TransLink remains optimistic about the West Coast Express, despite ridership numbers dropping 7.8 per cent over the past four years.
Average daily boardings on the service have dropped from 11,600 in 2012 to 10,700 in 2016.
“We were anticipating some near term reductions in demand with the Evergreen Extension providing new options,” said spokesperson Jill Drews.
TransLink has had issues with the West Coast Express in recent years. The passenger train, which runs along the same rail line as CP Rail freight trains, has suffered from multiple service interruptions this year. Speaking in January, TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond cast doubt on the future of the train.
“We probably have to dig in at some point with the railroad, mutually with other regional partners, about the future of West Coast Express in that corridor,” Desmond said. “Should other investments be considered to satisfy the needs of both moving people and moving freight?”
According to Drews, the West Coast Express is expected to hit capacity.
“Our long-term strategy estimates growing demand of 45% to over 100% due to increased population in the communities it serves,” she said.