The SkyTrain system, the backbone of Metro Vancouver’s public transit network, saw another year of significant ridership growth in 2016.
According to TransLink’s performance update for last year’s operations, boardings on the Expo and Millennium Line system grew by 4.1% while Canada Line boardings rose by 5.5%.
High ridership growth on the Canada Line is attributed to a number of factors including record-high tourism, increased passenger volumes from Vancouver International Airport, and increased economic activity such as major new developments next to stations.
For instance, the residential and commercial developments, such as the Cineplex theatre, that recently opened in and around Marine Gateway caused the number of annual boardings to rise by 37% last year.
As expected, Commercial-Broadway, a major transfer point between the Expo and Millennium lines and the 99 B-Line, is the region’s busiest SkyTrain station.
This is closely followed by Burrard Station. It saw 5,700 entries and exits alone during the peak morning hour from 8 to 9 am on an average weekday, which is more passengers in one hour than some other stations see throughout the entire day.
The busiest Canada Line station was Vancouver City Centre, which ranked fifth overall in the entire SkyTrain network – just behind Metrotown and ahead of the Expo Line’s Waterfront platforms.
YVR Airport, the station that directly serves the airport terminal, saw 7,100 boardings and is ranked 25th.
The least busy station on the entire network is Sea Island Centre, which mainly serves airport workers. And based on the limited data from the Evergreen extension’s opening in December 2016, four of the extension’s stations rank in the top 10 of being the least busy stations.
Across all three SkyTrain lines, which are together the world’s longest driverless railway, there are 54 stations.
The public transit authority says all three lines saw similar ridership trends throughout the year, with steady growth peaking in September and flattening in the last quarter.
But if you are looking for relief from overcrowded trains, you will have to wait.
An additional order of seven fully-articulated, four-car Mark III trains for the Expo and Millennium lines will arrive at the end of next year while an additional 11 two-car trains for the Canada Line will arrive in 2019 or 2020.
TransLink says after January’s service improvements, every train on the Expo and Millennium system is now being used, and 18 of the 20 trains on the Canada Line are operational during peak hours.
Yesterday, the public transit authority also released its ridership figures for the first half of 2017. All indications so far point to another record breaking year for ridership, potentially exceeding 400 million boardings by the end of the year. During the first two quarters of 2017, SkyTrain boardings grew by 11.9%.
Top 20 busiest SkyTrain stations in 2016
Based on average weekday entries:
- Expo/Millennium – Commercial-Broadway: 24,100
- Expo – Burrard: 21,000
- Expo – Granville: 20,600
- Expo – Metrotown: 19,400
- Canada – Vancouver City Centre: 18,500
- Expo – Waterfront: 18,400
- Canada – Waterfront: 18,200
- Expo/Millennium – Lougheed Town Centre: 15,100
- Expo – Stadium-Chinatown: 15,000
- Canada – Broadway-City Hall: 14,400
- Expo – Joyce-Collingwood: 13,800
- Expo – New Westminster: 13,700
- Expo – Main Street-Science World: 13,100
- Expo – King George: 12,300
- Expo – Edmonds: 11,700
- Expo – Surrey Central: 11,600
- Canada – Richmond-Brighouse: 11,600
- Canada – Bridgeport: 10,900
- Canada – Yaletown-Roundhouse: 10,000
- Expo – 22nd Street: 9,500
Top 10 least busy SkyTrain stations in 2016
Based on average weekday entries:
- Canada – Sea Island Centre: 700
- Millennium – Lake City Way: 1,300
- Millennium (Evergreen extension) – Moody Centre*: 1,400
- Millennium (Evergreen extension) – Inlet Centre*: 1,700
- Millennium (Evergreen extension) – Lafarge Lake-Douglas*: 2,100
- Millennium (Evergreen extension) Burquitlam*: 2,100
- Millennium – Sperling-Burnaby Lake: 2,200
- Canada – Templeton: 2,600
- Millennium – VCC-Clark: 3,000
- Expo – Sapperton: 3,000
*As the Evergreen extension opened on December 2, 2016, the data set is much smaller. As well, snowfall throughout the month of December 2016 likely affected ridership.
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