There could be a need for more fare gates at a number of SkyTrain stations scattered across the region.
A new request for proposals (RFP) document by TransLink has pinpointed 10 stations where there are major bottleneck issues with passengers queuing to pass through fare gates.
The issue has been deemed “critical” at these stations, and the transportation authority is now seeking a contractor to analyze passenger flows through the stations, provide passenger modelling, and create conceptual architectural design and layout changes that will improve flows.
Three of the most problematic stations are located on the newer Canada Line, with Vancouver City Centre Station topping the list with an average of 2,666 passengers entering each of the six fare gates per weekday. As well, only four Compass Vending Machines are located at this high-traffic station, resulting in long lineups for machines throughout much of the day.
Yaletown-Roundhouse Station also experiences bottlenecks, especially after events held at Rogers Arena and BC Place, as just three fare gates have been built. Further down the Canada Line at Richmond-Brighouse Station, crowding becomes an issue during peak hours when an entire train load of passengers exits the station at the same time.
At Waterfront Station, no more than eight fare gates at the CPR Building entrance on West Cordova Street handle the bulk of the crowds going through the station to and from the Expo and Millennium lines, SeaBus, and West Coast Express.
And only three fare gates have been installed at Brentwood Town Centre Station, despite the station being within a major growth area. Ridership at the station will likely increase significantly with Shape Properties’ redevelopment of Brentwood Town Centre shopping mall. A number of other development projects are also currently planned or being built in the area.
However, there is ample space in the Brentwood concourse for the installation of more fare gates. Without significant retrofits and modifications, the same cannot be said for stations like Vancouver City Centre, Yaletown-Roundhouse, and Waterfront.
Over the last few years, a number of stations on the Expo Line underwent costly rebuilds and retrofits to accommodate fare gates as the original SkyTrain stations were not designed with fare gates in mind.
Fare gate installation at stations along the Millennium and Canada lines cost significantly less as station layouts were pre-designed for the future addition of fare gates, whereas entirely new and expanded station houses had to be built for some Expo Line stations. Additionally, wiring and other infrastructure had already been built into the stations of the two newer lines.
The Expo Line’s Metrotown Station is currently the only SkyTrain station without fare gates as the station is undergoing a major rebuild to provide much-needed additional circulation space. The existing east entrance will be rebuilt and expanded, and two new entrances will be added at the centre of the station and at the western end. A total of 18 fare gates will serve this station when renovations are complete in the winter of 2017/2018.
When passengers are highly efficient, fare gates have a theoretical design processing capacity of between 30 and 45 passengers per fare gate per minute. Here are some tips for accelerating the fare gate usage process:
Vancouver City Centre Station (Canada Line)
Surrey Central Station (Expo Line)
Yaletown-Roundhouse Station (Canada Line)
Waterfront Station (Expo Line, Millennium Line, SeaBus, and West Coast Express; excluding Canada Line)
Richmond-Brighouse Station (Canada Line)
Brentwood Town Centre Station (Millennium Line)
King George Station (Expo Line)
22nd Street Station (Expo Line, Millennium Line)
Joyce-Collingwood Station (Expo Line, Millennium Line)
Scott Road Station (Expo Line)
*Note: Saturday and Sunday station entries data are not available for the Expo and Millennium lines. Data was collected on the Canada Line as the station concourses have infrared beams that count passenger movements. More complete data will be provided by the Compass Card and fare gates in the future.