Skytrain 2 YVR!

First train carrying Premier Campbell and Mayor Robertson arrives from Airport at Waterfront Station
First train carrying Premier Campbell and Mayor Robertson arrives from Airport at Waterfront Station

UPDATED BELOW (August 18)

A train to the future left Waterfront station this morning just after 11am, taking guests of the Vancouver Board of Trade on a 26-minute ride to Vancouver’s spectacular airport in Richmond.

I’m completely sympathetic to the disruption suffered by long-standing Vancouver businesses along Cambie, but thrilled to see Vancouver embracing a 21st century transit infrastructure.

Compared with the New York subways I’m more familiar with, the ride was much more smooth and quiet, and the dramatic Skytrain Bridge crossing over the Fraser, complete with already-popular bike lanes, provides spectacular views of the river.

For more photos, go here.

UPDATE I (August 18)

One caveat: The cars and track are not interoperable with the rest of the system, requiring Translink to maintain two types of subway cars and track, with all of their different parts and mechanics and electronics etc.

This lack of interoperability, coupled with lingering concerns about the disruption to Cambie Street busineses, highlight the potential downsides of this kind of Private-Public-Partnership. A narrow focus on upfront savings can trump good policy, creating the potential for social disruption and potentially higher costs down the track …

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