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Friday fun post: how many times have you been on the Canada Line now?

If you like, skip to the end of this post to take the Canada Line rides poll!

Last week’s poll: favourite Canada Line stations

Last week I asked what your favourite Canada Line station was.

I’m not crazy enough to try to write the percentages on that tiny little pie chart (it’s auto-generated by the poll service), so here’s the summary in words :)

Out of 196 votes, YVR-Airport came out on top with 44 votes (22%), Broadway-City Hall was a close second with 43 votes (22%), and Waterfront Station was third with 31 votes (16%). The rest of the stations got a small handful of votes — see the exact percentages here.

In the comments, there wasn’t a lot of elaboration on why YVR-Airport was best, except for Shane here:

I like YVR with the artwork that was just installed this week. I also like how it is lit up at night.

Broadway-City Hall got some mad props though: Dennis and Shane both commented on the overhead walkway that lets you look down to the trains, and Rvie pointed out that he liked the double-height ceilings.

As for the other stations, Cree had a nice description of why he liked Yaletown-Roundhouse:

I like Yaletown-Roundhouse on the basis of the simplicity of the exterior of the station (not too extravagant), and how it’s nicely nestled in the heart of Yaletown itself so seamlessly.

And Josh talked a bit about Templeton:

I like Templeton the most because it’s so quiet there. It’s also one of the most aesthetically pleasing stations on the line. It’s also a great place for shooting pictures of planes landing :)

However, I have to say the thread did have a feeling of muted positivity, and I think Stefan‘s comments sum up the mood well:

I have to say that while all the stations are nice, none of them (that I’ve seen from up close) really stands out as terribly impressive. Perhaps we’ve been spoiled by the lavish, expensive-looking Millennium Line stations, which were a departure from the much more utilitarian Expo Line stations.

This week: how many times have you been on the Canada Line now?

Thought I’d ask since many of you are transit enthusiasts!

Let’s say “as of” means “including Friday Aug 28.” And did you ride the line just to ride it, or to actually go somewhere? Tell us in the comments!


  • By David, August 28, 2009 @ 4:54 pm

    I took Canada Line to work today. It was my first time on the system and I came away with a less than positive first impression.

    I didn’t like being stuck underground the whole way and the train seemed to spend the entire time slowing down to cope with a curve in the track. I’ll be timing it on the way home tonight because I’m pretty sure it took significantly longer than 12 minutes to get from Oakridge to Waterfront.

    Although it was a smoother, quieter ride than SkyTrain and the cars were cleaner and less crowded, I’m definitely heading back to SkyTrain next week for the following reasons:

    – The bus ride was longer and more crowded than the one to SkyTrain.
    – I had to cross two streets to get from the bus stop to the station entrance.
    – Once at the station it took two flights of stairs and an escalator to reach the platform. Thank goodness I’m not a senior citizen yet!
    – I had to wait longer for a train than I would have had to on the Expo line.
    – The train felt like it was going in slow motion the entire time.
    – The natural light and view aboard SkyTrain is far superior.

    I do like all the information signs on the platforms and aboard the trains, but the announcement “this train is for waterfront” is going to drive regular passengers crazy.

  • By Jaye Sunsurn, August 28, 2009 @ 5:13 pm

    I’ve taken the Canada Line more than a few times, and while the first few were for novelty reasons, I do find myself more apt to head to south Vancouver or Richmond now because of the accessibility that the Canada Line affords heading into that part of town. I haven’t taken the Canada Line during the waaay off peak hours, but I have avoided the general rush hour times and even so while in the Vancouver portion of the ride where I take most of my trips its an almost sheer impossibility to find empty seats. Now there is a bump in numbers due to the novelty of it, but I suspect a lot of people are using it because it links up places they would like to go, and thus I find its quite packed even during non rush hour periods.

    While this is a good thing (it would be a real shame if all that money was spent for no one to use it) it does also mean that more trains might be needed especially as we get into the inclement weather months when more people will use it in their regular commutes.

  • By Ashley Chow, August 28, 2009 @ 5:53 pm

    I took it once last Monday just for the hell of it. There were delays and we were stopped underground maybe once and above ground another time. It’s nice and modern for sure, but if I was going to Richmond with a purpose, I’d rather drive down there, considering the most convenient way for me via the Canada Line is to skytrain it to Granville or Waterfront. Total duration getting back from Richmond: about 1 hour.

  • By Bryan Gal, August 28, 2009 @ 6:28 pm

    Since its opening I’ve ridden it just about every chance i get to get to Richmond. In a strange way it just feels like all the people who usually ride the 98 have switched to the Canada Line. Sure its usually packed, but it now doesn’t take 45 min to get to Richmond. Still, with 85,000 people using it before the Sept. 7th changes I’m gonna say that its gonna be a very short time before it hits 100,000 people using it… like maybe December or January.

  • By Cow, August 28, 2009 @ 6:36 pm

    I live a couple of blocks up Pacific from Davie, and work in that (currently boarded up) blocky building right outside the back exit of Waterfront Station. So I’ve been riding it almost every day to work, although I still walk home most days. (I’ve also taken it out to Richmond just to explore a bit.)

  • By Jim, August 28, 2009 @ 7:17 pm

    I must say I love the new Canada Line. I think its great and all the stations are really nice. I have noticed that the trains are always full so I am sure we will need additional trains or added capacity before long. We will be at 100 000 in just months. I have never had to wait any longer then 2 minute for a train which is a dramatic improvement compared to the 98 B Line. I don’t think the annoucements are any issue. I have ridden it so many times that often I have completely forgot about the annoucements. I only hear it now when I am actually trying to hear it. The line has actually openned up Richomnd as a place to shop and just have a good evening. I would not have thought of richomnd as being such for the line openned. I do have a thought with all the escalators/stairs I would love to have some signage indicating directs of going up and down the escalators as often for the people in a rush there are people standing on the left side of the escalator which is usually considered the passing side of the escalator for people in a rush which has fustrated myself to the utmost extreme. I am sure others feel this way as well so if possible signage indicating to people to stand on the right and pass on the left that would be nice. I have also seen windows openned on the trains which has also irritated myself since I know of the air conditioning on the trains so I would love a way to pass on to the people unfamiliar with the cars that there is no need to open the windows and not to do so. Perhapes a video on the LCD screens or attendants passing on the information or better signage to indicate not to open the windows unless for emergency purposes. Overall the Canada Line is fabulous and I just hope that additional trains will be added or increase frequence will happen once Sept 7 happens.

  • By Sungsu, August 28, 2009 @ 7:40 pm

    When the outside temperature is significantly cooler than the temperature inside the train, opening the windows does no harm, and in fact will cool down the interior faster than keeping them closed. Think of car that has sat in the sun for a few hours. Would you keep the windows closed so that the air conditioning can work?

  • By Josh, August 28, 2009 @ 8:51 pm

    Hmm…too many times to count :P . I have taken the train twice for a reason other than just taking it though, the first time was on the 19th when I took it from YVR-Airport after a loooong vacation, the other time was today (28th) when I went to Richmond to do some stuff there.

    As someone who took the 98 B-Line everyday from Downtown to near Richmond, the Canada Line seems like a heavenly gift to me.

    Me: Not a 98 B-Line fan! :P

  • By Jim, August 28, 2009 @ 8:55 pm

    Maybe Jhenifer Can help us on this as I have mentioned in the past that I thought that the Canada line trains could turn up the air conditioning which I think this would solve that problem. I understand your point of view but I think Intransit could do a better job at adjusting the onboard A/C which would reduce the need to completely. The Mark II are cooler with the A?C then the Canada line trains so If this could be done problem solved I think.

  • By zack, August 28, 2009 @ 9:07 pm

    My parents and I just tried out the new Canada Line all the way to Richmond-Brighouse and YVR Airport. There we toured Richmond Centre, Richmond City Hall, and the airport. The platforms looked really neat and impressive, at one point it reminded of Toronto’s Subway system. I think the Canada Line will definitely improve access to Richmond and address the overcrowding on the 98 B-Line. One funny thing to note is that the Canada Line is probably not good for SkyTrain enthusiasts as one man said “when are we going to get out of the tunnel?!!”

  • By Sungsu, August 28, 2009 @ 9:10 pm


    You’re right that the real problem is that the air conditioning doesn’t seem to be effective enough when the cars are full of people.

  • By Helen, August 28, 2009 @ 10:10 pm

    So far no complaints, we’ll see what happens Sept. 8th!! Couple of questions though – why was there water in the tunnels today, and why do the escalators only go up? Couple of stations have lots of stairs – can’t imagine coping with a stroller. Or luggage.

  • By Rvie, August 28, 2009 @ 10:46 pm

    I’ve ridden the Canada Line since Tuesday on my way to school and back. Pretty smooth ride if you ask me. No complaints yet but I’m pretty sure EVERYBODY’s gonna have a bit of a hard time adjusting to the Canada Line once the express buses (ie. 98 B-Line, 496, 491, etc.) and all those buses that head straight to Vancouver from Surrey/Delta are discontinued. (Here’s hoping there’s no complaints.)

  • By Not my real fake name, August 28, 2009 @ 11:07 pm

    You forgot “zero” again :)

    For me, twice for the heck of it, connecting to the M line via the 84 at Olympic Village or the 99 at Broadway City Hall instead of my usual Burrard to Brentwood via “Commercial-Broadway”. Maybe one day I’ll take the 25 from King Edward to Brentwood, but the 41 minute rush hour ride is a bit of a downer.

    Also, once last weekend to attend a wedding reception near Aberdeen; that was the one trip that was not contrived, and it was great that the line was open in time to use it for “real” reasons.

  • By R, August 29, 2009 @ 12:26 am

    I have used the canada line 4 times. Once just to try out the line and the other times I had places to go. The trains are very nice and have a lot of room compared to our expo and millinmum line cars. The trip is also a lot quiter. I like how the LED displays on the train show the next and turminus stations. This prevents me from missing my stop if I don’t hear the announcment. The this train is for waterfront announcment is great as it lets us know we haven’t boarded the wrong train. The interior fluorescent lighting on the trains also provide excellent lighting on the trains and provide lots of light for us to be able to read on the trains even when it is dark out and while the train is underground. I also like it that cell phones work even while the train is underground.

  • By Jordan, August 29, 2009 @ 12:40 am

    Loved the new Canada Line, but I do wish it was elevated like the parts in Richmond. The views are what make Skytrain so enjoyable. Otherwise it is a great link! The only part I didn’t enjoy was between King Edward and Oakridge. It was horrible with all the screeching around the corners! And slow too! Ughhh That has to be the worst part of the ride.

  • By Dave 2, August 29, 2009 @ 12:45 am

    One thing I’ve noticed in the past week is more people wiht larage “baggage” on the Skytrain, heading for Waterfront

  • By Not my real fake name, August 29, 2009 @ 12:46 am

    Yes, at the front of the train it seems slow compared the SkyTrain ™ in the Dunsmuir tunnel, but when you’re looking out the sides of the train it seems quite fast.

  • By Not my real fake name, August 29, 2009 @ 12:50 am

    Just leave the windows closed, thank you very much.

  • By Dennis, August 29, 2009 @ 12:50 am

    I take it to work five days a week. Couldn’t go back to a bus after the Canada Line opened :P

  • By Not my real fake name, August 29, 2009 @ 12:57 am

    I literally LOL’d at the ‘no food or drink beyond this point’ sign. Good luck with that.

    OTOH, I notice that all of thew new signage on the old Skytrain line no longer mentions “No food (represented by an Ice Cream cone), or drink (represented by a cup)… pity.. hot coffee is a lethal wepaon wheh Skytrain goes into “emerency stop” mode

  • By Stefan, August 29, 2009 @ 10:53 am

    I live in Port Moody and work near the Tunnel, and am happy for anything that makes my 2-hour commute more pleasant!

    Because the 98 B-Line is so slow, the 351/601 straight to Steveston Highway was the only viable option for me before. The Canada Line doesn’t really save me any time, but it’s a much smoother ride, the schedule is more reliable, and I can catch a local bus at Richmond Centre that gets me closer to work, rather than having to walk to work from the freeway.


    After my comment that Jhenifer graciously included in her post, I had a chance to ride the YVR branch, and I really liked the look of Templeton Station, with its large glass atrium overlooking the tracks.

  • By Tsushima Masaki, August 29, 2009 @ 4:40 pm

    I can’t count how many times I’ve ridden the line now…

    On opening day I went from Brighouse to Waterfront to Brighouse to Bridgeport to YVR, walked to Sea Island Centre then got back on a train.

    I gave a couple of my friends Canada Line tours, I picked my Dad up from the airport, took him to his hotel (near Yaletown-Roundhouse Station), showed him Richmond Olympic Oval, then saw him off; All of this via the Canada Line.

    Other than that the Canada Line’s become part of my regular travel route rather instantly. I live near Highway 99 and Steveston Highway so I’d usually walk to that bus stop and catch a 351/601; I’d do anything to avoid going to Richmond Centre and standing for “40 minutes” (more like an hour) on a crammed 98 B-Line in non-moving No. 3 Road/Granville/Seymour traffic.

    Still… I’ll miss that bus, some friends and I are planning on taking a B-Line on it’s final day of operation. I’ll also miss that queue of articulated buses parked along Anderson Road.

    I just need to make a note to myself to never enter the train system at Bridgeport Station, because when Sept. 7th rolls around that will be a hectic transfer point.

  • By Joseph Bilac, August 29, 2009 @ 7:46 pm

    I don’t understand why that evil curve is so necessary around QE Park. Did the city refuse to let the line just go under the park? That curve adds probably 1-2 minutes to the journey, and from the sounds of the wheels is just inviting an accident. It also seems like this line has a built-in maximum capacity. The platforms don’t look nearly long enough for 4 car sets and unless they’re hiding the missing Millennium Line C-Cars at the Canada Line operations centre, the system has a very low maximum capacity save for adding even more trains.

  • By Stefan, August 29, 2009 @ 11:29 pm


    I agree—how much more would it have cost to bore the tunnel over the 800-metre stretch from 29th up to 33rd Avenues?

    Regarding capacity, I had the same concerns, but I’ve been doing some digging around. Apparently—because the car bodies are wider and with more standing room than Mark I and Mark II cars—each train has a capacity of 334 passengers: the same as a 4-car “Mark I” train.

    The cheapest way to expand capacity (apart from the capital cost of buying more trains!) would be to increase train frequencies. Here, the bottlenecks are of course the single-track stretches at Richmond-Brighouse and YVR-Airport. The shortest headway on those branches right now is 8 minutes, but apparently that could be reduced to as little as approx. 3 minutes, thereby at least doubling service levels and capacity.

    In addition, the trains are 40 metres long, the same as the platform length of most of the stations. Some stations (Waterfront, City Centre, Broadway, Oakridge, Bridgeport, Brighouse, YVR) have 50-metre platforms, and the other stations have been built with a provision for future expansion to 50 metres. One additional car (the same length, or perhaps shorter?) could be inserted into the middle of the train—and depending on the positioning of the doors vis-a-vis the platforms, trains up to 60 metres in length could be accomodated (with 5 metres off either end of the platform). So this could increase the capacity by 50% over what it is now.

    So if both options were pursued (more trainsets plus “C-cars” and lengthened platforms), capacity could eventually be increased by at least 200% (i.e., 3 times what it is now).

  • By Stefan, August 29, 2009 @ 11:30 pm

    Correction: 29th up to 37th Avenues.

  • By ;-), August 30, 2009 @ 8:32 am

    @Joseph: I too wondered about the QE curve option, but to keep the cost down and minimize construction costs, I assume it’s easier to follow Cambie for access to cut ‘n cover construction. Then again, I believe QE is an ancient volcano (yes Metro Vancouver has volcanic activity eg…. Mt Baker, Harrison Hot Springs). Do people remember the recycled tire “blasting mats” they needed for the QE dense rock construction?

    Unlike the Expo, Millenium or the elevated CLine, have you noticed the CLine tunnel section has a mild like a roller coaster sensation (especially between Broadway to Waterfront)? Did you notice the elevation changes coming into the VCS station (I like Robson better)? In keeping a shallow tunnel for shorter stairs, the CLine appears to follow the surface contours. Normally that is not an issue, but following the surface contour at high speeds means up and down motions, as well as popping ear drums (ie Marine and 49th).

    So if there was no Cambie curve, would we see up a down motion like between Yaletown and Waterfront to follow QE contours?

  • By Robert Werner, August 30, 2009 @ 9:02 am

    I’m volunteering @ GM Place all of this week, taking the B-Line, Canada Line, & Expo Line right to Stadium station every day. Very easy, very cool!

    Perhaps even cooler is the Translink mobile iPhone app I discovered this morning! Information anytime, anywhere … as it should have been years ago!!

    P.S. I’m typing this on my iPhone while traveling underneath False Creek!

  • By Stefan, August 30, 2009 @ 9:58 am

    That’s strange…I wrote a long comment agreeing with Joseph about the curve, and wondering why they couldn’t have just bored the 800 metres straight through from 29th to 33rd (sic; hence the correction to 37th).

    Regarding capacity, I shared Joseph’s concerns, but it turns out it’s not as bad as it seems.

    Each 40-metre train can take 334 passengers, basically the same as a longer but narrower 4-car “Mark I” train. Most station platforms are 40 metres long, but there is provision for expansion to 50 metres, and lengthening of trains by one “C-car” each, increasing capacity by up to 50%

    In addition, the single-track Richmond-Brighouse and YVR-Airport branches can sustain headways as low as approximately 3 minutes, meaning the current minimum frequency of 8 minutes on each of the two branches could be halved to 4 minutes, thereby doubling capacity.

    Obviously, both of these require capital expenditures (construction, new equipment, or both), but nothing so bad as new tunneling work. If stations and trains were lengthened AND new trainsets were added to support shorter frequencies, capacity could be tripled over what it is now.

  • By Stefan, August 30, 2009 @ 10:00 am

    Now my original comment has appeared again. Maybe I just need more coffee.

  • By cree, August 30, 2009 @ 5:10 pm

    I take it as an unnecessary detour to get home. That being said, certainly more than 5 times.

    Expanding the platforms and trains should’ve been thought of before or during construction; not in the distant future — especially since many of the Richmond suburban routes are getting discontinued.

    So essentially we’ve come from crowded B-Lines, to a (soon to be) crowded Canada Line– not factoring a certain happening come February. The morning of Sept 8th is gonna be a gong show!

    Oh wait; this is about how many times you’ve taken Canada Line– oops. Well, I’ve certainly gotten off @ Aberdeen Sta numerous times; I love that area!

  • By hudson, August 31, 2009 @ 12:28 am

    I took the CanadaLine the other day and was quite impressed.

    BUT… what’s with Templeton station’s configuration? No Ticket Vending Machine on the inbound to YVR and the only TVMs are on the other side which is on an open field of… gravel? No local bus service to residents of the island or those who work at BCIT or Delta Hotel from Templeton? Very odd.

  • By ;-), August 31, 2009 @ 8:31 am

    The Templeton station is a built before it’s time.

    The current terminal is expanding Eastward. Many of the current services West of Templeton will be centered around the new station. YVR is thinking ahead, instead of trying to retrofit a mass transit system in the future which would be much more expensive.

  • By Jay, August 31, 2009 @ 10:24 am

    Templeton does not need fare machines on “outbound” or westbound side to YVR because travel to YVR from Templeton is free, in fact I think travel on all of Sea Island is free. You only need to pay when you leave, ie cross the middle arm bridge. Correct me if I’m wrong.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, September 1, 2009 @ 11:43 am

    Joseph, Stefan, ;-):

    Just wanted to mention that it is indeed volcanic rock that forced the curve in the Canada Line near Queen E Park. So I was told on an early Canada Line tour!

  • By David M, September 1, 2009 @ 9:55 pm

    The volcanic rock that makes up Little Mountain is extremely dense rock (it’s a lateral vent from the old extinct Garabaldi Volcano).

    Wheel squeal on sharp turns is normal on any train and it is not inviting an accident, or indication of a potential accident. It’s is safe and normal. You’ll hear it on the Expo and Millennium lines too; on Edmonton’s LRT and on Calgary’s C-train and Toronto’s subway, London Underground, etc. It does mean wheel wear will occur, but again normal.

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