New seating choices proposed for 203 SkyTrain cars in Metro Vancouver


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New York, NY, USA – March 15, 2016: Inside of subway wagon: Colorful seats and inside of empty car: The NYC Subway is one of the oldest and most extensive public transportation systems in the world. / Shutterstock

As anyone who has ever rode a SkyTrain in Metro Vancouver can attest to, space can get pretty little tight in the cars during rush hour.

What’s more, things that people wear or bring onto the cars, such as a backpacks, luggage or bicycles, can make things all the more cramped. As a result of the congestion, TransLink is adding 28 additional SkyTrain cars in early 2019, as well as another 28 cars by the end of the year. In addition, the transit authority will add 24 cars to the Canada Line by 2020.

TransLink has also announced that they are purchasing an additional 203 SkyTrain cars for the Expo and Millennium Lines, which will arrive in 2023–2024. The addition is part of TransLink’s 10-Year Vision – Phase 2 aims to add 100,000 new service hours on SkyTrain for riders.

With that in mind, TransLink wants to hear from riders before they purchase the new cars to get a sense of what layout they prefer. Open from January 14 until January 25, riders are able to take a SkyTrain Fleet Expansion Survey to have their say.

Vancouver Is Awesome spoke to Aliya Mohammed, Media Relations, TransLink, who explained why the transit authority is looking into switching up the design.

“We wanted to ask riders what would make their experience on transit better,” stated Mohammed. “It is the right thing to do, after all – they are the ones making daily commutes and we want to make that better for them.”

Potential Layout Improvements include: 

  • Perimeter (sideways) seating in response to requests from customers for more choice.
  • Flex areas to better serve customers with mobility devices, strollers, bicycles, and luggage.
  • Bike racks in flex areas for more convenient and comfortable storage.
  • Leaning rails for customers who cannot sit and stand easily.

One of the proposed ideas is the perimeter, or sideways, seating arrangement. As seen below, this design allows for more space in the middle, which will accommodate a greater influx of riders.

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perimeter layout / TransLink

In addition, flex areas allow customers with mobility devices, strollers, bicycles, and luggage to have more room.

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Flex space in current mark III cars / TransLink

Also, TransLink adds that, “bike racks in flex areasto make bike storage more convenient and comfortable, and leaning rails for customers who cannot sit and stand easily.”

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bike rack / TransLink
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leaning rail / TransLink

Here are some of the old layouts:

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Forward/Backward Seating Layout / TransLink
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SkyTrain Vancouver / Shutterstock

You can also engage with TransLink in-person at one of the following public information sessions:

  • Waterfront Station: January 15, 2:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
  • Lougheed Town Centre Station: January 16, 2:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
  • King George Station: January 17, 2:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
  • Metrotown Station: January 19, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

You may take the survey here.