When it comes to ‘no brainer’ public transit projects in Metro Vancouver, the long-proposed gondola cable car transit line between SkyTrain’s Production Way-University Station and Simon Fraser University’s (SFU) campus atop Burnaby Mountain fits the bill.
The improvements to reliability, capacity, and travel times to reach the university’s rapidly growing mountaintop campus — the solution to the problem-ridden buses — and the expected resulting ridership should make this an obvious priority project.
An April 2018 update of a 2011 feasibility study, commissioned by TransLink, indicates the project will now cost $197 million in 2020 dollars — up from the $114 million when first projected in detail in 2011. Its operating costs are estimated at just $4.1 million annually in 2020 dollars.
These costs are based on the preferred, direct, 2.7-km-long aerial ropeway route from the SkyTrain station to SFU’s new East Gateway hub.
The system would be designed with a capacity of 3,000 passengers per hour per direction (pphpd), with 33-passenger cabins leaving the stations in frequencies of less than a minute and taking six to seven minutes to complete the trip.
These large, heavy-duty cabins would be similar to those of Whistler Blackcomb’s Peak 2 Peak Gondola, and ropeway would be able to continue operations up to wind speeds of 70 km/hr.