Buzzer logo

TransLink news, commentary, and behind-the-scenes stories.

How we manage the SkyTrain lineups at Waterfront Station

How we manage the SkyTrain lineups at Waterfront Station

The crowds wandering by Waterfront Station at around 3 p.m. on Wednesday, February 17.
The crowds wandering by Waterfront Station at around 3 p.m. on Wednesday, February 17.

I visited Waterfront Station yesterday to see how our staff is managing the SkyTrain lineups when rush hour starts.

Queue management for transit is in fact a TransLink concern. However, while we are directing how the queue management strategy works, VANOC volunteers and people from local community organizations are helping out our transit hosts with implementation.

For Waterfront Station, the larger crowds begin to arrive at about 3 p.m., and the queue management strategy is put into effect—otherwise crowding inside the station would become overwhelming and make it hard for everyone to get on or off the trains!

Our staff begins to direct customers to side entrances to reach the Canada Line or Expo/Millennium Line, and those leaving the trains exit only through the main doors of Waterfront Station.

Here’s a diagram to show what that looks like.

A diagram of the queue management strategy at Waterfront.
A diagram of the queue management strategy at Waterfront.

So as you can see, no one can enter through the front doors if they’re headed to a SkyTrain service. (West Coast Express and SeaBus customers are allowed in to reach their services, though.)

Canada Line riders are directed to the Waterfront side entrance over at the upper plaza near the Vancouver Sun building, and Expo/Millennium Line riders are directed to the other side entrance at the corner of Howe and Cordova Streets. (Side note: hosts have found that not all people are convinced that the side entrances lead to the same station! But really, they are!)

A transit host holds a Canada Line sign.
A transit host holds a Canada Line sign.

The hosts use these signs to point people out the front door and toward the side exit to reach the Canada Line.

A transit host indicating no access to the Canada Line from the main doors of Waterfront Station.
A transit host indicating no access to the Canada Line from the main doors of Waterfront Station.

And at the same time, hosts tell people not to enter the Canada Line from the main entrance.

No entry signage is posted outside the station's main doors too.
No entry signage is posted outside the station's main doors too.

Plus the transit hosts in front tell people not to enter by the front doors.

Signage outside the front doors points customers toward the side exits.
Signage outside the front doors points customers toward the side exits.

When you walk outside, you are directed by signage towards the west side of the station to reach your services.

Then you turn right and you encounter this cheerful fellow announcing where to go! (He announces the location of the flame every now and then, and once asked everybody to shout Go Canada Go, which they did.)

The side entrance to Waterfront Station where Canada Line riders line up.
The side entrance to Waterfront Station where Canada Line riders line up.

If you’re headed to Canada Line, you go up some steps and line up on the upper plaza near the Vancouver Sun building, entering through this side entrance to Waterfront Station. The plaza has lots of room for the customers to spread out. (Many who rode on the opening day of Canada Line will remember lining up here!)

About half of the lineup stretched across the upper plaza!
About half of the lineup stretched across the upper plaza!

The lineup was long, but definitely moving!

A VANOC volunteer sits in a lifeguard chair as he directs passengers to transit and the Olympic flame.
A VANOC volunteer sits in a lifeguard chair as he directs passengers to transit and the Olympic flame.

If you were headed to the Expo/Millennium Line, you just go to the corner of Howe and Cordova, to the second entrance to the Expo/Millennium Line platform. This transit lifeguard is sitting right in front of the station.

Lifeguard chair inside Waterfront Station.
Lifeguard chair inside Waterfront Station.

A few tidbits. This lifeguard chair was inside Waterfront Station — a VANOC volunteer would be doing queue management announcements while sitting upon it, if required later on. It’s a REAL lifeguard’s chair too — the back had “No running on pool deck” signage!

Crowds headed to the flame and to SkyTrain services.
Crowds headed to the flame and to SkyTrain services.

And here is a shot of the crowds heading for SkyTrain services and the Olympic flame! They probably look scarier than they really are — it is busy but rather manageable when you’re on ground-level.