Vancouver Winter Olympics Sets Public Transit Records
February 24, 2010
The gold medal for transit appears to be going to Metro Vancouver's public transportation system during the 2010 Winter Olympics, with record increases in ridership. Vancouver's TransLink agency reported on February 20 that an average of 1.6 million riders per day had used the various transit modes during the first week of the international competition. Preliminary figures suggest that bus loads were up 34% over normal to 975,000 passengers per day and the West Coast Express commuter rail carried 19,538 riders per day, up 78% from February 2009. The Expo/Millennium route on the SkyTrain, an elevated rapid transit system, increased 54% to 369,700 riders per day, including a single-day record of 488,000 on Sunday, February 14. It normally carries about 150,000 passengers on a Sunday. In addition, the SeaBus ferry service between Vancouver and the North Shore saw a doubling of ridership to an average of 48,000 passengers per day.
TransLink CEO Ian Jarvis said one goal of the public transportation effort was to reduce vehicle traffic in downtown Vancouver by 30% during the Winter Olympics, which close on February 28. Passengers with Olympic event tickets have unlimited access to the TransLink system on the day of each event. Jarvis cited the agency's use of effective communications to help keep the system responsive to the large crowds and shifting venues. The agency has had to add 48 extra train cars and a third ferry to meet the demand and has used every available train during peak times. See the TransLink press release.