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

Alisa Gusakova was one of two Grade 12 Chilliwack students who received a $5,000 Horatio Alger Canadian Scholarship earlier this year. Now, a fundraiser has been created for the teen after her mother was killed. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Fundraiser launched for daughter of Chilliwack woman killed

Money raised will help Chilliwack teen attend UFV to earn business degree

Chilliwack Search and Rescue volunteers say that a call on April 17 on Vedder Mountain was affected by bikers who rode through the rescue site, throwing rocks onto members and the patient. (Chilliwack Search and Rescue image)
Chilliwack Search and Rescue team, and patient, sprayed with rocks and dirt during rescue

Volunteer crew speaks out after riders on Vedder Mountain show no courtesy at accident scene

Agassiz Fire Department has been called to an ATV rollover on Harrison East Forest Service Road on Sunday, April 18, 2021. (Google Maps)
Agassiz Fire called out to ATV rollover incident on Harrison FSR

Morning call follows exceptionally busy Saturday as temperatures soar in Fraser Valley

A Chilliwack Search and Rescue truck heads down Vedder Road towards Cultus Lake to assist a dirtbiker with a broken leg. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Emergency crews, SAR busy with three separate outdoor recreation incidents in Chilliwack area

Calls in 1 afternoon include ATV collision, parachuter who fell from tree, dirtbiker with broken leg

Chilliwack’s historic Royal Hotel is offering COVID-style wedding packages for two weeks in June. (Facebook/ Royal Hotel Chilliwack)
Chilliwack hotel offers pop-up, COVID-style weddings for 2 weeks this June

‘Weddings can still happen, albeit in a different fashion,’ says Laura Reid of Royal Hotel

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

File photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
One man dead after shooting in Downtown Vancouver

This is Vancouver’s fifth homicide of the year

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

(Black Press file photo).
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of April 18

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read