A study has concluded that an overhead gondola would be a cost-effective replacement to the existing bus service up Burnaby Mountain to Simon Fraser University. The study, conducted for the city’s TransLink service, found that running a 2.6-km aerial tramline from the nearest SkyTrain station up to the university campus would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve travel time and reliability for passengers (the buses are sometimes disrupted by rain and snow). The gondola service would cost slightly more to build and maintain than the existing bus service, but the report says the overall benefits outweigh the extra cost.
The transit company said it already has a full list of service-improvement priorities for 2012 but agreed the project has “considerable merit and … will be a candidate for inclusion in one of TransLink’s future strategic transportation plans.”
There are currently about 25,000 transit trips daily to and from SFU and the growing UniverCity community. Ridership is expected to double by as early as 2021, exceeding the capacity of the bus service.