Can’t find a SkyTrain seat? TransLink says new trains are on the way

TransLink says 56 new train cars are now on order. Global News

Are you fed up with not getting a seat during the rush hours on SkyTrain?

Help is on the way, according to TransLink.

The transit authority said Wednesday that 56 new cars are now on order.

“We have to add capacity, we have the ability to add capacity,” said TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond.

READ MORE: Evergreen SkyTrain Line launched

“Canada Line is a little tricky, because the stations — candidly I can say this, I wasn’t here (when they were constructed) — were under-built. So it’s a little bit of a challenge, ultimately, how much we can get onto Canada Line but for the next 10 to 15 years just adding cars.”

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Dec. 2016: Latest transit upgrades could mean more SkyTrain cars

Click to play video: 'Latest transit upgrades could mean more SkyTrain cars' Latest transit upgrades could mean more SkyTrain cars
Latest transit upgrades could mean more SkyTrain cars – Dec 16, 2016

However, commuters will have to wait a little while for the new trains. Desmond said they won’t begin to come into operation at the end of next year.

“We’re hoping between end of next year and then into 2019 they will be in place; Canada Line, similarly, phase-one using some of the federal and provincial money to buy more cars.”

READ MORE: 28 new SkyTrain cars slated to arrive in late 2018

Desmond said some of the cars on the Expo Line are 30 years old.

Last fall, the TransLink Mayors’ Council unanimously approved phase-one of its 10-year vision for transit and transportation.

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That $2 billion plan is directed at increasing service and reducing overcrowding on transit, including a 20 per cent increase in rail service following delivery of new rail cars for the Expo Line, Millennium Line and Evergreen Extension, Canada Line and West Coast Express.

Meanwhile, Surrey mayor Linda Hepner says there will be “great progress” in the coming months for light rail in her city.

“To say that our time has come for a high quality rapid transit solution for south of the Fraser is a vast understatement,” says Hepner.

Despite all of the funding not being in place, she’s confident the B.C. government will come through.

“We’re almost there, ladies and gentlemen,” she told the Surrey Board of Trade.

“We’re ready, and I think you’re going to see great progress over the next few months. Not only with examples on the ground, but you’re going to see signage coming up around the city.”

Hepner says the light rail trains will run at street level, because a SkyTrain system just isn’t economically feasible.

“It would cost us somewhere in the neighborhood of about $950 to $960 Million more to put a SkyTrain [line] just down the Fraser Highway than it will be to do the light rail system.”
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Hepner says the last time Surrey’s had any investment in rapid transit was back in the 1990’s.

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