When I was a young girl, way way back in 1986, my family visited Vancouver during Expo ’86. It was for this exhibition that the idea for the Skytrain was formed and implemented. And, I have to say, since that time the Skytrain has become the best transit system that I’ve experienced in Canada.
While Calgary’s transit system is 10-years behind that of other major cities, Vancouver’s Skytrain has many of the features you’d expect to see in a city transit line:
- you can use a swipe pass (employer passes and upass for students)
- pre-paid smartcards will be available to everyone by 2013
- it’s zoned with discounts during non-peak times
- you can pay for tickets using a credit or debit card
- the train runs to the airport
- their above platform timing system is accurate
- wait times for trains are short because trains run frequently
- there are rapid transit lines from distant communities
The coolest thing about the Skytrain: it’s driver-less; and, financially, the Skytrain generates a profit from it’s operations.
On the tourist front, the Skytrain draws tourists to Vancouver every year… it’s cheap, easy to use, and listed on many websites as one of the things to do while in the city.