Wednesday, 28 Feb 2024

New report concludes SkyTrain is the best transit option to get to UBC

SkyTrain is the best transportation option when it comes to getting people to and from the University of British Columbia (UBC).

That’s the conclusion of a new report presented to the mayor’s council Thursday morning.

The report takes into account current and future ridership, which is expected to skyrocket over the next several years.

Under the currently approved and funded Phase Two of TransLink’s 10-Year-Vision, the new Broadway Subway will only extend to Arbutus Street. That project is slated for completion in 2025.

However, not everyone on the council is on board.

“We have solid figures on [how] our riderships have increased over the last few years and we need to use that and leverage that as we go to both the federal and provincial government for new funding,” Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum said.

Other rapid transit options, such as a light-rail line from Science World to UBC would be at capacity within 15 years of being constructed, the report argues.

The report found that installing a pair of light-rail lines, one on Broadway and one on 41st Avenue, could meet future demand while actually raising ridership system-wide, but would require a much larger and costlier investment in infrastructure.

LISTEN: SkyTrain is the preferred transit method out to UBC

However, a Millennium line extension from Arbutus to UBC could likely handle forecasted ridership in the year 2030 and for more than 50 years beyond that.

“We have hundreds of thousands of folks a week going down this corridor already on very, very crowded B-line buses and so this is a benefit to the whole region,” Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart said.

According to the report, extending the line from Arbutus Street to UBC would cost between $3.3 billion and $3.8 billion.

But Port Coquitlam’s mayor points out not everyone across the region has UBC as their final destination.

“Look at the growth that’s happening in the Langleys and south of the Fraser [River], look at the growth that’s happening in Port Coquitlam,” Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West said.

“There are other areas that would kill to have the level of service that this particular area already has.”

West says he isn’t questioning the investment but mayor’s council chair Jonathan Cote says they still have a long way to go.

“Although we are starting to have the preliminary discussions about rail to UBC, that currently is not a funded project and we are still a lot of decision points away before we get to that point,” Cote said.

-with files from Simon Little

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