With the upcoming Winter Olympic Games, Vancouver is planning a massive boost in transit service. The entire transit system is wheelchair accessible. Options in the city are varied and a new streetcar demonstration project will be part of the mix during the Olympic period.
SKYTRAIN – This is Vancouver’s version of a subway which, here, is actually a light-rail El although there are small sections buried underground. The trains are automated and do not have drivers. At 43 miles, it’s the longest automated rail transit system in the world. It has three lines. The Expo line was the original, built in 1986 for the World’s Fair. It runs from the Southeast section of the city at Langley. The Millennium Line opened in 2002 and runs a loop through the city core. The latest line is the Canada Line, built to accommodate travelers to the Olympics, runs from the airport and also a spur from Richmond. All three lines converge at the Waterfront station in the heart of the city.
For the Olympics, service on the Skytrain will be increased to a train every 108 seconds at peak times.
WEST COAST EXPRESS – This is a Monday – Friday rush hour only commuter rail service that runs from Mission City in the east and terminates at the Waterfront station downtown. On weekend, a bus only service is run on a mid-day schedule. During the games, six additional weekday trips will be scheduled…three each way; nine extra trips on Saturdays; and eight additional runs on Sundays.
SEABUS – This is a ferry that runs from the Waterfront station across the bay to Lonsdale Quay. Crossing time is 12 minutes. During the games, service will be increased 50% to every 10 minutes.
BUS – An extensive bus network covers the rest of the city. Service will be increased on a line-by-line basis as needed during the games.
HANDY-DART – the region’s paratransit service is accepting applications from Olympic visitors (PDF) to use the service while they are in the area.
OLYMPIC BUS SERVICE – The local organizing committee is running a temporary bus service from Vancouver to the Whistler area for the games. The buses are accessible, reservations are required, and are mandatory for Olympic spectators…there is no parking at any of the venues. Accessible shuttle buses will transport you through the Whistler area. Bus transportation is included in the price of your ticket.
OLYMPIC STREETCAR DEMONSTRATION PROJECT – During the Olympics, the City of Vancouver and the Bombardier Corporation will run a free, 1.8KM streetcar line from the Olympic Village to Granville Island with two stops in between. The ridership will be evaluated to help determine if the streetcar system should be expanded throughout the city.
BC FERRIES - operates service throughout the coastal region, notably to the beautiful city of Victoria on Vancouver Island. Bus service is available to/from both Vancouver and Victoria/Nanaimo.
Olympics or not, Vancouver is a great place to visit. Have fun!
Pictures courtesy of Wikimedia
Alisdair McLellan under CC-SA license
Seglea under CC-SA license
scondarywalts under CC-BY license
Phillippe Giabbanelli under CC-BY license