The Canada Line will carry 800 more people per peak hour with the arrival of four new trains.
The announcement is equal to a 15-per-cent increase in peak hour service, Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie said.
“The aim is to take cars off the road and increase the demand for public transit,” he told a news conference at the Richmond-Brighouse Canada Line station. The Canada Line, Brodie noted, is packed during regular hours and needs more capacity.
TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond said the four trains, arriving Tuesday, are part of a total of 12 trains, or 24 cars, that will be delivered by the end of 2020. That will lead to a 35 per cent increase in total peak hour service hours at a cost of $88 million. The funds will come from the public infrastructure fund, of which 50 per cent comes from the feds, 33 per cent comes from the province and 17 per cent comes from TransLink.
.@malcolmbrodie says Canada Line will see a 15% increase during peak hours. Says it will ultimately increase by 35%. The Canada Line had 4.42M boardings in October 2019, the last month with stats on their website. Lowest boardings in 2019 were 3.6M in Feb.@BlackPressMedia pic.twitter.com/4kFi2er6dE
— Kat Slepian (@katslepian) January 21, 2020
When all 12 new trains are in place by the end of the year, Desmond said that would mark the end of capacity improvements that can be added to the Canada Line without expanding the platforms.
The Canada Line has operated for more than 10 years, starting half a year ahead of the 2010 Winter Olympics. In 2019, the line saw an average of 4.2 million boardings monthly in 2019. More than 20 per cent of riders use it to get to Vancouver International Airport.
“The moment it started running, customers lined up for blocks, like people lining up at an Apple store for the new iPhone, and the line has been growing ever since,” Desmond said.
He acknowledged that the 12 new trains would push the Canada Line to capacity, not allowing for more service without expanding infrastructure.
“It would be nicer if it was built for the long-term,” Desmond said, but noted the stations are made to expand “relatively easily.”