Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Airport passengers will pay extra SkyTrain fee

with 19 comments


I really do not think this is news. The idea of a premium fare to the airport was always there, as far as I recall. The only reason I posted this was to lambaste the CBC for their choice of headline and image. The discussion that follows this item on the CBC site is incredibly confused. And I think a lot of that has to do with the confusion in people’s minds – and the headline and image they chose (see right) really doesn’t help.

To be clear, the Canada Line trains (see below) are not SkyTrain. They are built by Rotem in Korea and use conventional electric motors not Linear Induction Motors. The cars are also wider and longer, and the two systems are not compatible. The elevated structures are similar as they use the same set of parts.

Canada Line Train

And also, just for the record, people who use the Canada Line between the terminal and other stations on the airport – for example the long term parking lots – will not pay a fare.

Written by Stephen Rees

April 11, 2008 at 12:45 pm

Posted in transit, Transportation

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19 Responses

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  1. It still never ceases to amaze me how newspapers still call the Canada Line by the wrong name. I guess they don’t know how to read press releases or something. Vancouverites are so used to SkyTrain that they don’t know the existence of any other form of rail transport it seems.

    It has no driver, it runs above ground at times, and it looks sort of like the trains on the Expo and Millennium Line. So people just think it’s SkyTrain. It’s not.

    Sorry, that’s my pet peeve for the day. It still bugs the heck out of me. It only takes less than a minute to read things carefully and understand the difference. But I’m sure everyone who reads this blog is well aware of the difference already.


    April 11, 2008 at 2:05 pm

  2. Henry

    You are right, but just adding my comment to the noise on their site is not as satisfying for some reason as writing on my own blog. And they do link to me.

    Stephen Rees

    April 11, 2008 at 2:17 pm

  3. I thought the aiprport improvement fee was paying for the construction of airport extension of the Canada Line. In other words, the financing was covered. Do they expect a sudden decrease in ariline passengers?


    April 11, 2008 at 3:06 pm

  4. IMHO, it is very likely that the Canada Line will be branded SkyTrain when it opens.


    April 11, 2008 at 3:33 pm

  5. Poor reporting. From the YVR Funding Agreement (January 24, 2005):

    “7.4 Airport Passenger Fare. In order to raise additional funding of up to $55 million (in 2003 dollars) for the Project, GVTA or RAVCO may require the Concessionaire to finance capital expenditures to be repaid with the proceeds of an additional fare (in excess of the regular zone fare) payable to GVTA by passengers traveling on the YVR Line (the “Airport Passenger Fare”).

    7.5 Use and Adjustment: GVTA expects that the Airport Passenger Fare will initially be set at $2 (in 2003 dollars adjusted for inflation using the Consumer Price Index or British Columbia) in addition to the regular adult peak fare then in effect (regardless of zone) and that it will be utilized and adjusted up or down from time to time … all in the expectation that in the period from Service Commencement to the Expiration Date GVTA will neither receive a financial gain nor suffer a financial loss as a result of the Airport Passenger Fare….”

    As I recall, this extra fare was widely reported at the time.


    April 11, 2008 at 3:50 pm

  6. Sugsu

    Thank you for confirming that. Is this resource on line?

    And the cars so far carry no SkyTrain branding. They will be operated by a separate company Canada Line Rapid Trasnit Inc. SkyTrain is operated by BC Rapid Transit Co

    Stephen Rees

    April 11, 2008 at 4:07 pm

  7. The Canada Line metro cars built by ROTEM of Korea.

    Most elevated transit systems are called SkyTrain or Air Train, etc., Bangkok’s Siemen’s elevated metro is called SkyTrain

    The media and politicians have never taken the time to inform themselves about transit mode, vehicles and alike, resulting in much misinformation and confusion.

    Automatic (driverless) operation is based on the degree of signalling one wants to spend and not used solely with SkyTrain. Automatic or driverless operation was all the vogue in the 70’s & 80’s, but now considered not cost effective until ridership exceeds about 20,000 persons per hour per direction. Calgary’s LRT, which has consistently carries more passengers than SkyTrain, yet it’s operation costs are much less.

    The first railway to be considered fully automatic (driverless), is London’s underground Post Office Railway, which opened in the 1930’s

    In the 1950’s British Rail experimented with driverless steam train, which still retained the stoker (fireman), but did away with the driver!

    I understand that the EU’s health and Safety regulations require that all public transit trains have an attendant on board, sealed the fate of minor automatic transit systems, such as France’s VAL system. VAL’s trains, though driverless, are required to have at least one attendant on board each train. London’s Dockland automatic (driverless) light railway has a ‘Train Captain’, on each train, who check platforms, talk to tourists and check fares.

    [Moderator’s note: some inaccurate information has been removed from this comment]

    Malcolm J.

    April 11, 2008 at 8:30 pm

  8. The Royal Mail railway closed on 30 May 2003

    DLR Train Captains also check tickets and drive trains for short periods on a regular basis to ensure familiarity with systems should the Alcatel system fail.

    Stephen Rees

    April 12, 2008 at 5:25 am

  9. What surprises me about the RAV/Canada line cars is how old fashioned they are, just high-floor metro cars.

    It’s one thing to wash ones hands over SkyTrain and go the conventional metro route, but to have an unconventional railway, then build with a conventional railway, only to go back to a unconventional mode for the Evergreen Line is just plain silly.

    A note on the DLR: As I can remember, there is no driver’s cab, but the driving operation is controlled at a console by one of the doors the door (first generation P-86 cars). SkyTrain can be operated in some what the same way, with consoles at the end of each car in a two car set.

    This link (hopefully) will show a front end of a DLR Train.

    [Moderator’s note: this post has been editted]

    Malcolm J.

    April 12, 2008 at 8:57 am

  10. Well, in any case, I don’t care if there is a small premium for taking the Canada Line to YVR. I will likely take the train to the airport once it’s open. I have to go out of town a few times a year and it’s not convenient to always find somebody to drive me to the airport. I just hope there is adequate space for luggage like a special luggage area.

    Stephen, glad to hear that CBC is linking to you.


    April 12, 2008 at 10:58 am

  11. an extra fee ? its more like a way to keep the great unwashed from( crimming ) yvr—-richmond and the airport are going to get many univited visitors from all over–from van -surrey–new west–from pan-handlers–to gypsies–to the strong arms–to the criminal oppertunists– for there are many awaiting the grand opening—- but the yvr authorities do not –I repeat do not want these people roaming the airport grounds! of course this security,will only add to the canada line operating budget signed………………………………………..the great wall of china

    grant g

    April 12, 2008 at 11:20 am

  12. Back to the ‘premium fare’ for customers wishing to go to the airport on RAV. It is my belief that Sea island will be considered a 3 zone fare from Vancouver and the premium fare will be additional to the $5.00 transit fare. The Rumour I hear, is that a $2.00 or $3.00 premium will be paid. This means a $14.00 to $16.00 will be paid for a round trip.

    I also hear a rumour that the taxi companies will charge a flat fare for Vancouver bound customers to Broadway and Granville, then a local fare to various hotels or destinations.

    This means it may be cheaper for a party of two or more to take a cab, rather than RAV, to the airport.

    Malcolm J.

    April 12, 2008 at 1:20 pm

  13. Reminds me of the special rail line loop for the Sydney Airport for the Olympics games. So few used it then and later, they they closed that loop forever.

    Bill Lee

    April 14, 2008 at 2:26 pm

  14. As it stands now, the Airporter Bus is I think $8.00 one way – plus they make you transfer on Granville Street @ the Chateau Granville. Ultimately, like any service, its utility to particular idnividuals will depend on whether it is going where you want to go.


    WRT “Skytrain”, the trademark is that of BC Rapid Transit Co. and is NOT a trademark of Bombardier. It has thus far only been associated with MKI and MKII Bombardier ALRT cars because those are the only ones run by BCRTC. BCRTC could license the trademark to CLCo and InTransitBC for use in assocaition with the Canada Line. If I recall correctly, the Concession Agreement provides that InTransitBC will adopt the “regional transit system identity” – whether that means “Skytrain” or “Translink” is not known. Translink will provide the form of system maps, etc. for the Canada Line. The Concession Agreement is available at the Canada Line website under the archived documents.

    It is yet to be seen whether the marketers will have the Canada LINE form a part of the Skytrain SYSTEM, along with the Expo LINE and Millennium LINE.

    Ron C.

    April 15, 2008 at 12:02 am

  15. LIkewise, if you go to Paris, you’ll find a variety of steel and rubber tired vehicles (as well as one automated line) all operating under the umbrella trademark of the “Metro”.

    Ron C.

    April 15, 2008 at 12:09 am

  16. Regarding the fare, even with an extra toonie or two tacked on to the airport extension, it’ll be only 1/3 – 1/4 of the cab fare to the airport for me. It does mean an extra 10 minute walk to the nearest station dragging my two allowed carry-ons, but it’s not as though I don’t need the exercise. And I’d feel slightly less guilty about the emissions during the one or two flights I take a year.


    April 15, 2008 at 11:44 am

  17. The last time I bought airline tickets I was asked by the on line system if I wanted to buy carbon offsets too.

    Stephen Rees

    April 15, 2008 at 11:53 am

  18. I believe most airlines offer offsets, but I’m a little leary of their effectiveness. The English band Coldplay bought offsets for something like 10,000 trees in a tropical country once, but they all died.

    Here’s a thought, offsets or cap & trade to finance public transit projects …………


    April 15, 2008 at 2:37 pm

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