Why is the Canada Line not free all week?
After high passenger numbers on opening day today (August 17), this will surely be the question people will ask TransLink and the provincial transportation ministry. Hindsight is 20-20, but there is still time for TransLink to bite the bullet, swallow the temporary loss of revenue, and extend free service until Friday.
In one of his half-hourly e-mail updates, TransLink spokesperson Drew Snider noted at 4:02 p.m. this afternoon that the Canada Line was awaiting a rush hour “surge”. Lineups were already huge at many of the new stations and on the spiffy north-south trains prior to the onset of the afternoon rush.
Canada Line traffic hit 30,000 passengers in three hours, Snider said, and this reporter was present just ahead of the rush-hour madness that was to come.
The line’s debut could be seen as a success, but the free service coincides with a sunny day, and the gross numbers of people waiting for a chance to see the trains up close suggests this should have been a free service that went on as long as the sun did—or at least as long as this week.
The Canada Line is free until 9 p.m. tonight. Regular, paid service starts tomorrow morning (August 18).
Photos by Matthew Burrows