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TransLink studying extended weekend SkyTrain hours

Last Updated Dec 14, 2017 at 6:35 pm PST

(Photo credit: Dustin Godfrey for NEWS 1130)
Summary

TransLink is studying how much it will cost to extend SkyTrain hours

Results of the study are expected in mid 2018, and there's no indication yet how late service could run

The DVBIA is hoping improvements are made sooner rather than later

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – After hinting last month it is feasible, TransLink will explore the possibility of extended SkyTrain service on Friday and Saturday nights.

While there’s no indication yet how late service could run, results of the study are expected in 2018. The person heading up the review says it should be ready by February, but adds no deadline has been set for a decision.

“I’m not willing to put a timeline on it,” explains Vivienne King, President of the BC Rapid Transit Company. “We really do need to understand our railway. You know, London Underground have ten lines. They only run five at night and it took them five years to stage it in.”

TransLink says it will look into how other systems around the world have managed the introduction of late-night service. It will also study how to ensure the system runs safely and reliably with extended hours, as well as the potential financial costs that come with it.

“And also, when it comes to security and that, we would want to consult with police and other security groups, as well as the taxi industry and other areas that contribute to integrated transport around the region,” King adds.

The transit authority says it decided to conduct the study in response to requests from the public, mayors, police, and other community stakeholders.

DVBIA hopes to see extension sooner rather than later

Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association President Charles Gauthier is one of the strongest voices in favour of having trains run later Friday and Saturday nights.

“It would make a big difference in terms of being able to get downtown customers back to their respective communities, as well as employees in the night-time economy,” he tells NEWS 1130. “Depending on I guess how late we can get it. I think a couple of hours on early Saturday morning and early Sunday morning would make a big difference in terms of being able to get downtown customers back to their respective communities as well as employees in the night time economy.”

And though no formal deadline has been set, Gauthier hopes changes can be made within a year.

“Encourage that night-time economy to grow. It’s a much different world now, especially among millennials and you know, the work hours and people don’t have regular 9-to-5 Monday to Friday work hours. They want to go and socialize afterwards and we’re just limiting those options.”

But what happens if riders have more time to get drunk in downtown nightclubs before heading home? Gauthier says that’s not a major problem, and believes keeping things the way they are also will come with a price.

“There’s always going to be some examples of individuals that are not going to behave properly. I think we need to deal with that aspect of it, but we’ll be able to have a much more thriving night-time economy… How it’s actually having a negative impact on the night-time economy and a decline in people going out or the ability not to get back home to their respective communities with the absence of taxi service.”