TransLink to study late night train service on Friday, Saturday

TransLink is conducting a study to see whether it should extend late night service.

Company says biggest hurdle is how to maintain late night service alongside daily track maintenance

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said it is often difficult for people visiting or working in downtown Vancouver late at night to find a safe, affordable option to get home. (CBC)

Responding to demands from the public, police and other leaders, TransLink will conduct a study on whether it should extend SkyTrain service in the Metro Vancouver region on Friday and Saturday nights.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said it's often difficult for people visiting or working in downtown Vancouver late at night to find a safe, affordable option to get home.

"I'm looking forward to seeing the results of this review so we can make informed decisions on how TransLink can improve late night transit service," Robertson said.

TransLink says the biggest hurdle to offering the service is how to add late night service while still having time to maintain the track.

Vivienne King, president and general manager of the B.C. Rapid Transit Company, which runs TransLink, says maintenance crews have roughly 1,500 hours per year available to them when the track is free.

Study other transit models

"If we were to extend to a 24-hour period from Friday to Saturday, we will have taken 460 hours away from that bank of time available to do maintenance," King said.

King said the transit company will study how other systems have introduced late-night service, and how extended service can be provided alongside regular track maintenance.

She said it will look at possible trade-offs for offering the extended service, such as adjusting staffing, adding extra security, and changing service hours during other weekdays.

The company will also hold community discussions with leaders, the police and the public about the possible implications of late night service.

Late night rail service is a common feature in many cities. New York City's subway system runs 24 hours a day 7 days a week. In the U.K., London's metro system implemented its 24-hour Night Tube service on Fridays and Saturdays on five main lines in 2016.

TransLink says the results of the study should be ready by mid-2018.