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Translink Buzzer Blog

Transit service to the Celebration of Light: July 21, 24, 28 and 31

The annual Celebration of Light fireworks display will be held in downtown Vancouver on July 21, 24, 28, and 31!

As usual, we’ll be boosting service to carry thousands of people to the event, and there will be some bus reroutes to accommodate the related West End road closures.

Have a look below for the full transit service details, including some special service notes and cycling info!

Buses

Roads in the West End and Kits Point will restrict vehicle access as of 7:30 p.m., which means some downtown buses will be rerouted. Here’s the full road closure map.

As of 7:30 p.m., buses that normally travel into the West End will go no further than Burrard and Davie.

  • The 5 Robson will go as far as Robson and Denman and then return via Denman and Georgia. There will be no eastbound service on Robson Street.
  • The 6 Davie will go as far as Davie and Thurlow, then turn at Thurlow to Pacific, and back north via Seymour.
  • The C21 Beach will go as far as Beach and Hornby, then turn at Hornby and Davie to resume its regular route (C23 Main).
  • The C23 Davie will go as far as Davie and Thurlow, then turn at Thurlow and Pacific to its regular route (C21 Yaletown).

Edit: The above buses will return to their regular routes after the streets are opened again by the Vancouver Police Department. Generally this is around 11:15-11:30 p.m., but this can vary depending on the circumstances (weather, size of crowds, other events unrelated to fireworks).

As of 9 p.m., the 22 Macdonald/Knight will avoid Burrard Bridge and Cornwall Avenue altogether, using 4th Avenue between Granville Bridge and Macdonald in both directions.

Additional buses will be put in place at Bridgeport SkyTrain Station to handle crowds coming off the Canada Line: these will supplement service as deemed necessary by transit supervisors on the scene.

West Vancouver Transit will have about 15 extra buses on hand along Georgia near Denman, to be used as required.

SkyTrain

Canada Line will operate at rush-hour levels from late afternoon throughout the evening on each date of the fireworks.

Expo and Millennium Lines service will operate at rush hour levels from late afternoon throughout the evening on each date until crowds are cleared after the event.

Some very very crucial notes for SkyTrain riders

  • The last Expo Line train will leave Waterfront at 1:16 a.m., but we will run additional trains if necessary to make sure that all customers already in the station at that time are able to get home.
  • To prevent “seat-camping,” there will be no pickups on inbound trains between Stadium-Chinatown and Waterfront Stations (Expo/Millennium Lines) and between Yaletown-Roundhouse and Waterfront Stations (Canada Line). Inbound Canada Line passengers will be required to get off at Yaletown-Roundhouse.
  • After 10 p.m., there will be no access to Waterfront Station through the main entrance on Cordova Street, except for those with wheelchairs or strollers. Those arriving by SeaBus must also leave Waterfront, and can then access SkyTrain from Howe Street.
  • After 10 p.m., the only access to Granville Station will be through its Dunsmuir Street entrance.
  • Cyclists riding the train should arrive early, and owing to the large crowds, bikes won’t be allowed on any SkyTrain line leaving downtown Vancouver from 10pm until the lineups have cleared. That may be as late as 1am. Transit staff and police may restrict bikes at any time in any direction, depending on crowd conditions on the trains. This is for the safety and comfort of all our passengers.
  • If you don’t already have a FareCard or FareSaver, you are highly encouraged to pre-purchase their return fare prior to the event. This will avoid long lineups at ticket vending machines afterwards and facilitate boarding. Portable fareboxes will be set up at Granville, Burrard, Bridgeport (before the event only), Yaletown-Roundhouse, Vancouver City Centre, and Waterfront – Canada Line and Howe Street Entrance (after the event).

SeaBus

SeaBus will put all three vessels into operation for the evening, providing 10-minute service from 6:30pm until 12:45am; then every 15 minutes until the final departure from Waterfront station at 1:31am.

West Coast Express

West Coast Express will run a special train for the finale, Saturday, July 31, leaving Mission City at 7pm and returning from Waterfront at 11:30pm.

Cycling

Cycling is also a good option, with bike valets in three locations this year:

  • Under Burrard Street bridge (near Vancouver Aquatic Centre)
  • Second Beach Parking Lot
  • King George Secondary School (Bidwell and Denman Sts)

(I got this cycling info from the official website: make sure to check there for any updates!)

A note: zero tolerance for drugs and alcohol on transit

Be aware that transit police will be out to assist in keeping order, paying particular attention to transit services. They will enforce a zero-tolerance policy for alcohol and drugs on transit vehicles.

Other than that: have fun, enjoy the fireworks, and take care out there!


25 Comments

  • By ECruz, July 20, 2010 @ 4:05 pm

    Jhenifer,
    Can you clarify on this situation?

    *If you can bike to VCC-Clark station (the trains from there do NOT leave from downtown) ahead of the crowds, is there any reason why Translink won’t let you on?

    *Also, if your bike is a FOLDING bike, shouldn’t you be allowed on that train leaving from VCC-Clark? At rush-hour levels, folding bikes are allowed on Skytrain, right?

    Otherwise, it’s a very long ride home!
    Thanks

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, July 20, 2010 @ 4:07 pm

    I’m passing your note on to SkyTrain for an answer. Let’s see what they have to say!

  • By ???, July 20, 2010 @ 5:19 pm

    Is the folding bike in a case? If not in a case I remember it was treated as a regular bike. It’s faster to ride the Bike to Main Street or another station. Those downtown lines into the Station can get very long.

  • By C.Cassidy, July 20, 2010 @ 11:10 pm

    ???: Going to Main Street Station is also a gamble, you run the risk of sitting around waiting as MULTIPLE trains pass by you full. A bike can’t get in a train if it’s full, doesn’t matter what station it’s at.

  • By ???, July 21, 2010 @ 7:25 am

    Main Street station is a major transfer point where many get off to use Main Street buses. It’s quite a distance from the fireworks viewing sites, so I don’t expect many boarding at that location, especially at that time of night.

    What about riding to the VCC station 2km away? There’s that new bikeway which would allow you to get there in 10 minutes.

    What about using the bike paths and going South to Broadway’s BLine?

    I’ve seen some station line ups which are 30 minutes or longer. Riding to an outer station would be easier.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, July 21, 2010 @ 1:23 pm

    ECruz: OK, here’s the response from SkyTrain! (It’s pretty similar to what ??? and C.Cassidy have suggested.)

    I think the key word here is “crowded”. On the website we told them that Transit staff and police may restrict bikes depending on crowd conditions and all the signage in the stations followed the same statement. If he gets on at VCC and the trains are empty, then our staff and police will let him get on. However, if he plans to take the train from VCC to Columbia and transfer to an Expo train to King George, chances are he will not even be able to get on the train because they will already be crowded.

    Folding bicycles that can be stored in a bag will still be permitted on SkyTrain.

  • By Elfren Ordanza, July 21, 2010 @ 4:58 pm

    Jhennifer,

    Why can’t SkyTrain just run a bike train only for passengers with bikes?

    It would be better for passengers with bikes to get on. I know the bike passengers won’t know when the bike train will come. A SkyTrain staff or two should be in the bike train. What I would say is that you put a continuous pattern to the operation – meaning that run the first four trains for the normal passengers and run the next two trains after the first four trains for the pasengers with bikes to the Expo and Millenium Lines, and continue with the pattern shown in the brakets (NNNNBB N=Normal B=Bike) same with the Canada Line. I know that there won’t be a lot of bikers for the fireworks event but I’m just suggesting one thing for the SkyTrain operation for passengers with bikes.

    For the length of the trains, I’m suggesting that the trains are at their longest form (Mk1s: 6 cars, Mk2s: 4 cars except for the Canada cars) so that the capacity would increase more rather than just running smaller sized trains. So the reason being is that more passengers can get on the trains with less crowds on the platforms.

    I’ve noticed since last year when the HSBC Celebration of Lights event started, SkyTrain has operated some small sized trains. I would suggest the SkyTrain operators to keep operating the train’s longest forms (Mk1s: 6 cars Mk2s: 4 cars). I’m just suggesting things to make the SkyTrain transportation better for the passengers to get to their destinations quicker especially for passengers with bikes.

  • By zack, July 21, 2010 @ 5:54 pm

    Couple of questions, First will the 5 Robson bus (Westbound) be accessible on Robson and Denman? And secondly if the main Waterfront entrance is closed, will the Canada Line entrance on Granville also be closed? And on the Expo/M lines at Waterfront, if the trains stop on the eastbound platform will passengers be allowed in? I know it looks a lot to ask, but I want make sure everything’s clarified. :)

  • By ECruz, July 21, 2010 @ 5:58 pm

    Thanks, Jhnenifer!
    Everyone, have a fun and safe fireworks celebration!

  • By Scott, July 22, 2010 @ 10:33 am

    All 5 buses are accessible.

    Running a skytrain just for bikes isn’t an efficient use of resources when demand for passengers is beyond huge. People who use bikes are given plenty of notice about when bikes won’t be allowed on trains and just need to plan around that. It’s 4 nights out of a year, so it’s not a big deal.

  • By ???, July 22, 2010 @ 10:48 am

    In addition to newly built expensive bike paths, there are also bike racks near many stations they can use. This frees up space for riders and other cyclists who use the racks.

  • By Anonymous, July 22, 2010 @ 11:49 am

    Sure the train will be relativly empty at VCC-Clark, but it will likely fill up to the rafters at Commercial Drive.

  • By Graham J., July 24, 2010 @ 3:01 pm

    “•To prevent ‘seat-camping,’ …Inbound Canada Line passengers will be required to get off at Yaletown-Roundhouse.”

    1. Is this from 10pm onward only or during what time frame? I can’t find this clarified here or on the official TransLink website.

    2. Depending on the time frame (if I even need to worry about this, what would be the alternative given to travel farther by bus?

    3. Why? Especially if this isn’t required of inbound Expo / Millennium Line passengers at, say, Stadium – Chinatown Station, Then why are Canada Line passengers being treated differently?

    Any clarification on this vague rule would be much appreciated for the upcoming last two shows on Wednesday and Saturday.

    “Be aware that transit police will be out to assist in keeping order, paying particular attention to transit services. They will enforce a zero-tolerance policy for alcohol and drugs on transit vehicles.”

    Would this rule apply to closed liquor containers? Particularly, for example, if one was headed to a private viewing party, it seems that legally the police couldn’t treat closed liquor on a transit vehicle any differently than if it was in a person’s private vehicle. I understand that this is quite a contentious issue, but I ask principly because, for one, as (although with ample notice given) Victoria now doesn’t even allow closed liquor coming into the city during the evening of Canada Day celebrations (a whole ball of civil liberty wax that I’m not going to touch with a 20 foot pole here) and, for another, I’m told by an SCBCTA Police Officer that (without any prior notice to this effect being given publicly that I could find) closed liquor was being confiscated at the Canada Line’s Vancouver City Centre Station during atleast some nights of the Olympics.

    This last point is more for the benefit of others, but you can see why it’s not so clear these days.

    Thanks ahead of time, and here’s to a save fireworks commute and experience to all!

  • By Elfren Ordanza, July 24, 2010 @ 6:09 pm

    I totally agree with Graham J.
    Some of the points are not clear to me.
    Sorry Jhennifer :(

  • By zack, July 24, 2010 @ 8:01 pm

    Does “seat camping” mean looping inbound trains back to Surrey/VCC on the Expo Line? Because if that’s the case, then I find it completely offensive. During the Olympics, I was always able to loop inbound trains from Burrard, Granville and even at Waterfront. And the website says “as of 7:30pm, buses that normally travel into the West End will go no further than Burrard and Davie. The 5 Robson will go as far as Robson and Denman and then return via Denman and Georgia. There will be no eastbound service on Robson Street.” No where does it say when the buses come back to the west end, a little more clarification needed there.

  • By ???, July 26, 2010 @ 8:48 am

    To clarify how long did it take to clear the crowds on Saturday? Before the Canada Line, I remember 8 years ago, there was lines at the waterfront station going past the Pan Pacific hotel at 12:30am!

    Other than the Nanaimo station incident, I didn’t see much activity on the Twitter feed about station congestion. Perhaps that can help.

    http://twitter.com/statuses/user_timeline/61617150.rss

    You can also catch fireworks recap on Global’s site.

    http://www.globaltvbc.com/story.html?id=3309877

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, July 26, 2010 @ 12:17 pm

    Graham J: Good questions! I’m going to double check on all the answers for you, but here’s what I know so far in case it helps in the interim.

    #1 – As far as I know the “seat-camping” note applies to 10pm or later. I’ll amend as soon as I have that confirmed.
    #3 – The “seat-camping” item applies to the Expo & Millennium Lines too. In the post, it says there will be no inbound pickups on Stadium-Chinatown, Granville and Burrard, which effectively means you can’t get on downtown and travel to Waterfront using Expo/Millennium. As far as I know, it’s always been the policy for the fireworks that you can’t reserve seats that way — reaching back to firework notices in the July 2009 Buzzer, it reads “All SkyTrain passengers must leave the train at Waterfront Station—no reverse riding is allowed. Those arriving by SeaBus must also leave Waterfront, and can then access SkyTrain from Howe Street.”

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, July 26, 2010 @ 1:38 pm

    zack: I’m looking into your question too — but as far as I know, the 5/6 would return to regular route after the streets are deemed accessible again, which is likely based on the judgement of a transit supervisor.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, July 26, 2010 @ 2:33 pm

    zack: OK, your answer came in first! Here’s the full response I got from CMBC.

    After the fireworks end there are several factors which influence when bus operations return to normal in the West End. They are the size of the crowd (usually larger on a Saturday than Wednesday for the obvious reasons); weather; other events unrelated to fireworks.

    VPD has total control as to when the West End streets re-open and this decision is made by the their ‘Fireworks’ incident commander. For the most part, VPD and the city of Vancouver engineering (streets) have this entire process down to a fine science after 20 years of doing this.

    The fireworks commence at 10 pm, finish at 10:25, within moments the crowds start to leave the beach areas. If there are no outstanding events or issues in dealing with these crowds, the streets in the West End that transit uses are re-opened somewhere between 11:15 & 11:30pm.

    I’ve also amended the above post to reflect this answer.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, July 26, 2010 @ 5:34 pm

    Graham J: Here’s the answer to your liquor question from the Transit Police.

    The “zero-tolerance policy” refers to contraventions of British Columbia’s Liquor Control and Licensing Act, and offences against the federal Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. The Liquor Act allows police to seize liquor they reasonably believe will be consumed unlawfully, e.g. by minors, in public, etc., and this applies whether that liquor is in a private vehicle or aboard a SkyTrain.

    Here’s the full text of the Liquor Control and Licensing Act, in case you’re curious.

  • By Graham J., July 27, 2010 @ 2:50 pm

    Much appreciated, Jhenifer.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, July 27, 2010 @ 3:30 pm

    ???: Aha — a news release was put out about the fireworks transit service performance last Wednesday, and it mentions that lineups started dwindling at about 12:30 a.m., almost a half-hour before services closed. See the news release for more on performance.

  • By Graham J., July 27, 2010 @ 3:59 pm

    Jhenifer Pabillano:

    – The “seat-camping” item applies to the Expo & Millennium Lines too. In the post, it says there will be no inbound pickups on Stadium-Chinatown, Granville and Burrard, which effectively means you can’t get on downtown and travel to Waterfront using Expo/Millennium. As far as I know, it’s always been the policy for the fireworks that you can’t reserve seats that way — reaching back to firework notices in the July 2009 Buzzer, it reads “All SkyTrain passengers must leave the train at Waterfront Station—no reverse riding is allowed. Those arriving by SeaBus must also leave Waterfront, and can then access SkyTrain from Howe Street.”

    I get that, but was alarmed by the notion of being kicked-off a train bound for Waterfront at Yaletown – Roundhouse.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, July 28, 2010 @ 10:03 am

    Graham J: OK, answers from SkyTrain for the rest of your questions now!

    #1
    The reverse riding policy commences at the time we shut down the Granville and Burrard inbound platforms to passengers other than those destined to Waterfront for SeaBus or Canada Line (approximately 10pm). This is due to loading out of the Cirque Du Soleil crowds from the Concord Pacific Lands and the Lion King performance and the QE theatre ahead of the Fireworks crowd.

    If it weren’t for the need to load out these crowds we would normally allow reverse riding until we started to see the crowds returning from the fireworks about 1045. Once those crowds start coming we have to have strict controls on loading. No one gets to jump the queue by reverse riding. Last few years we have had people reverse riding all the way from Main St. which isn’t fair to the people who have been waiting in a lineup at WF, BU or GV.

    #2
    Alternate bus service would have to be looked up through our trip planner. However, it is generally a short walk to Waterfront from most stations, and faster than waiting in a long lineup once the crowds arrive.

    The answer to question 3 was basically the same as I suggested. So hopefully that covers everything!

Other Links to this Post

  1. The Buzzer blog » Bus reroutes for Pride Week, the fireworks, the Powell Street festival, and more! Sat July 31 – Mon Aug 2 — July 29, 2010 @ 4:40 pm

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