Record week for Vancouver public transit

TransLink, the public transit authority in Metro Vancouver, says a record number of people used public transit during the first week of the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.

TransLink, the public transit authority in Metro Vancouver, says a record number of people used public transit during the first week of the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.

On average, more than 1.6 million people are using the public transit system each day.

"Week One ridership has been staggering and our system has been equal to the task," TransLink CEO Ian Jarvis said in a news release.

"This is a testament to a solid plan that built in the flexibility to respond and the great execution of our planners, transit operators, mechanics, customer service personnel and transit hosts."

Preliminary daily averages:

  • Bus up 34 per cent to 975,000.
  • SeaBus up 200 per cent to 48,000.
  • Expo/Millennium SkyTrain lines up 54 per cent to 369,700.
  • Canada Line SkyTrain averaged over 207,000 per day, up from 94,000 in January 2010.
  • West Coast Express up 78 per cent to 19,538.

Both the SkyTrain's Expo and Millennium Lines have been running trains at rush-hour service levels throughout the day, and the Canada Line has at times used every train available to meet the demand.

The West Coast Express has added trains at midday and late at night, additional buses have been brought in as needed, and SeaBus has been using all three of its vessels 14 hours a day to keep waits at a minimum.

"Much of the credit for making this work has to go to the people of Metro Vancouver," Jarvis said.

"They’re the ones who’ve answered the bell to reduce motor vehicle traffic in the downtown core by 30 per cent during Games time and have sought out public transportation options. What’s more, reports from our field staff show that the public have shown legendary Canadian politeness and hospitality to our visitors from around the world, to do our region proud!"

Sunday could be busiest day yet

Transit officials say the daily average could peak Sunday with three Olympic hockey games scheduled, including the much-awaited Canada-U.S. match.

TransLink spokesperson Drew Snider said riders should be prepared for delays.

"We've got a lot of people moving in here, we've got people coming from [Vancouver] Island … it means we're just going to be pushing out as much service as we possibly can for this," he said.

On Saturday, some riders reported waits as long 90 minutes for the SeaBus and 30-minute lineups at some SkyTrain stations.

BC Ferries spokesperson Deborah Marshall said some sailings had nearly 1,000 foot passengers alone, and she expects Sunday will be just as busy.

"We would recommend that you do arrive at the terminals early," she said.

"We are experiencing very high volumes of foot passengers and I would expect heavy traffic coming back to Vancouver Island between 7 p.m. and midnight."

Marshall also warned that parking lots at the ferry terminals have been filling up. She suggests getting dropped off to avoid any problems.