Ridership on the West Coast Express has grown from 5,000 to 12,000 per day over the past 25 years. (Special to The News)

Ridership on the West Coast Express has grown from 5,000 to 12,000 per day over the past 25 years. (Special to The News)

West Coast Express has been running for 25 years

Commuter rail service marks silver anniversary this Sunday

Sunday, Nov. 1 marks the 25th anniversary of the startup of the West Coast Express.

In that quarter century, the commuter rail service has carried 45 million passengers. They travel a route that runs from Mission to Waterfront Station in Vancouver each weekday morning, with stops at eight stations in total, and back again each evening.

Passengers can read the paper or watch a show on their device, and not worry about snow or driving stress.

It started with 5,000 passengers per day on five trains. In 2019, that had grown by more than double to 12,000 daily passengers, or 2.7 million per year. Ridership is reliable, and customers are loyal, according to TransLink.

“It’s a popular service, and people rely on it,” said TransLink spokesperson Gabrielle Price. “It’s comfortable, rather than sitting in traffic.”

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, ridership has dropped off dramatically, and there are three daily trains rather than five, and just 2,000 daily customers.

READ ALSO: Riders slow in returning to West Coast Express

Whether customers return once there is a COVID-19 vaccine, and the economy is vibrant again, remains to be seen. TransLink has also begun a new RapidBus service from Maple Ridge to the Coquitlam Central Skytrain station. However, TransLink believes more transportation options will mean more riders, without services pulling from each other, said Price.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Masks now mandatory on public transit, ferries in B.C.

There has not been a lot of expansion of the service in 25 years. At Maple Ridge City Hall there has been a lot of discussion about the need for another train station at Albion. A site frequently proposed is the waterfront property that used to launch the Albion Ferry to Fort Langley.

However despite a persistent lobby from Maple Ridge citizens and local politicians, TransLink has not been convinced of the need.

“Extensive research and costing was done and it was determined that it was not practical or financially feasible to add that station,” said Price.

T

ransLink said five years ago that building a park-and-ride station there could cost more than a million dollars for a gain in ridership of only another 60 commuters. Adding to the initial cost is that the parking lot is on the wrong side of the tracks, and would require an overpass to allow pedestrians to cross to the north side.

TransLink plans to mark the West Coast Express’ birthday with social media posts.

“We want to celebrate our customers, and our employees who have been working on the West Coast Express.”

The commuter train runs on CP Rail tracks, under an agreement that contains confidentiality clauses, so the term of the agreement is not known to the public.

Price said the transportation authority has a long-term deal with CP, and theirs continues to be a positive relationship.

There are not plans to stop the West Coast Express, she said.

“We’ve had 45 million passengers. Of course, we want to continue to serve those people for another 25 years.”


 


ncorbett@mapleridgenews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CP RailMaple RidgePitt MeadowsTransLink

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ah, the good ol’ days of high school. It turns out in some ways, they never seem to end. (Now-Leader file photo)
SIMPSON: If pettiness of politics around Surrey feels familiar, there’s a good reason why

Name-calling, finger-pointing, bullying, threats – where have we seen all this before?

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum talks to media on in 2018 after council gave the green light to a controversial five-year budget. (File photo: Amy Reid)
LETTER: Surrey mayor is fooling with our bank books

Reader asks if residents will be able to pay McCallum’s new tax

White Rock and Surrey RCMP – along with police forces across the province – have launched their holiday CounterAttack campaigns. (Contributed graphic)
White Rock, Surrey RCMP CounterAttack campaigns underway

Enforcement ramps up to remove impaired drivers from cities’ roadways

Firefighters battle a house fire in Fleetwood on Dec. 2, 2020. (Photos: Shane MacKichan)
One man sent to hospital, two people arrested after Surrey fire

‘This was so frightening to see in person,’ witness posts after blaze at 160th Street and 89th Avenue

Janet Austin, the lieutenant-governor of British Columbia, not seen, swears in Premier John Horgan during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. Horgan says he will look to fill gaps in the federal government’s sick-pay benefits program aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. premier says province prepared to patch holes in new federal sick-pay benefits

Horgan said workers should not be denied pay when they are preventing COVID-19’s spread

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation at the legislature, Nov. 30, 2020. (B.C. government)
Hockey team brought COVID-19 back from Alberta, B.C. doctor says

Dr. Bonnie Henry pleads for out-of-province travel to stop

B.C. Premier John Horgan on a conference call with religious leaders from his B.C. legislature office, Nov. 18, 2020, informing them in-person church services are off until further notice. (B.C. government)
B.C. tourism relief coming soon, Premier John Horgan says

Industry leaders to report on their urgent needs next week

An RCMP cruiser looks on as a military search and rescue helicopter winds down near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
B.C. Mountie, suspect airlifted by Canadian Armed Forces from ravine after foot chase

Military aircraft were dispatched from Comox, B.C., say RCMP

Photo by Dale Klippenstein
Suspect tries to thwart police in Abbotsford with false 911 call about men with guns

Man twice sped away from officers and then tried to throw them off his trail

An 18-year old male southern resident killer whale, J34, is stranded near Sechelt in 2016. A postmortem examination suggests he died from trauma consistent with a vessel strike. (Photo supplied by Paul Cottrell, Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
“We can do better” — humans the leading cause of orca deaths: study

B.C. research reveals multitude of human and environmental threats affecting killer whales

A logo for Netflix on a remote control is seen in Portland, Ore.,Aug. 13, 2020. Experts in taxation and media say a plan announced Monday by the government will ultimately add to the cost of digital services and goods sold by foreign companies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jenny Kane
‘Netflix tax’ for digital media likely to raise prices for consumers, experts say

The government says Canadian companies already collect those taxes when they make digital sales

BIG SALMON ranch in Washington State. (Center for Whale Research handout)
Non-profit buys Chinook ranch in hopes of increasing feed for southern resident killer whales

The ranch, which borders both sides of Washington State’s Elwha River, is a hotspot for chinook salmon

Most Read