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A glimpse of the enormous crowds in downtown Vancouver

The crowds heading west toward Waterfront Station along Cordova St.

The crowds heading west toward Waterfront Station along Cordova St.

Record crowds are in downtown Vancouver today (Saturday, February 20), so I visited a couple of downtown stations at about 5 to 6 p.m. to see how things were going. Boy, was it wall-to-wall people! A ton were already in line for the Canada Line and Expo/Millennium Line. Here’s just a few snapshots of the early evening if you’re curious to see. (We’re managing them though! Waits are 30-minutes or less at most stations, and then we’re getting people on their way.)

I rode from Aberdeen to Waterfront -- here was the peak crowd inside the train. So full!

I rode from Aberdeen to Waterfront -- here was the peak crowd inside the train. So full!

Here is the crowd I passed on the Waterfront platform, waiting to board the next Canada Line train.

Here is the crowd I passed on the Waterfront platform, waiting to board the next Canada Line train.

The line snaked out into the station, and then up over the plaza outside.

The line snaked out into the station, and then up over the plaza outside.

This video shows the Canada Line lineup on the plaza next to Waterfront Station. (Why are they on the plaza? Read how we manage SkyTrain lineups at Waterfront Station.)

Waterfront Station, filled with people!

Waterfront Station, filled with people!

We had a queue management person directing people out the front doors and to the right to reach Canada Line and Expo/Millennium Line services.

We had a queue management person directing people out the front doors and to the right to reach Canada Line and Expo/Millennium Line services.

SkyTrain CEO Doug Kelsey and many members of the TransLink Olympic planning team were on hand to help with transit info and queue management.

SkyTrain CEO Doug Kelsey and many members of the TransLink Olympic planning team were on hand to help with transit info and queue management.

SkyTrain CEO Doug Kelseys wife and daughter even offered to help out with transit info and queue management!

SkyTrain CEO Doug Kelsey's wife and daughter even offered to come down and help out!

No-entry signs at the Waterfront Station entrance were getting a bit obscured by the huge numbers of people swarming around in front.

No-entry signs at the Waterfront Station entrance were getting a bit obscured by the huge numbers of people swarming around in front.

Here’s a video showing what the crowd flowing around the front of the station looked like. The intense guitar music is actually just from a nearby busker :)

The transit lifeguard at the Howe St entrance to the Expo/Millennium Line. So many people around him!

The transit lifeguard at the Howe St entrance to the Expo/Millennium Line. So many people around him!

When I showed up at Burrard Station, there was a lineup! The transit hosts were just trying to figure out where to put everyone.

When I showed up at Burrard Station, there was a lineup! The transit hosts were just trying to figure out where to put everyone.

The lineup dissipated in about 10 minutes though. It seemed as there was a big rush for the station just at that one point when I arrived!

The lineup dissipated in about 10 minutes though. It seemed as there was a big rush for the station just at that one point when I arrived!

It’s very likely our busiest day yet! Be prepared for much of the same tomorrow.


14 Comments

  • By MaxNV, February 21, 2010 @ 12:44 am

    I was at Waterfront around 6PM as well. Apparently something has shut down Expo Line for ten minutes and had caused the line up for Expo/Millennium to go out the front doors of the station, the “Transpocalypse” as I called it. Despite the scary sounding name BIG props to the Transit Hosts who were doing the best they could do with what they had to keep the crowds under control and to keep everything in order.

    P.S. If your taking Expo/Millennium lines try using the Howe St. entrance, the line-up there is usually shorter than for the main entrance. And if your taking Canada line try the entrance at Granville and Hasting which also has significantly shorter lines.

  • By SL, February 21, 2010 @ 12:45 am

    That line at waterfront is amazing. That’s pretty close to opening day Canada Line!

  • By Gary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, February 21, 2010 @ 12:58 am

    These look bigger than the fireworks crowds I have endured for the last 10 years when I visited the city

  • By Sam, February 21, 2010 @ 4:43 am

    I waited in the lineup at waterfront to catch the Canada line…. For 40minutes. I was standing outside till 6:45. I was very suprised that there was no food
    carts!!! They would of made a killing!!

  • By Sam, February 21, 2010 @ 4:49 am

    Also, just as a side note….. The whole
    ‘night bus’ situation downtown tonight was insane. N19, only coming every half hour, … Is crap. One came, and it only went
    to metro, then 30mins later one came that went to
    new west station. I had to wait an hour and a half for my bus.

    Seriously….. The flipping HBC Olympic store is open 24hours….. Why can’t skytrain be atleast running till 4? It would only make sence. The clubs are open till 3. I live beside the skytrain. Trains go every 15mins. With ONE cleaner that goes once a night. I was very very very disapointed by the way transit was today. I’m going back to using my car. Boooyahhh!

  • By ;-), February 21, 2010 @ 8:27 am

    @Sam: Perhaps Translink should move a Krispy Kreme or Jappadog near the Skytrain station entrance. That should help with the line ups.

    With all those coffee stations at Skytrain entrances and then no public washroom signs in others, I’m glad portable washrooms have been set up at the Waterfront as a starter. It really helps when you are going home at night when malls and stores are closed, as well you bus is running 30 minutes behind schedule.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, February 21, 2010 @ 9:08 am

    Sam:
    I’m sorry your experience wasn’t the best. Please feel free to submit your comments to our Customer Relations team. However, unfortunately SkyTrain can’t run 24 hours because of maintenance issues — tracks and trains need to be tended to so they can keep up the huge amount of service they provide. Have a look at this article from the Vancouver Sun: the middle part describes what goes into taking care of the tracks late at night. Our whole system was also under considerable strain yesterday considering the unprecedented crowds in downtown Vancouver!

  • By Henry, February 21, 2010 @ 11:00 am

    One of the biggest failures for the entire Skytrain system is the lack of roof hand rails with hanging ring hand holders in the middle of all MKI/II/Rotem trains. I don’t know what the transit planners are thinking, but you guys know that sardine packed trains are inevitable and expected at some point in time, and roof hand rails are sorely needed so that people have places to hold on to, esp the ones who are stuck in the middle of the train and that it’s too far to reach for one of those side bars. Why is that?

    Is it possible for MKI/II (early version) and Rotem trains to be retrofitted with those later down the road?

  • By Paul, February 22, 2010 @ 1:07 pm

    @Henry

    The Rotem trains do have roof hand rails.

    What I have found if there is a lineup at one station walk to another station. Also in my case I’m lucky. I can take both the Expo/Mil Lines Home, catching the #41 from Joyce or the Canada Line to 41st and catch the #41 going EB from there.

    I’ve only ever hit one line up at Canada Line VCC Station and it was just past the ticket machines and moved quite rapidly.

    Most of the lineups seem to occur because everyone decides to leave at the same time. If you wait for another 30 mins most times the lineup just disappears.

  • By zack, February 22, 2010 @ 6:01 pm

    I’ve noticed a lot of New Flyer D40s have been dispatched to Surrey. I don’t know if they’ve been relocated as part of the fleet expansion of the hybrids, or just sticking around for the Olympics before they’re scrapped. The problem is these buses do not indicate which route they’re on, they all say “SPECIAL” any reason why?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, February 23, 2010 @ 10:27 pm

    zack: I’ve sent this over for an answer but it may be a long time coming since everyone is so busy!

  • By zack, February 26, 2010 @ 1:44 pm

    SPAMMER ALERT!!

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, February 26, 2010 @ 2:32 pm

    I think I got rid of it!
    Unless you’re calling me a spammer :)

  • By zack, February 27, 2010 @ 8:07 pm

    Oh no! you’re not the spammer, but you could say you’re the spam cleaner. :)

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