$79 million upgrade of SkyTrain's digital signs, speakers, and CCTV now complete

Mar 26 2021, 3:35 pm

After more than two years of installation, TransLink has completed the extensive process of overhauling the digital information signage, speakers, and CCTV at the stations of SkyTrain’s Expo and Millennium lines.

“Communication and information is a vital part of a customer’s experience on transit and this program has modernized our SkyTrain communication technology,” said TransLink interim CEO Gigi Chen-Kuo in a statement.

Old digital signs — including the red text signs dating back to the 1980s on the Expo Line, and the early 2000s signs on the Millennium Line — have been replaced with new multi-coloured LED digital displays showing the real-time arrival and destinations of upcoming trains, and other pertinent details.

Old Expo Line signs:

Granville Station SkyTrain Expo Line

Old 1980s red LED signs on SkyTrain Expo Line’s Granville Station platform. These signs have been replaced. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

New signs on both the Expo and Millennium lines:

skytrain gilmore station next train screen

New real-time, next-train LED screen at the platform of SkyTrain Gilmore Station. (TransLink)

As well, general information LCD screens have been installed at station entrances and concourse areas to provide passengers with next train and service condition details before they reach the platform.

A total of 280 new digital signs and screens were installed at the stations. Modern LED real-time, next-train arrival signs already exist on the Canada Line and the Millennium Line’s Evergreen Extension, so these signs were not replaced, but their stations received new LCD screens.

SkyTrain signage

New real-time next train countdown signage at SkyTrain’s Edmonds Station. (TransLink)

SkyTrain LCD signs platform Joyce-Collingwood Station

New LCD displays at SkyTrain’s Joyce-Collingwood Station with real-time next train arrival information. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

Additionally, over 1,400 new speakers and more than 1,200 new CCTV security cameras have been installed in the stations of the Expo and Millennium Lines. The new speakers enable passengers to clearly hear service alerts and notifications, while the new cameras can be monitored live by SkyTrain staff to adjust service levels and better assist with Transit Police investigations, compared to the previous CCTV system.

A spokesperson for TransLink told Daily Hive Urbanized there are currently no plans to introduce the “next train arrival” audio announcements — similar to what already exists in the Canada Line — on the platforms of the Expo and Millennium lines.

The entire multi-faceted communications upgrade project cost $79 million, with 50% covered by the federal government, 33% from the provincial government, and 17% from TransLink.

“Keeping transit an excellent alternative to driving by improving rider experiences is a critical part of the Mayors’ Vision. The signs and speakers on the Expo and Millennium Lines were outdated and replacing them is extremely important for SkyTrain customers.

“Retrofitting the communication tools at Expo and Millennium Line stations so riders can see and hear real-time information will help to make transit an even more attractive option for people returning to the system in the coming months and years.”

Under the leadership of former TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond, there was a greater emphasis on improving passenger amenities and comfort on the public transit system, including the communications systems for passengers.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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