The Sea-to-Sky gondola was one design TransLink staff looked at for the Burnaby Mountain gondola. (Paul Bride/SeatoSky)

Metro Vancouver mayors vote for SFU Burnaby gondola to head to public consultation

Gondola would serve Simon Fraser University students, staff

A gondola up Burnaby Mountain got one step closer to reality Thursday, as the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation voted unanimously to move to public consultation.

Geoff Cross, TransLink vice-president of transportation planning and policy, told Metro Vancouver mayors at their meeting that a gondola was well suited to the uphill, hilly terrain on an already busy bus route to Simon Fraser University.

“We do not anticipate that we will be able to serve all that demand with a bus-based technology,” Cross said.

A gondola would take about six minutes to ascend Burnaby Mountain to SFU, while a bus would take 15 minutes, Cross added.

“A gondola shows promise because the operating costs are relatively efficient compared to running buses up and down,” he said.

“We’re able to have lower operating costs than even currently, or roughly the same, and we’re able to serve demand through to 2050 without increases in bus service.”

Cross said the gondola would be able to run year-round, unlike buses. TransLink has been forced to cancel bus service on Burnaby Mountain multiple times during heavy snowfall, leaving students and faculty stranded.

Cross estimates that the most direct route for the gondola would cost $197 million, for which TransLink would pursue federal and provincial funding.

READ MORE: SFU gondola gets preliminary support from Burnaby council

READ MORE: TransLink estimates the entire Surrey-Langley SkyTrain route would cost $3.12 billion


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