Big crowds are expected along the newly finished Canada Line today for the opening of the $2-billion rapid-transit project that connects Vancouver and Richmond with the airport.
The 19-kilometre Canada Line, which starts service three-and-a-half months ahead of schedule, allows passengers to travel from Vancouver to Richmond in 25 minutes.
It has the people-moving capacity of a 10-lane highway and makes Vancouver the only major city in the country with a rapid-transit link to its airport.
TransLink spokesman Ken Hardie called the new line an “amazing facility” and one that has been on the region’s rapid-transit wish list for years.
“We expect a lot of people to start using the Canada Line who haven’t used transit in the past,” Hardie said.
The line will carry 100,000 riders a day by next year, he added.
The official opening will take place at the airport at 10 a.m. The Canada Line opens to the public at 1 p.m. It will be free until 9 p.m.
Passengers are warned to expect lineups and asked to not bring bicycles on the train on opening day, although there will be bike valets today at Broadway, Marine Drive and Oakridge stations.
There will also be free entertainment, music and food at every station.
Jane Bird, president and CEO of Canada Line Rapid Transit Company, expects passengers will be impressed by the size of the trains, which are larger than SkyTrain and by the big, “airy” Canada Line stations.