Commuting to the Tri-Cities is about to get a whole lot easier with the Evergreen SkyTrain line set to finally open at noon on Friday.
TransLink’s Chris Bryan says they’re hopeful for a smooth launch to the $1.43-billion extension.
“You know, any time you start something new, there tend to be little bugs that need to be worked out, and I’m sure there might be a couple along the way in the coming days, but in general we’ve done our best to deliver a great system for the people of the Tri-Cities and beyond.”
There’s a big bash planned for Evergreen’s opening, with events at all six stations along the 11-kilometer track.
Bryan says they’ve done extensive testing in recent weeks, but asks the public to bear with them if there are any problems.
“We just ask any time any glitches happen or anything, we just ask for patience. But you know it’s important we deliver a good system for our customers, and we’re doing the best we can.”
The long-anticipated line linking Burnaby, Port Moody, and Coquitlam was put on hold in favour of the Canada Line in the run up to the 2010 Olympics.
Opening day was later pushed back again from a once-promised 2014 opening date.
Mixed blessing for local businesses
Meanwhile, many local businesses are gearing up for an anticipated boost as a result of the increased transportation ability between cities.
But the project hasn’t been good for everyone.
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Terry Stillman says he was forced to close the Tri-Cities only used bookstore this summer after construction drove customers away.
“When they started working on that line, business started dropping off on our street. By the time I got out of there in the end of July, it was a ghost town, there was hardly anyone on the sidewalk. So, couldn’t wait around for an increase in density of population to boost my business back up.”
He says he’s since reopened as “Stillman Books” in White Rock, but has had to rebuild his clientele from scratch.
Yellow Dog brewing Co-Owner Mike Coghill says they haven’t crunched any numbers, but have a feeling the train will boost business to Port Moody’s growing brewery district.
“It gives people a reason to come out here, we have four breweries along brewers row in Port Moody, so and now an ability to visit them all and still have a safe way home is a great adventure.”