Province awards Broadway Subway contract as 99 remains busiest, most overcrowded route

The province has awarded a contract to extend the SkyTrain part of the way to UBC, Premier John Horgan announced earlier this month.

The Broadway Subway Project will provide rapid transit to much of the busy Broadway corridor, with construction set to begin this fall.

“When completed, the Broadway Subway will transform how people get around in Vancouver,” said Horgan in a September 3 press release. “It will mean faster travel to work and school, better access to local business and fewer cars on the road.”

The Broadway Subway will add 6 stations and 5.7 kilometres to the Millennium Line past its western terminus at VCC-Clark station. The new extension will connect with the Canada Line at an expanded Broadway-City Hall station and terminate at a newly built station at Arbutus and West Broadway.

TransLink has already switched trolley buses along the corridor to diesel or relocated them to accommodate bus rerouting during construction. Service for the extension is scheduled to begin in 2025.

The contract, valued at $1.73 billion of the project’s total $2.83 billion budget, was awarded to Broadway Subway Corporation to design, build and partially finance the project. The Broadway Subway Corporation is a joint venture between Acciona, a Spanish infrastructure firm, and Ghella, an Italian firm with tunnel-building experience.

The B-Line, busiest and most overcrowded

The 99 B-Line bus route provides high-frequency transit along the Broadway corridor between UBC and Commercial-Broadway SkyTrain station. However, the 99 B-Line has become a frequent site for pass-ups, when full buses are unable to take in passengers at bus stops.

Data from TransLink’s 2019 Transit Service Performance Review shows that the 99 B-Line is both by far the busiest bus by average weekday boardings and the most overcrowded bus by annual revenue hours.

“The 99 B-Line route on the Broadway Corridor is the busiest bus route in Canada and the United States, moving up to 56,000 people a day on articulated buses that run every 2–3 minutes in peak times,” TransLink representative Jill Drews said in a statement to The Ubyssey. “Even with buses running this frequently, it is also the region’s most overcrowded bus route.”

Translink is also exploring the possibility of connecting UBC to Metro Vancouver’s rapid transit network. Drews said that an extension of the Millennium Line all the way to UBC would better connect students, employees and residents who travel between UBC and other parts of Metro Vancouver.

SkyTrain to UBC is yet to be funded.