Daily ridership on TransLink’s Canada Line is a few thousand riders short of its 2013 forecast ridership of 100,000 riders / day. TransLink spokesman, Ken Hardie, stated that the Olympics, ridership increases on buses feeding the Canada Line, and pent-up transit demand created by Richmond’s policy of increasing population density in its city centre are responsible for the ridership boom. Currently, TransLink is operating 14 of 20 available trains on the line and there are no plans to increase that number until August 2011. There are also no plans to shift trains from the Airport branch to the Richmond branch because the park-and-ride at Templeton station is attracting more transit riders. One adjustment that is being considered is “peak-of-peak” trains that would be run as needed to accommodate overloads or pass-ups. Financially, heavy ridership means the Canada Line could be breaking-even on its operating costs much sooner than planned.
Responding to this news report, TransLink issued a press release stating that, while the Canada Line experiences crowding at certain times, it has plenty of “capacity”. The release states that the line “easily handled” 200,000 riders / day with the existing 20 trains in service during the Olympics. It also lists several changes that could be made to reduce overcrowding but concludes by stating that major changes will not be made until ridership travel patterns have stabilised.
Ridership will be boosted further if proposed developments are approved. The Marine Gateway project adjacent to the Marine Drive Station predicts it would provide an additional 5,000 riders / day to the Canada Line, when fully built-out.