Plans to expand the Canada Line? When will the Expo Line reach maximum capacity? Will a light rail line be offered to Abbotsford or Tsawwassen? These questions and more were answered in a recent Reddit AMA by TransLink.
Andrew McCurran, TransLink’s director of strategic planning and policy hosted the AMA as part of TransLink’s second phase of public engagement to get feedback on the transit provider’s development of Transport 2050, the region’s next 30-year transportation strategy. Specifically, TransLink is looking for feedback on three priorities identified in the first round of public engagement, namely: creating people-first streets, building the next generation of rapid transit and increasing the convenience for automated vehicles.
Questions and their responses have been pared down for the sake of brevity but you can view the full Q&A on Reddit.
Q: Could you describe the plans to expand the capacity of the Canada Line? I want to continue to transit to work from Richmond to Downtown, but if I have to wait as full train after full train passes by, I'm going to end up driving.
TransLink: The Canada Line is built to allow expansion. We can add more frequent trains to increase capacity from about 6,000/hr today to 9,000. There is further potential to increase capacity by another 25% with slightly longer trains with some (planned for) modifications of the stations.
We think that after those expansions are made – Canada Line will reach its ultimate capacity in the latter period of this 30-year strategy. Expo Line will also reach its ultimate capacity by 2050, so any network approach we take in Transport 2050 will need to include relief solutions for both the Expo and Canada Lines.
Q: Has transit ever considered a fare reduction approach to building mass ridership?
TransLink: While reducing fares would increase ridership, it would come at a big cost. The key tradeoff is: spending the money to reduce fares versus spending the money to improve the transit system. While price is a barrier for people who are lower income, for most people, it is the quality of service. I think this should be addressed with targeted discounts.
A series of questions were dedicated to TransLink’s proposed plans to create an enhanced rapid transit system over the coming decades. Possible routes for the network were provided in a discussion guide where two possible networks were laid out on a map. Summed up, the networks offer a trade off – more SkyTrain and a smaller overall network, or less SkyTrain and a bigger overall network.
Q: Neither of the proposed "Network A" nor "Network B" in the 2050 discussion guide show any rapid transit for the Sen̓áḵw development, which will have 6,000 homes, nor any of Vancouver's West End south of Georgia Street. Will these areas have access to rapid transit?
TransLink: We're in active conversations with the Squamish Nation about the Sen̓áḵw development, ensuring it will continue to have really good transit - including building on the high-frequency service over the Burrard Bridge. The current two network concepts would see improvements happening through really excellent local transit service.
Q: Is there a list of which projects might be included in each scenario?
TransLink: These two network concepts are conceptual at this stage and more detailed projects will come later.
Q: What about regional rail and bus services, like the West Coast Express, or new lines to Abbotsford or Tsawwassen?
TransLink: On the maps that we're presenting, the dotted green lines are to represent high quality inter-regional services like West Coast Express. You can see there are lines to Abbotsford and Tsawwassen.