TransLink gets $47 million

The provincial government will contribute $47 million to TransLink for more buses and expansion of the SkyTrain fleet. - FILE PHOTO  / THE LEADER
The provincial government will contribute $47 million to TransLink for more buses and expansion of the SkyTrain fleet.
— image credit: FILE PHOTO / THE LEADER

The province is kicking in a third of the cost of $150 million worth of new buses and SkyTrain cars for Metro Vancouver.

TransLink has been steadily buying new transit vehicles and its board last month approved the purchase of another 103 new buses and 14 SkyTrain cars. The additional 14 SkyTrain cars are to arrive by February 2010 and come in addition to 34 more already on order that will arrive in 2009 –

Transportation minister Kevin Falcon called the province’s $47-million contribution a first instalment on commitments made in January to pour $14 billion into transit province-wide in the coming years.

“This will help reduce the capacity issues we’re seeing and TransLink is seeing on the existing SkyTrain line,” Falcon said.

Combined with the new buses, the purchases will boost fleet capacity by about 10 per cent.

“This is the latest generation of clean hybrid technology which is very important for the atmosphere and very important for greenhouse gas reductions,” Falcon said, adding buses remain the “backbone” of the transit system.

The province wants to double transit ridership by 2020 as part of its strategy to cut greenhouse gas emissions by one third.

The bus purchases include:

- 72 standard diesel-electric hybrid buses to arrive by May 2010 to improve service in the South of Fraser area, for U-Pass riders and in the metropolitan core.

- 20 zero-emission articulated electric trolleys to arrive in mid-2009 for Vancouver’s Fraser Street.

- 11 articulated diesel-electric hybrid buses to add more spare capacity by the end of 2009.

TransLink board chair Dale Parker said the new vehicles will help TransLink carry 11,000 more passengers a day and cut vehicle emissions by allowing more people to take transit instead of drive.

TransLink plans to upgrade key SkyTrain stations so they can accept longer trains.

Plans are also in the works to reconfigure Broadway Station –

TransLink officials are considering a system where doors would open on both sides of a train

The new SkyTrain cars will all be Mark II cars. They’re the same as run on the Millennium Line and have 50 per cent more capacity than original Expo Line Mark I cars.

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