Friday, February 20, 2009
Vancouver has an odd, remarkable, and convenient set of transportation options. They provide excellent transportation and are also fun even if you don't have any particular place to go. From a bus or boat or train you get perspectives on the city you might not get otherwise.
The SeaBus connects the City of North Vancouver to downtown Vancouver, and it is a passenger-only service. It is an extremely important part of the Translink public transportation system and is operated by Coast Mountain Bus Company. The SeaBus operates between the hours of 6:00 am and 1:00 am everyday.
From Monday to Saturday the ferries operate, with two-way ferries leaving at the exact same time from the termini on the opposite side. Crossing time is approximately 10-12 minutes each way and has a 3-5 minute turnaround. It operates on a 15 minute turn-around daily schedule and has about 50 crossings every day. In the evenings, and on Sundays, the service is changed to a longer turn-around schedule of 30 minutes with only one ferry going back and forth.
The SeaBus can operate on a shorter turnaround of 10-12 minutes, but the other users of the Burrard Inlet would be disturbed by the wake that would be brought on by higher engine speeds. In the entrance of the SeaBus you will find turnstiles that serve as a method of counting passengers. When the maximum number has reached its limit, the turnstiles will then lock and stop anymore passengers from boarding the SeaBus.
As for the third SeaBus, the Burrard Pacific Breeze is currently being built and should be on the water in fall 2009. When the Breeze initially goes into service, the other two SeaBuses, the Burrard Otter and Burrard Beaver, will take turns getting a full refit.
Between them, the Burrard Otter and the Burrard Beaver provided over 5.5 million rides in 2008. Having all three SeaBuses in operation will allow capacity between Lonsdale Quay and Waterfront Station to be increased by 800 customers per hour, in each direction.