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Millennium Line Extension: A City Perspective

phase 2 illustrationFrom May 1999 until April 2000, the City of Vancouver undertook a technical study (including public consultation) to determine where Phase 2 of the Millennium Line should terminate in Vancouver. On April 4, 2000, City Council recommended that the Millennium Line should extend from the present terminus at VCC/Clark Drive Station (open in fall 2005) to Granville and Broadway.

Background Information: Learn about decisions made, find links to related websites, and view available documents.

Compare Options: Compare the rapid transit options considered between Commercial Drive and the University of British Columbia.

Phase 2 study: Executive Summary PDF icon (811 KB) or Full report PDF icon (5.2 MB)

The Phase 2 study consultants looked at three rapid transit technologies from Commercial Drive to UBC. They are: RapidBus, Light Rail Transit (LRT) and SkyTrain. All options:

  • are practical solutions for at least the next 15 years;
  • fulfill the transportation needs of the corridor;
  • and, improve how transit works and feels for the passenger with:
  • faster and more frequent service
  • more comfort
  • and, simpler ticketing

The big differences are in:

  • capacity over the long term (beyond 15 years);
  • cost;
  • and, how the street looks and works for all users, both during construction and after.


Proposed Options


rapid busRapidBus service allows more people to travel faster because the buses are larger, and they make fewer stops. Passengers buy their ticket before they get on the bus and board through all doors. A RapidBus does not travel at higher speeds. RapidBus on Broadway would feature:

  • Long electric trolleybuses (buses hinged in the middle to allow for more riders).
  • Diesel buses could also be used at a lower cost but with reduced environmental benefits.
  • Dedicated bus lanes between Commercial Drive and Arbutus during peak hours (peak period parking is already restricted).
  • Buses will be able to by-pass congestion at major intersections. #9 local Broadway bus would run between Boundary and Granville only. #10 UBC and #16 Arbutus local bus service west of Granville would continue.

rapid bus cost/ridership chart

rapid bus route and prposed stops


Light Rail Transit

light railLRT uses electrically-powered rail cars that operate singly or in trains. The system moves more people faster than buses because LRT cars are larger than buses and run on dedicated tracks separated from traffic. LRT in the Broadway corridor would extend from Commercial Drive to UBC and would feature:

  • Two-car trains during most hours of operation.
  • Converting two traffic lanes for LRT use on Broadway and on 10th Ave west of Alma.
  • Closely spaced stations between Main and Granville, eliminating local #9 Broadway bus service west of Main. #10 UBC and #16 Arbutus local bus service west of Granville would continue.

lrt cost/ridership chart

LRT route and proposed stops



skytrainMost Vancouver residents are familiar with SkyTrain. But SkyTrain west of VCC would be different from the system we have now. It would run underground, making the new westbound extension feel more like a subway, similar to the SkyTrain line running underground from Stadium Station to Waterfront Station.

The consultants studied four SkyTrain options, each featuring a link with RapidBus to UBC. The four options would extend as far west as Main, Cambie, Granville or Arbutus; SkyTrain is not being considered west of Arbutus. SkyTrain on Broadway would feature:

  • SkyTrain stations located at major intersections (Main, Oak, Cambie, Granville, Arbutus).
  • #9 local Broadway bus would run between Boundary and Granville only.
  • #10 UBC and #16 Arbutus local bus service west of Granville would continue.

skytrain cost/ridership chart

skytrain route and proposed stops


Comparison Table

rapid bus
skytrain + rapid bus
Can handle the number of riders projected for the next 15 years; after that, the system will need substantial changes. Can handle the number of riders projected for the next 20 years. SkyTrain has lots of capacity for at least the next 20 years; RapidBus capacity is more limited.
Lowest cost to build. Highest cost to build because of the need to go the full length of the corridor UBC. Overall, costs less to build than LRT but more than RapidBus.
Lowest operating cost. Highest operating cost. Operating cost between RapidBus and LRT.
Least expensive way to attract new riders. Most expensive way to attract new riders. Between RapidBus and LRT in cost to attract new riders.
Some impacts on traffic, parking and pedestrians along Broadway. Significant impacts on traffic (including cycling), parking and access to side streets and businesses. SkyTrain has least impact on existing traffic on Broadway; RapidBus will have some impacts.
Most likely to experience delays. Between RapidBus and SkyTrain in on-time performance. SkyTrain is most reliable; RapidBus will experience delays.
Least impact during construction. Highest impact during construction. Limited impact on traffic during tunnel construction.
Will mean little change to the look and feel of the corridor. Potential for significant improvements to the look and feel of the corridor. In a tunnel, so minimal change to the look and feel of the street; potential for changes around the SkyTrain stations.