into service in early 2019 while an additional 28 cars will join by the end of 2019, three years ahead of schedule. The Canada Line will receive 24 cars by the end of 2020.
“With transit ridership continuing to soar in our region,” says Kevin Desmond, TransLink CEO, “these additional cars will go a long way in providing relief for our customers. More trains and more frequent service will ensure you’re more likely to get a spot on the train during rush hour and more likely to get a seat during the off-peak periods.”
The total investment signifies $298 million in new cars—$210 million for the Expo and Millennium line cars and $88 million for Canada Line. Funded by 50% federal government spending, 33% from the province and 17% from TransLink, the agency expects rider capacity to increase 10% for Expo Line, 23% for Millennium Line and 30% for Canada line as a total of 8,200 additional spaces per peak hour open on both directions of all three SkyTrain lines.
The investment comes as part of a $2-billion phase one of a 10-year plan to improve public transit and reduce road congestion. “Metro Vancouver commuters who are looking for better, faster, affordable transit will benefit from the early purchase of these SkyTrain cars,” says John Horgan, B.C. premier, in a statement. “By partnering with the federal government to deliver on this part of the mayors’ 10-Year Vision, our government is helping people spend less time commuting and more time with friends and family.”
Making the transit system more efficient comes as an important economic development tool for the region, says Gordie Hogg, South Surrey and White Rock member of parliament.
TransLink ridership increased by 6% last year and has seen record years in ridership the last two years.
With the additional cars comes the next phase of work, including planned upgrades to the Canada Line stations. This all comes on the heels of TransLink opening 6.8 miles of track in December 2016 as part of the Evergreen Line extension. Future plans include a Broadway subway project and a Surrey-to-Langley light rail project.
Follow Tim Newcomb on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.