Gondola could be solution to SFU's transit troubles
Simon Fraser University may have a solution to its winter transit troubles: whisking students up Burnaby Mountain on a gondola.
More than half of the 22,000 people travelling to and from SFU's Burnaby campus get up the mountain by bus, but during the winter months service is notoriously unreliable. On average, bus service is cancelled or compromised for 12 days because of snow every year.
"It's very disruptive -- that snow tends to come at exam time. It's a huge disruption to the university," Gordon Harris, president of the SFU Community Trust, told CTV News.
It's a hassle both for students and for the growing number of people who choose to live on Burnaby Mountain. Three thousand people already call the area home, and two-thirds aren't connected to the university. In a decade, the population is predicted to balloon to 10,000.
Modelled on the Peak 2 Peak gondola between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, TransLink's proposed Burnaby Mountain urban gondola would connect to the Production Way-University SkyTrain station and bring people up or down the mountain in about six minutes.
Spokesman Ken Hardie said TransLink is now looking into the feasibility of the proposal.
"We've asked a company to come forward and do a business case, deliver a report to us by the end of next March, to basically tell us whether or not this thing would fly," Hardie said.
SFU students who spoke to CTV News on Wednesday said they're in support of the plan -- as long as it would save them time getting to class.
"Two days a week, I have class until 4:30, and then this place is completely crowded and there's not enough room for all of the students to get on the bus," English literature student Annika Krause said.
But if the plan gets the go-ahead, many current SFU students already will have graduated -- gondola service won't begin for another three or four years.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Brent Shearer