Tri-City riders say SkyTrain will likely change work, play & night life for them

After almost three decades of waiting, Tri-City residents will be able to get on the Evergreen Extension next week.

Hop on and test it out next weekend and, come Monday, Dec. 5, get ready for a whole new ballgame whether you're commuting to work or school, planning a fun night out in the city or enjoying a car-free adventure with the family.

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Here are just a few of the folks who are looking forward to tapping in to a Tri-City SkyTrain station and tapping out in Burnaby, Vancouver or even just further down the line right here at home.

FAMILY FUN

Mitch Williams
Mitch Williams' family, including his wife, Yuko Kawano and their two-year-old son, Masato, are keen to get to Whitecaps games, car-free, when the Evergreen Extension starts running.

Port Moody residents Mitch Williams and Yuko Kawano expect to be taking the Evergreen Extension to their jobs in Vancouver and at Brentwood, but what they're really looking forward to is leaving the car parked and home to enjoy less stressful — and less expensive — family outings in the city.

Their nearly two-year-old son, Masato, hasn't quite caught on to all the goings-on at Science World (a few steps from the Main Street station) but as avid soccer fans, the whole family will be jumping off one stop later, at Stadium-Chinatown, for Whitecaps games.

"With the bus, it wasn't really great because you couldn't take a stroller," Williams said, noting it was often too crowded in the front area to bring a buggy on board.

They usually drove to games but the cost of tickets, parking and gas put a damper on the celebrations.

"I might want to have a couple of beers when I'm there, so it's just easier," to take SkyTrain, Williams added.

Looking for more family fun that's close to SkyTrain stations?

In addition to the always popular Science World, you could take a stroll through Gastown (near Waterfront Station), visit Canada Place, Stanley Park, the West End or hop on the SeaBus to North Vancouver. Get off at the Burrard or Granville stations and walk over to Robson Square for outdoor ice skating and window shopping.

Transfer to the Canada Line and stroll through Yaletown (with easy access to the Aquabus to Granville Island), check out Queen Elizabeth Park (King Edward Station) or head all the way to the YVR airport for some outlet shopping or some international adventure.

BREEZY COMMUTING

Dixon Tam
Dixon Tam, a Burke Mountain resident, will be taking the new 191 bus route to the Evergreen Extension for a more predictable commute, and more time with his family.

If there's one word to describe Dixon Tam's commute, it's this: unpredictable.

The Burke Mountain resident works at the BC Liquor Distribution Branch in east Vancouver, near Broadway and Rupert streets, and says the ease — or nightmare — of the drive all depends on when he leaves the house.

Tam usually gets in the car at about 7 a.m., arriving at his office anywhere from 7:45 to 8:30 a.m.

"Some mornings, I'm really early and I have to stop and get coffee," he said. But if an accident snarls up traffic there's no telling when he'll get to the office.

And while the unknowns of commuter traffic can be extremely stressful, Tam takes it all in stride, saying throughout his career there's only been one job where he worked within 10 minutes of his home.

Tam figures he'll give the Evergreen Extension about a week to work out the kinks before he takes the leap to transit, and said he's particularly keen to get on the new 191 bus route, which will expand service up Burke Mountain when it starts running Dec. 19.

"I think the bus stop is within a block or two of my home… so that's going to be really convenient for me," he said.

That convenience means a bit of extra sleep and, most importantly, extra time at home with his wife and four-year-old son.

"I'll get some of that family time back," Tam said. "That makes a huge difference."

CITY LIVING

Coquitlam resident Monica Hayer moved to the 'burbs a few years ago and loves her neighbourhood but misses the ease of getting around on SkyTrain.

"It's been a big adjustment, not having transit that's easily accessible," she said.

That's set to change on Dec. 2, and Hayer is already making plans to use the Evergreen Extension to visit her parents, who live near the Joyce-Collingwood Station, and to get to meetings and other events for work.

"I'm looking forward to reconnecting with friends who still live in the city, and enjoying a night out with my sisters," Hayer said, without having to worry about a pricey cab ride home.

Evergreen opens up myriad options for enjoying a night out, whether it's a special date night, a chance to catch up with friends or an all-out celebratory night of drinks and dancing.

"Drinking's not an option if you're having to drive, so it'll be fun to have a night out without having to worry about it — as long as you catch the last train home," Hayer said.

If you're planning to use SkyTrain for a weekend night out, be sure to check www.translink.ca for detailed schedules and trip planning.

On weekend nights, Expo Line trains run about every eight to 10 minutes, with the last train leaving Waterfront at 1:16 a.m., while the Millennium Line's last departure from VCC-Clark is at 1:29 a.m. Revellers can expect to arrive back in the Tri-Cities by 2 a.m.

For those staying closer to home — perhaps for Tri-City residents looking forward to a craft beer or two on Port Moody's Brewer's Row — the last weekend trains leave Moody Centre Station at 1:46 a.m.

spayne@tricitynews.com
@spayneTC

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