One Pass Now

It’s been a while since we haven’t updated the blog, but there have been many developments in transit infrastructure in Metro Vancouver.  One of which is One Pass Now, a campaign for $25/month for all post secondary institutions.  UBC and SFU have been pretty spoiled with the U-Pass, but we too believe that all students attending post secondary should have access to this.  If you have a minute, check the site out by clicking the image above or by going to

We at the UBC SkyTrain Group, are fully supporting One Pass Now.  It’s also important to note, as this pass will encourage more students to be using transit, the need for a SkyTrain to UBC will grow.  You might be thinking: UBC already has a U-Pass.  Not VCC.  VCC already has a SkyTrain on the south side, but passengers coming from the west do not have direct access to the college unless they are taking the local routes.  The missing Broadway SkyTrain connection will allow passengers from the west side to VCC-Clark, making the current terminus busier and safer.


Canada Line seen as an early success

Canada Line riders fill coffers with cash

VANCOUVER – The Canada Line could reach its ridership goals sometime next year rather than in 2013 as forecast, TransLink spokesman Ken Hardie said Friday.

That would likely save TransLink — and taxpayers — millions in subsidies to the Canada Line’s private operator.

Hardie made the optimistic assessment after the line averaged 80,000 trips per day in its first five days of operations.

It had been forecast to reach 100,000 trips a day in 2013, and TransLink is required to subsidize the operator until that point is reached.

“The 100,000 ridership represents the point when the line generates enough revenue, with bus service savings to cover payment to the concessionaire,” Hardie said.

He said the steady passenger loads this week have been good news for the Canada Line.

Between 7 a.m. on Wednesday and 7 a.m. Thursday, the line recorded more than $45,000 in ticket sales, with $37,000 of that in cash and fare-saver tickets, $5,700 in credit and $2,900 in debit.

The number of cash sales, he said, likely means people are testing the system ahead of Sept. 7, when TransLink cancels or diverts several of its long-haul bus routes to Bridgeport Station to encourage passengers to ride the Canada Line.

“What that means is there’s a higher level of sampling going on now,” Hardie said, adding, “Things have got off to an excellent start on the Canada Line.”

The biggest peak in ridership has been in the afternoons, coinciding with the arrivals and departures of most international flights.

“There’s an incredibly steady flow of passengers,” said airport spokeswoman Rebecca Catley. “We’re seeing a lot more people coming off with bags. People have embraced it quickly.”

The airport has added extra staff on the floor to guide travellers to their departure lounges or help them find the train once they arrive in Vancouver.

August is typically the airport’s busiest month, with the third weekend usually recording the highest number of passengers coming through.

But Catley said it’s not just travellers using the Canada Line: More people are coming to the airport to watch planes land and take off from the airport’s new observation deck.

“It’s just surprising. That area has always been very quiet and now it’s teeming with people,” she said. “Everything has gone very smoothly; the people are very excited.”

Jason Chan, spokesman for Canada Line operator ProTrans BC, said other busy stations are Waterfront in downtown Vancouver and Richmond’s Bridgeport, the only station where TransLink has a park-and-ride facility at the nearby River Rock Casino.

Just before 4 p.m. Friday, swarms of people were pouring in and out of Waterfront as packed trains headed out toward Richmond-Brighouse and the airport.

Kathleen Lapointe, who lives in Richmond, took the train into Vancouver for a course and said she’s “planning to use it all the time now.”

“I’m very happy,” she said. “I’m so glad it’s here.”

Source: Vancouver Sun

Now to be fair, there are still many passengers taking the Canada Line for their own personal enjoyment, but much of it is now everyday commuters as well as passengers to the airport.   On average, there are at least three passengers on board each train car with luggage, presumably going to the Airport or Sea Island Centre, Air Canada Operations.  It’s safe to say that the Canada Line has been more successful then previously anticipated.  In fact, ProTrans BC, the private company operating the Canada Line, feels slightly under staffed and is continually hiring station attendants.  Station attendants not only help passengers with the Canada Line and related transit connections, but also do fare checks, something the SkyTrain attendants do not  usually do.  Personally, I received more fare checks on the Canada Line than I have on the SkyTrain system for more than two years.

70,000 board the Canada Line on first day of revenue operations

Impressive numbers.

The numbers do include people touring the Canada Line and the novelty will eventually wear off, but it will only result in a marginal dip in ridership over the next few weeks. The Canada Line’s initial ridership success is a good sign for things to come, and bus integration hasn’t even occurred. We are well in our way into achieving 100,000 boardings per day.

Canada Line opening August 17th, full service on August 18th

Just a bonus for all of you, we’ll be writing articles and posting photos for the August 17th opening of Vancouver’s newest rapid transit link, the Canada Line, connecting downtown with the airport and Richmond city centre.  Come celebrate the opening for free from 1:00-9:00.  Full service begins on August 18th; regular fares apply.  Also, be aware of the bus changes made for the Canada Line effective on September 7th.  For more information, visit TransLink’s information website on the Canada Line:

LRT Accident in San Francisco

An accident involving two light rail trains in San Francisco has injured over 40 people, causing delays for the entire six line light rail system.  This accident happened at West Portal Station, which serves four of the light rail routes in San Francisco.  This is one of the largest light rail accidents in recent history, though less tragic than the Metro accident that claimed 7 lives in Washington, D.C several weeks ago.  At this point, it is not known whether it is a mechanical failure or human error, but what is known is that accidents can also happen on light rail systems.  This is just one more point for why the rapid transit rail extension to UBC must be built as a SkyTrain extension of the Millennium Line to prevent such accidents from occuring.  SkyTrain uses a rolling block signal system which allows it to operate high train frequencies safely. In its 23-year history, there has not been any major accidents with SkyTrain because of the reliability of the computer system with SkyTrain.  Should there ever be even the tiniest glitch in driverless operations, the entire SkyTrain system will be automatically shut down trains for manual inspection of problems..

Scores injured in San Francisco light-rail crash
The Associated Press

More than 40 people were taken to hospital after one light rail commuter train rear-ended another in San Francisco on Saturday, officials said.

Reuters reported that four people were in critical condition.

The San Francisco Municipal Railway L train ran into a K train at the boarding platform about 2:30 p.m. PT, officials said.

“This is probably one of the largest multiple-casualty incidents in recent years (in San Francisco),” said Pat Gardner, a deputy chief with the San Francisco Fire Department.

Gardner said 20 people suffered moderate injuries and another 21 were “walking wounded.”

Witnesses said the westbound L train barreled into the K train as it emerged from a tunnel connecting downtown San Francisco to the city’s western neighborhoods.

Judson True, a spokesman for the San Francisco Municipal Railway, said investigators were looking into “mechanical and human issues” that may have contributed to the accident.
Driver suffered serious injuries

The front of the L train was smashed and its operator was among the three with serious injuries. The K train suffered less damage, witnesses said.

They reported that more than a dozen people sat on benches along the boarding platform after the crash, some of them holding bloodied heads.

Rescue workers set up a triage system to isolate the most severely injured, bandaging their heads and immobilizing their necks on stretchers before they were trundled to waiting emergency vehicles.

“We thought a bomb went off,” said Mike Burke, a San Francisco banker who lives near the crash site.

“Lots of people (in the trains) were still sitting in their seats with their heads thrown back, stunned,” said his wife, Linda Burke.

Nine people were killed and more than 70 injured June 22 when a Metro train slammed into another train stopped on the tracks in Washington, D.C. The cause has not been determined but investigators say equipment that is supposed to detect stopped trains had failed periodically in the days leading up to the crash.

On May 8, more than 50 people were injured when a Boston subway trolley plowed into another train. Authorities say operator Aiden Quinn, 24, went through a red signal while typing a text message on his cellphone. Quinn was indicted on charges of grossly negligent operation and was scheduled to be arraigned Monday in Suffolk Superior Court. He faces three years in prison if convicted.

Source: CBC

Honolulu Metro

Several consortium’s are currently in the bidding to build Honolulu’s new metro lineThe Honolulu Metro project.  Bombardier, featuring Advanced Rapid Transit technology (SkyTrain), is among the competitors to build Hawaii’s inaugural rapid transit rail line.  Bombardier is currently viewed as the favourite competitor and should it win the bid, it would be the first American city to build a modern fixed guideway ART system after New York’s 2003 completion of its airport Air Train. The rail technology we commonly call SkyTrain has been rapidly implemented around the world in the last decade.

3 bidding for Oahu rail
Two train suppliers now say they won’t submit bids
Monday, July 6, 2009

Vancouvers SkyTrain system, considered comparable to the rail system planned for Oahu, uses trains built by Berlin-based Bombardier Transportation, among the companies competing for Honolulus rail contract.

Vancouver's SkyTrain system, considered comparable to the rail system planned for O'ahu, uses trains built by Berlin-based Bombardier Transportation, among the companies competing for Honolulu's rail contract.

Two major train suppliers have pulled out of the running to provide vehicles and systems for Honolulu’s planned rapid transit system.

That leaves three companies competing for the estimated $230 million city contract scheduled to be awarded next year. The vehicles and systems contract is a small part of the $5.4 billion rail project. However, the style of the rail cars chosen will determine much of the system’s overall character.

Two companies that won’t be providing the trains are Paris-based Alstom and Sacramento, Calif.-based Siemens Transportation Systems Inc. Both companies confirmed last week that they won’t be bidding on Honolulu’s project.

That probably makes the world’s No. 1 train supplier, Bombardier Transportation, a favorite for the deal. So far Berlin-based Bombardier Transportation; Genoa, Italy-based Ansaldo STS and a consortium led by New York City-based Sumitomo Corporation of America are the only other competitors that have announced interest in the contract.

Siemens, which calls itself the nation’s No. 1 maker of light rail vehicles, did not explain why it’s not interested in the project. Alstom, which says it is No. 1 in the high- and very-high-speed train sector, said it decided not to bid on Honolulu’s project based on the level of competition and the size of the city’s contract.

“We took a look at this one and said, ‘Yeah there’s three real good competitors,’ ” said Charles Wo- chele, an Alstom vice president for marketing and business development. “We know them well, we compete with them. If our car fit better with the specifications and we had something that was a little closer fit, we’d go after it. But we’re chasing some big projects in the Mainland right now and you can’t chase them all.”

Source: Honolulu Advertiser

Our UBC SkyTrain Vision Cont’d

It has been a while since we had a chance to update our UBC SkyTrain Vision plan, but we’ve just added one more page, indicating the benefits of having SkyTrain technology over Light Rail.  See our page: