TransLink says 18 of the 20 two-car Hyundai Rotem trains will be running on the Canada Line during both the morning and evening peak hours beginning this week. This is an increase from the previous maximums of 17 trains, running exclusively between Waterfront and Richmond-Brighouse, during only the morning peak period and 16 trains during the evening peak period.
The latest decision to increase the service frequency to what the current train fleet permits represents an 11% increase in capacity during peak periods, equivalent to 3,700 additional passengers per direction per weekday. This service increase was approved last November by the Mayors’ Council as part of the $2-billion in Phase One transit improvements.
“We’ve had lots of challenges with the Canada Line being so successful that it is full during peak hours,” said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson during a press conference this morning. “We are desperately needing the additional service, we are going to see a big boost there.”
Potential ultimate capacity on the Canada Line will further increase in 2019 when 11 two-car trains are added to the system. This will push the operating capacity up by 55%.
A procurement phase for the additional Canada Line trains is expected to begin soon, and it remains to be seen whether these trains will also be manufactured in South Korea by Hyundai Rotem.
Last summer, as another means for increasing capacity and reducing door crowding, TransLink removed 10 seats next to doorways from two trains for a six-week pilot project.
The last publicly known count of Canada Line ridership pegs the number of daily riders at approximately 140,000, well ahead of original ridership forecast projections.
As part of the approved Phase One transit improvements, frequencies on the Expo and Millennium lines and SeaBus will also see an increase starting this week.
Frequencies on the Expo and Millennium lines will increase during the weekday peak hours. Peak level service will end 15 minutes later in the morning and last one hour long during the evening rush. Major frequency increases have also been implemented for weekend service, with both SkyTrain lines now operating every 3 minutes to 6 minutes during mid-day and early evenings to match weekday off-peak frequency.
Another order of 28 new generation Mark III cars, to be connected into seven fully-articulated four-car trains, will arrive at the end of 2018.
As for SeaBus, the ferry service now operates every 15 minutes from 10 am to 7 pm on Sundays and holidays. Sailing frequencies will be increased to every 15 minutes anytime of the day, seven days a week, later this year when TransLink has hired more trained staff.
And last month, the public transit authority upgraded the the 135 route between downtown Vancouver and Simon Fraser University’s Burnaby Mountain campus into a more reliable 95 B-Line service.
Additionally, the public consultation phases for both the underground SkyTrain extension of the Millennium Line along Broadway and the new Surrey light rail transit network begin at the end of this month.
Correction: The article has been corrected to state that 18 of the 20 trains operate during weekday peak hours.