West Coast Express will expand capacity by 20 per cent, or 2,000 riders a day, TransLink announced Thursday as it rolled out the first of seven new passenger cars.
The seven cars, purchased at a cost of $28 million, will be delivered by the end of October and should be up and running by year’s end. It brings the WCE fleet to 44 cars.
“We’ve had some trains that are so full they are bursting at the seams,” said Doug Kelsey, CEO of the B.C. Rapid Transit Company.
Capacity will ramp up gradually, Kelsey said, as the original cars, now 15 years old, need to be refurbished and upgraded.
The new bi-level passenger cars include a number of “cappuccino cars” where a bathroom is removed and replaced with a small on-train coffee kiosk.
Other improvements include automatic doors between cars and more seating.
“The feedback around customer experience is that they didn’t want a lot of changes,” Kelsey said. “They really liked what they’ve got.”