News / Vancouver

Huge ridership estimated for Broadway subway: Vancouver mayor

More people will hop on the $3-billion Broadway Subway on its first day of operation than drive across the $3.3-billion Port Mann Bridge, Mayor Gregor Robertson said in a speech to the Urban Land Institute Tuesday.

New numbers crunched by the city estimate 250,000 passengers will use the brain train, ideally bored underground all the way to the University of British Columbia, compared to the 180,000 daily trips across the Port Mann and 110,000 trips through the Massey Tunnel.

The subway, which the mayor is lobbying for and is one of the key pillars in his re-election strategy, would take 50,000 cars off the road, according to the city.

“We’ve got to make it happen. It’s the top priority for Vancouver,” Robertson said. “It doesn’t come cheap, but it will be a great investment.”

The city’s analysis argues the subway would save TransLink cash by taking 99 B-Line buses off the road. This would net TransLink $200-million over a period of 10 years.

The analysis is based off TransLink’s Broadway corridor study and trip diary data released last year.

“We’ve seen extraordinary demand on the Broadway corridor,” Robertson told reporters, adding 150,000 additional people are expected to move to the area over the next 30 years.

“The corridor really is choked with cars and will basically sacrifice our livability and our economic future if we don’t invest in that as fast as we can.”

Alas, the subway remains a glint in the mayor’s eye until Lower Mainland mayors decide which transit expansion takes priority. But Robertson said mayors want to build both Surrey LRT and the Broadway subway to serve the million people expected to move to the city in the coming decades.

“It’s not an either or. We need both Surrey and Vancouver rapid transit projects and we need better transit through the whole region by bus.”

The mayors are expected to release a report detailing their priorities later this month.

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