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

Chris Veale, seen here at Brookswood Secondary School on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, has been coaching girls basketball for more than 20 years (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
Coach Chris Veale backs his players

When the gym closed, this dedicated basketball coach found another way

Tabor Village took to social media on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020 to share what it meant to them to have Langley Lodge staff visit and provide support. As of Tuesday (Dec. 1), the outbreak at Tabor had resulted in a total of 147 cases and 19 deaths since Nov. 4. (Tabor Village/Facebook)
Langley Lodge shows ‘solidarity’ by visiting staff of B.C.’s largest COVID-19 care-home outbreak

As of Tuesday, Abbotsford facility recorded 147 cases and 19 deaths since Nov. 4

Brian Lott, of the Rotary Club of Langley Central, emceed the prize draw on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)
Langley woman wins $73,615 in first ever Langley Rotary Mega Draw

After months of ticket sales, the draw was livestreamed from the Rotary Interpretive Centre Thursday

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver. (Black Press Media files)
‘No smoke, no fire’ defense says in conflict case that could kick three off Langley Township council

Lawyers argued there’s no evidence of any conflict or vote-for-money deal

Kanata Soranaka became a Belmont bulldog this school year, and has used technology and innovation to continue to bring music to students despite the COVID-19 pandemic. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)
Langley teacher finds new ways to keep the music playing during COVID

Kanata Soranaka and her music cart a common sight around Belmont Elementary

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

Cops converge in a Marshall Road parking lot on Thursday afternoon following a reported police incident. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Federal offender escapes, gets shot at and is taken back into custody in Abbotsford

Several branches of law enforcement find escapee a short distance from where he fled

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

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

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

Surrey Pretrial centre in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey Pretrial hit with human rights complaint over mattress

The inmate who lodged the complaint said he needed a second mattress to help him manage his arthritis

A coal-fired power plant seen through dense smog from the window of an electric bullet train south of Beijing, December 2016. China has continued to increase thermal coal production and power generation, adding to greenhouse gas emissions that are already the world’s largest. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
LNG featured at B.C. energy industry, climate change conference

Hydrogen, nuclear, carbon capture needed for Canada’s net-zero goal

Most Read