TransLink reveals UBC-Broadway subway is best option, to attract 320,000 daily riders

San Francisco Subway

The results of a TransLink study reveal that performance wise, a UBC-Broadway subway is the best option for the Broadway Corridor’s present and future transit needs. The underground extension of the existing SkyTrain Millennium Line from VCC-Clark Station to UBC along Broadway will attract 320,000 daily boardings by 2041. TransLink’s findings through its UBC Line Rapid Transit Alternatives Analysis comes a week after the City of Vancouver and UBC released a KPMG report that supports the implementation of a subway.

The transportation authority has not recommended bus solutions such as additional B-Line service or bus rapid transit given that these options will not meet the long-term capacity needs of the Broadway Corridor.

Based on the study’s initial findings, we can state that a full underground SkyTrain extension to UBC is the clear winner given that it provides the best investment return relative to the various light-rail transit (LRT) options, including one option that will bring LRT underground for a short length under Central Broadway (where it is busiest) as well as another combination option that would build both LRT and SkyTrain.

While LRT is the cheapest option, it offers just a small fraction of the new ridership a full underground SkyTrain line would bring to the corridor. The combination option (underground SkyTrain to Arbutus via Broadway, in addition to LRT from Main Street-Science World Station to UBC via the Arbutus railway corridor and then Broadway) is TransLink’s second preferred/best option and also the second most expensive.

On the other hand, for just $334-million more, the full underground SkyTrain to UBC option will attract nearly 20-percent more riders and shave 10-minutes in travel time from the combination option. See the info-graphics below on the three options being considered.

Clearly, the only real solution to the Broadway Corridor’s transit needs is an underground SkyTrain line to UBC. Click here to read Vancity Buzz’s Special Feature on why the UBC-Broadway subway needs to be the regional priority.

At the very earliest, although highly unlikely, a UBC-Broadway subway could open by 2021 should full planning and engineering begin immediately with construction beginning in 2016. Translink has not decided which of the three options to proceed with, however, the information it has provided through its report lead towards a clear answer: underground SkyTrain extension.

You can read Translink’s findings summary report here.


Written by Kenneth Chan, the Deputy Editor at Vancity Buzz. Follow Kenneth on Twitter at @kjmagine.

Featured image credit: San Francisco MUNI Central Subway


(Info-graphic source: Translink)


TOP/PREFERRED OPTION – RRT (SKYTRAIN) ALTERNATIVE: Mainly tunnelled extension of the Millennium Line SkyTrain from VCC-Clark to UBC via Great Northern Way, Broadway, West 10th Ave and University Blvd.

SECOND OPTION – COMBINATION ALTERNATIVE 1: Combination of RRT from VCC-Clark to Arbutus with the portion of the LRT2 route operating from Main Street-Science World to UBC.

THIRD OPTION – LRT ALTERNATIVE 1: At-grade LRT route from Commercial/Broadway to UBC via Broadway, University Blvd and West 10th Avenue.


(Image credit: City of Vancouver)

About the author

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Kenneth Chan is Vancity Buzz's Deputy Editor and Social Media Manager. He covers stories pertaining to local architecture, urban issues, business, retail, economic development, infrastructure, politics or anything that makes a difference in the lives of Vancouverites. Kenneth is also a Co-Founder of New Year's Eve Vancouver. Connect with him at kenneth[at]

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  • Casey

    Get er done!!!!

  • Rj Burger

    This means I can get to Kits beach faster. :)

  • Jhenifer Pabillano @ TransLink

    Hey Kenneth!
    Jhenifer here from TransLink—I just wanted to clarify a couple of
    points, to ensure the study findings are accurately interpreted! (I posted a similar post over at Civic Surrey so apologies if you’re reading this twice :)
    First, the study does not conclude that SkyTrain is the clear
    winner for Vancouver and Surrey. The study actually finds that the three
    options for Vancouver and the four options for Surrey could all meet
    the capacity and reliability needs of those areas over the next 30
    years. Obviously each of them has benefits and impacts, but all of them
    can provide high-quality service that meets the differing demands of
    each city.
    Second, I’d like to emphasize that TransLink’s role is not to
    advocate for one option over another, but to conduct the technical
    evaluation and consultation, then put them forward to the region. So
    again, we’re not saying that SkyTrain is the winner here, but putting
    forward a suite of choices that the region has to discuss and decide on
    together in the context of all other transportation priorities for the
    Also, all the documents can be found here:
    And they can also be found at the TransLink site:
    Hope this helps!

  • Mat

    Raise UBC tuition fee’s by $20/semester to help pay for it = ~$2 million a year. 

  • KenChanVCBuzz

    Thanks for the clarification Jhenifer! :)

  • CPJ

    So, based on Jhenifer’s comment, are you going clarify to Vancity Buzz readers the very first sentence of your piece: “TransLink has revealed a UBC-Broadway subway is the best option for the Broadway Corridor’s present and future transit needs”. 

  • SammyFurlong34

    This thing is like the size of the mountain, it’s so obvious the only and real logical option is the subway. Folks that don’t think so are delusional in their own little imaginary world.

  • SammyFurlong34

    Yeah I don’t think it needs any “correction.” Translink is clearly trying to be diplomatic here, even though its comparison research findings clearly lead to SkyTrain as defined as the best option bringing the most ridership, being the quickest to get around, and the best bang for our buck. It might not explicitly say SkyTrain is the best option, but the data and info they have provided definitely says that. Readers of that study link in the article can easily see which one is superior in their own eyes.

    Subway to UBC is quite possibly the most obvious and realistic option to go with.

  • Ryan

    I agree and there’s even a contrast and comparison table in this article above…… put some noggin’ power into it, most people should be able to lead to the logical conclusion SkyTrain is the clear winner!

  • Brad

     Sorry, but does it really take that much extra work to make sure your post is properly formatted?

  • Rogernairn

    Isn’t it “I’m sorry, but…”?

  • Jhenifer Pabillano @ TransLink

    Nope – but actually I copied and pasted the text, and it looked fine in the entry box! Then up it went and there you have it, and now it can’t be edited. A teachable moment for us all :)

  • spinnicer

    Road Pricing + Provincial contribution + Federal Contribution = new Skytrain.  Then I’ll be able to get from my house in Port Moody to UBC in no time, via Evergreen Line, Millennium Line, and Broadway Line.  Lets build this mofo.  

  • skyoneder

    Start building the new VCC-Clark to UBC line RRT now, the sooner the better!!!