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Feb 14th


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The Olympic Line – Vancouver’s 2010 Streetcar

When planning a trip to Granville Island, it is necessary to develop a strategy for getting to and from this tourist hot-spot, as parking, walking and public transportation can all prove to be challenging endeavors.  On Saturday night I had plans to head out to G.I but for once did not have to develop an elaborate transportation plan, in fact, my mode of transport was really a no-brainer.

The Olympic Line Streetcar is free, it has a nice range of operating hours (6:30a.m-12:30a.m), and it is a direct trip from the Olympic Village station.  Sounds to good to be true? On the contrary.After trying out the latest addition to Vancouver’s transportation repertoire, I discovered that it was as great as it was made out to be.  I expected it to be crowded, have long line-ups and take a long time to get to the destination.  I was completely wrong.  On the way there we had to wait less than 5 minutes for a streetcar to arrive, on the way back, there was no wait at all.  It was Saturday evening, a time that I expected to be busy, but it was not even close to capacity, with plenty of seating available. The streetcar itself is a beauty: very modern, clean, spacious and comfortable; making for a very enjoyable 5 minute ride to Granville Island.

One thing that surprised me was the lack of corporate branding and sponsorship.  The outside of the car had some signage which advertised Bombardier’s commitment to sustainable transport options. The only logos that could be found at the station or on the train were Bombardier, the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.  The inside of the train had TV’s dropping down from the ceiling but only had a still shot saying “Welcome, Bienvenue”  If this project became a permanent fixture, I would suspect the typical advertising that is present on the Skytrain to take over the streetcar; but for now, as a pilot/test project, it seemed fitting that Bombardier would be promoting itself, and its great product.

The Bombardier Streetcar certainly lives up to the bill as a clean, sustainable public transit option; an option that I hope the City of Vancouver is able to permanently implement moving forward.

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