Riding Vancouver's Bombardier Flexity Streetcar

Post by Mike Klassen in ,

7 comments


A new high definition video that puts you in the streetcar operator's seat

Today was the grand opening of the Bombardier Flexity Streetcar "Olympic Line" between the entrance of Granville Island, along southwest False Creek to the Canada Line Olympic Village station. I just happened to be on Canada Line, so I decided to hop off and take the ride early this afternoon.

The resulting high definition video shows the view from the operator's booth, riding west to east. The last minute or so a streetcar employee standing beside me chatted to a colleague about work stuff – an unavoidable bit of ambient noise, but hey, it's public transit!

A ride both ways along the route can happen in roughly 20 minutes (which includes several minutes of loading/unloading time). The cars are splendid, as we revealed in our earlier "First Look" story & video about the vehicles. The ride lives up to the promise – it's swift, smooth and without question it's the future of local transit IF the City can figure out a way to finance it.

There have been other thoughtful posts about the Flexity system, such as this slideshow from PlanningPool.com which we highly recommend. PlanningPool are just one of several new links we've added to our Urban Issues and Local Interest subject areas on our CityCaucus.com Recommended Links page.

Have a look at our video, and make the time to go ride the streetcar yourself. It's only operational for 18 hours per day until March 21st.

7 Comments

I went on it and LOVED it!!! The City must try and find a way to fund the streetcar along with Translink! Great opportunity for the City.

I was down there tonight at 9:30 and I swear there was around 30 people riding the streetcar! I was amazed that so many would be out there on a Thursday night. And they weren't just train geeks, there was couples, seniors, businessmen, teens, and even a couple children.

Interestingly, City workers were counting the number of people riding. So get out there and ride this thing over and over! It's the only way we'll just a justification to build the rest of the proposed extensions!

Sure it's nice, but $8.5 million to get from Granville Street to Cambie Street??

This might be a fun novelty for tourists going from Science World to Granville Island (like the monorail in Seattle) but unlikely to be any part of a transit solution.

I disagree -- it is a major pain travelling from Granville Island to Main Street, and this represents a very pleasant alternative. New construction in South-east False Creek is going to increase the amount of traffic along this corridor. I think this streetcar is a timely investment, and hope (however naively) that we can maintain and even expand the service when the Olympics are complete.

Street cars are a great form of transport but given the debt load created by the Skytrain obsession I just don't see this as a feasible option, at least not if we want to retain the last shreds of financial responsibility.

Last night my teenage son had to walk home at night because the bus simply didn't show. I'm sorry to say it, but Translink needs to get its core service working properly before indulging in toys like this. The truth is no one with a choice travels by bus because they are slow, unreliable and uncomfortable. A Chev ad a few years ago showing buses as the nasty refuge of unhygenic losers caused a lot of controversy. Well maybe it was unfair but it contained enough truth to hurt.

Fix the foundations before choosing pretty wallpaper.

It shouldn't be considered as a toy, but as a reasonable alternative to private transport or expensive underground or exotic lightrain systems.
The 3000 and its 10m or 33ft longer big brother the 4000 can transport a lot of person through narrow citycenterstreets.
Living in Brussels, i use them now and then (being a cyclist most of the time) and indeed they run very smoothly especially compared to the oldones they replace).
Certainly they are expensive to buy (€ 2 mln a piece), but they last long and can help to reduce traffic in town (environmental profits and stuff like that …).

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