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APTA Rail 2010: Four hours, three trains, two buses, one trolley – a multimodal tour of Vancouver!

The multimodal map!

The multimodal map!

If you didn’t know, TransLink is hosting the 2010 American Public Transportation Association (APTA) rail conference this week! See the APTA Rail 2010 category for more posts.

So what do transportation professionals do for fun in Vancouver? A four-hour trip riding almost all of Vancouver’s transit vehicles — with an optional four-hour second leg on the SeaBus and the Grouse Mountain Skyride (with dinner at the top)!

This multimodal tour is lovingly crafted by Tom Hickey, associate vice-president at the Houston transit authority and longtime transit planner. He’s done tours like this for the past three years at APTA’s rail conferences: last year, we did a six-hour train tour in Chicago!

For the past decade, Tom has also run more intense versions of these tours at APTA operations planning workshops. One tour around Oregon took two and a half days, and another in Denver was a two-day affair as well. (People drop in and out of the tour as it goes on: Tom describes the tours as a “transit death march.”)

If you’re interested, here is a PDF download of the Vancouver multimodal tour map: it is totally worth a try if you want to experience virtually every mode of transit in town.

And here are some photos of the multimodal tour below. I’ll tell you, 43 transit professionals roving like a pack through the system is a sight to behold.

Burrard Station. Note the photographers waiting for the train to arrive.

Burrard Station. Note the photographers waiting for the train to arrive.

Heading toward the #3 bus stop at Main Street and Broadway. That's Tom Hickey in the hat!

Heading toward the #3 bus stop at Main Street and Broadway. That's Tom Hickey in the hat!

The whole group waiting for the #3 at Main and Broadway.

The whole group waiting for the #3 at Main and Broadway.

At 63rd! It turned out the #3 bus we took didn't go all the way to Marine Drive, so we had to get out. I think the driver of the trolley that picked us up was utterly shocked to see so many people at 63rd and Main.

At 63rd! It turned out the #3 bus we took didn't go all the way to Marine Drive, so we had to get out. I think the driver of the trolley that picked us up was utterly shocked to see so many people at 63rd and Main.

At Marine Drive, Tom interrupted his own announcement to say, 'A train is coming if you want to take photos!' Everybody pulled out their cameras, of course.

At Marine Drive, Tom interrupted his own announcement to say, 'A train is coming if you want to take photos!' Everybody pulled out their cameras, of course.

Accosting the poor Canada Line attendant for information. (He was very nice :)

Accosting the poor Canada Line attendant for information. (He was very nice :)

Riding the Canada Line back to Waterfront.

Riding the Canada Line back to Waterfront.

To the West Coast Express!

To the West Coast Express!

We took up almost the entire top and bottom level, much to the consternation of regular WCE travellers expecting a quiet ride home.

We took up a great number of seats in the West Coast Express car, much to the consternation of regular WCE travellers expecting a quiet ride home. One lady struck up a conversation with two of the transit group though!

Walking to the 97 B-Line stop at Port Moody Station.

Walking to the 97 B-Line stop at Port Moody Station.

We took the 97 B-Line to Lougheed Town Centre, and then all the transit people took photos of the riders neatly lining up for buses.

We took the 97 B-Line to Lougheed Town Centre, and then all the transit people took photos of the riders neatly lining up for buses.

SkyTrain back to Waterfront!

SkyTrain back to Waterfront!

I skipped out on the second leg of the tour, but many continued on: I assume they all got back safe and well, without incident!


6 Comments

  • By Sean (CMBC), June 11, 2010 @ 1:26 pm

    Aw! You guys should have somehow been on my #410! I would have treated you guys real special!
    Or, what about are legendary A/C equipped 9200’s out to Ladner or South Surrey???

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, June 11, 2010 @ 1:31 pm

    It would certainly have been great to see you on the 410! Perhaps the tour would have gotten there if we had more time :) Extensions and variations on the tour certainly would be welcome. Somebody mentioned we didn’t get to ride on a community shuttle either, but since there were 40 of us, it would have been impossible!

  • By zack, June 11, 2010 @ 1:52 pm

    Talk about celebrity treatment for our buses and SkyTrain! Too bad you didn’t add the Seabus on the tour. lol ;D

  • By Jacob, June 11, 2010 @ 3:00 pm

    The coach buses and and the aquabus (false creek) would have been nice too. :P

  • By Alan Robinson, June 11, 2010 @ 3:20 pm

    I’m a little sorry to see the 97 being used as an example of Bus Rapid Transit. I hope the participants understood this more as a corridor identification rather than a measure of service quality. It is very telling that it takes 20min to get to Port Moody by WCE and well over an hour to get back.

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