The growing urban region of the City of Burnaby’s transportation system is maintained and refined by the City’s Official Community Plan. Their primary concerns include fostering an environmentally aware city, rich with economic opportunities.

To that end, the excellent SkyTrain rapid transit system, whose base of operations lies within Burnaby itself, unites the western and eastern spheres of the city. Through its 68.7 kilometers (or 42.7 miles) of track, the SkyTrain serves all of the Greater Vancouver area. The system employs fully-automated trains on grade-separated tracks. The hustle and bustle of the city is not interrupted but, rather, complemented by the elevated tracks over which the trains smoothly run. A day-trip by train across the City of Burnaby thus gives each passenger a breathtaking view of the skyline, while its placement above motor vehicle, pedestrian and other traffic helps ensure a high degree of reliable, on time arrivals. One of the SkyTrain’s several claims to fame is its exactitude.

This SkyTrain system also relies on the world’s longest cable-supported transit-only bridge, aptly named the Skybridge, which crosses the pristine and rushing waters of the Fraser River.

Additional noteworthy details about the SkyTrain include:

  • SkyTrain’s high-frequency, automated trains arrive every two to seven minutes at all stations during peak transit hours.
  • Standard hours of operation span 5:00 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. on weekdays. Hours are reduced on Millennium and Expo Lines.
  • For ease of access, a shared fare system binds the SkyTrain with various local transit services. Crossing one zone will cost an adult $2.75, while fares for two and three zones, respectively, are $4.00 and $5.50. Concession tickets are available at a discounted rate.
  • Sky Train Attendants (STAs) are skilled in the provisions of first aid, customer services and directions to citizens, immigrants and tourists alike. Though the SkyTrain system is nearly completely automated by this point, these men and women also, as one might expect, check fares and operate the trains manually if necessary. However, the STAs are also more than capable of keeping an eye out for and dealing with any faults or issues that might arise over the course of the trains’ operation, thus preserving the wellbeing and safety of all passengers.
  • The system’s three lines are dotted by 47 stations.
  • The Canada Line (see below).
  • The Millennium and Expo Lines fall under the purview of British Columbia Rapid Transit Company. Once called BC Transit, the regional government transportation agency of TransLink oversees the operation of these two rail lines.
  • The SkyTrain is policed by the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Police Service.
  • SkyTrain network passengers, on average, took 390,600 weekday trips during the third quarter of last year (2014).
  • Peak ridership occurred during the 2010 Winter Olympics

The Canada Line

The SkyTrain’s newest line, opened on August 17, 2009, connects the City of Richmond and Sea Island to Waterfront Station and every point in between. This line diverges into two distinct routes, one of which heads south to Richmond-Brighouse Station, while the other continues west to the YVR-Airport Station. Canada Line’s trains are fully automated and were built by Hyundai Rotem, a South Korean manufacturing, plant equipment and defense company. The design of these new cars differs from the Bombardier-built fleet which populates the other lines (see below), preferring conventional electric motors over the technology of linear induction.

The Expo Line

The City of Surrey’s King George Station, by way of the route originally created in 1890 by Westminster and Vancouver Tramway Company, is connected to the Waterfront Station in Vancouver by none other than the SkyTrain’s Expo Line. This modernized, interurban line refurbished this century-old route in 1985, when Expo 86 and its 20 stations were erected. Until 1989, the route ended at New Westminster Station. After that point in time, the line was extended to Columbia Station and, in 1990, upon the completion of the Skybridge, the Expo Line reached as far as Scott Road, across the Fraser River. Today, King George Station, located in Central Surrey, serves as the terminus of the line.

The Millennium Line

Sharing some of its tracks with aforementioned Expo Line, specifically those from Waterfront Station to Columbia Station in New Westminster, the Millennium Line ends at Vancouver Community College’s VCC-Clark Station, within Vancouver proper. The line, opened on January 6, 2006, reaches its terminus via East Vancouver and North Burnaby. In contrast to the Expo Line, British Columbia’s top architects designed the Millennium Line’s stations. A Governor General’s Medal in Architecture was awarded to the firm of Busby and Associates Architects for their stellar accomplishments in designing the Brentwood Town Centre Station in Burnaby. Thirteen of the Millennium Line’s stations are not shared with the Expo Line.

In 2016, the Evergreen Line is scheduled to open, shifting the terminus of the Millennium line to Lougheed Town Centre Station. Thereafter, the Evergreen Line will assume control of the rest of the route which terminates at VCC-Clark Station.

SFU Burnaby Resources