British Columbia

TransLink wants public's say in design of new SkyTrain fleet

The prompt comes at the request of customers seeking more seating options and improved spaces for those with bicycles, strollers and mobility devices, TransLink says.

Input on seating, layout, amenities sought for around 200 new cars expected to roll out in 2023-24

The newest SkyTrain cars, the Mark III model, entered service in 2016. (Sia Dezvareh/CBC)

Translink wants the public's input on the interior design of SkyTrain, as it prepares to add more than 200 cars to its fleet as part of its 10-year vision.

The prompt comes at the request of customers seeking more seating options and improved spaces for those with bicycles, strollers and mobility devices, the transit authority says.

"We do have a very busy system, ridership is increasing at record-breaking levels every year, so we want to make sure that we can fit as many people on and make it a more comfortable experience for everyone," said TransLink spokesperson Jill Drews.

Translink has been conducting public information sessions around Metro Vancouver, and has an online survey to gather feedback on several design options.

One section of the survey asks whether individuals prefer perimeter or inward facing seating versus forward and backward facing seating. 

TransLink says perimeter seating provides those seated with more leg room, is more comfortable for people who don't like sitting backwards, and permits more standing room to allow more people into cars during peak periods. 

One of the design elements up for debate is whether to use perimeter seating or forward and backward facing seating. (TransLink)

Flex space

Another survey question asks about flex spaces, where transit users with strollers, bicycles and mobility devices can position themselves. 

In order to make these areas more useful, amenities such as leaning rails for people who have difficulty sitting, and bicycle racks to improve comfort and stability for riders are being considered. 

TransLink is asking for the public's opinion on new ideas for its SkyTrain cars, including leaning rails and bicycle racks. (TransLink)

Once the new 200-plus cars go into service, they will account for roughly half of the SkyTrain fleet, according to Translink. 

Drews says the new cars will allow some of the original SkyTrain cars, which date back to 1986, to be decommissioned, while some that have been refurbished will stay in service.

A request for proposals from companies bidding for the SkyTrain cars contract will be issued in spring. 

TransLink says it expects the cars to begin arriving in 2023 or 2024. 

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