The local Bombardier PR people sent out the notice today (see below) that fancy new streetcars are on their way to Vancouver for the Olympics month. That ought to be quite a switch from the historic number that was working the tracks until the Olympic village construction started.
The interesting part of this story really, though, is what will happen after the Olympics. The city is spending $4 million of the developer-fee money it got from the village and thereabouts to fix up that little bit of track between Granville Island and the village. The obvious next step would be to keep spending more money and extend the streetcar line through downtown Vancouver, as originally envisioned a few years back.
But TransLink has always been uber-tepid about the idea, no doubt seeing it as some goofy little vanity project that the Big Heads in Vancouver city hall thought up. Given the budget mess they’re in already, it’s hard to see them coming up with any money for this.
So what will the city do? Time for the creative thinkers at 12th and Cambie to find a solution.
Here’s the news release, btw.
Bombardier vehicles will provide free passenger service between the Olympic
and Paralympic Village and Granville Island, 7 days a week, 18 hours a day
Berlin, October 12, 2009 – Today, in a celebratory event hosted by the Brussels Transport
Company STIB (Société des Transports Intercommunaux de Bruxelles), two FLEXITY trams
marked their departure for Vancouver, Canada, where they will operate in a unique streetcar
demonstration project during the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
The 32-metre long vehicles will be transported to Bremerhaven, Germany, where they will
start their voyage across the high seas. Travelling through the Panama Canal, the award-winning
vehicles are scheduled to arrive in Vancouver in early December 2009.
Bombardier Transportation and the City of Vancouver are co-sponsors of the Olympic Line
project. This sponsorship is complementary to Bombardier’s role as an Official Supporter of
the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and designer/ manufacturer of the Olympic
The FLEXITY trams will provide free passenger service between the Olympic and
Paralympic Village and Granville Island, a key entertainment centre for the 2010 Winter
Games. From January 21 until March 21, 2010, Bombardier will operate the FLEXITY
vehicles 7 days a week, 18 hours a day, at 6 to 7 minutes headway on the 1.8-km Olympic
Line. This 60-day demonstration period will provide accessible, environmentally friendly and
sustainable transportation for over 500,000 Vancouver residents, visitors and athletes from
all over the world.