Canada Line opening day draws curious crowds

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      Today (August 17), Straight reporter Matthew Burrows rode the Canada Line on opening day. Here are some of his observations at various stops along the line:

      2:30 p.m.: Broadway–City Hall Station: The lineups are huge. The stations are yellow. The sidewalk concrete is grey. Mayor Gregor Robertson is already back on vacation. He interrupted it for this?

      2:32: City Hall is where I’ve chosen to start, but the line snakes right up the hill on Cambie, past the recent construction site, all the way to West 10th Avenue. Fuggedaboudit! I’ll never get on in time to avoid sunburn, so instead methinks I should see about taking some pictures. People young and old, rich and poor (but not so many fare dodgers today), and all have eyes bulging with curiosity.

      2:33: Run into long-time NPA park commissioner Christopher Richardson, who is there with son Matthew. We all agree we’ll never get on at City Hall, so we walk down the hill to the Olympic Village station.

      2:45: All three of us can’t believe our luck as we pass the police station to find Olympic Village Station empty. “It’s only a couple of blocks away [from City Hall Station],” Matthew Richardson notes as we walk in. Why so many up above and none here? Maybe people don’t know there’s a station here yet. The ones that do get easy access. (Canada Line opening day passports, strangely, do not include this station. They are being handed out to passengers all the way along.) Then we’re on the train. Already I spot a new bike-parking facility, which allows for a cyclist to bring a bike on the train without having to sit and hold it during the entire journey. No cyclists in sight here. Kids, tourists, students, police (in blue), and Canada Line operators (in green) all fill out the picture as we head into the new station entrance at False Creek.

      2:48: Before we can get there we run into Olympic activists Rider Cooey and Joseph Jones, who hand out leaflets denouncing the “Cuts of all unKinds” that come with the Olympics. “This is Your Only Free Ride,” the leaflet states.

      2:50: Yaletown-Roundhouse Station: I think we had “technical difficulties” at this point, and the three of us share a big laugh. We are held up for a minute or two only.

      3:00: Vancouver City Centre Station. After the lineups at City Hall, we dare not get off, so I don’t see the outside of this station. Some media presence.

      3:05: Waterfront Station: It is crazy outside, with lineups stretching all the way out into the concourse. I disembark and leave the two to ride the train back southbound. No way I’ll get back on now. Time to see the lineups. They snake all the way around the western end of The Station building, wind up the stairs, out the door, and around the plaza perimeter and all the way back out on to West Hastings Street. Un-bloody-believable.

      3:20: So much for the free service. I get on the 98 B-Line, where the driver soon has to declare the bus is full. At the Burrard SkyTrain station he calls in pass-ups from Waterfront Station “due to the fact people are waiting two and a half hours for a free ride on the new SkyTrain service”. The driver does not pass on his name for attribution purposes.



      Guy Montreal

      Aug 18, 2009 at 6:50am

      Nothing much to do except to ride the Skytrain? Come on Vancouver!

      Paula Johal

      Aug 19, 2009 at 12:15pm

      Volunteered at Bridgeport River Rock station all day. It was great to see all the happy faces, & great Entertainment by River Rock.

      But Sad Note - I lost my TILLY HAT, it was a mothers-day gift, Much Loved By Me. Pls if u found it, contact Katherine McCuen 604-953-3181., at Coast Mountain Bus, Senior Planner.

      I Love My Tilly!