Transport plays a huge part in major sporting events. Not only is there a need to get the vast numbers of spectators to and from venues, getting the Olympic workforce to and from their places of work and, more importantly for the city, the need to have some sense of ‘business as usual’ to allow residents and businesses to get on with their daily lives.
As with all events, like the Olympic Games, there can be major travel disruptions with different road conditions and parking restrictions but the organisers and transport authorities do everything they can to make travel for all as smooth as possible.
The City of Vancouver has done a lot of traffic management to ensure athletes, officials, media and normal everyday traffic can work together. The City has created an Olympic network with clearly marked Olympic Lanes to transport Olympic-accredited vehicles and public transit to help local residents, spectators, and the Games workforce to move efficiently and effectively. Any vehicle caught driving or parked in an Olympic lane will be fined $121 plus given 2 points on their driving licence.
To make the Olympic experience easier and more convenient for everyone, and a legacy from the Games, the City built the Canada Line, a train link from Vancouver International Airport, or now know locally as YVR, right downtown to the waterfront, with many stops on the way. It is quick and cheap, very cheap if you go free as I understand the City has said that use of the Line is free for the duration of the Games.
In Whistler, there are many buses available all day, every day. As the province did not have enough buses or bus drivers it has imported many from all over North America. Any any given day I can speak with bus drivers from the other side of Canada and also from the US. The drivers, new and old, have quickly adapted to the demands of the Olympics and greet us with a smile and a greeting. Thank you folks, you are doing a great job.
I am thankful for the frequency of the buses, particularly at 6am, when we don’t have to stand too long for a bus to arrive to take us the Athletes Village. Once inside the security check I take another internal shuttle bus to my designated work point.
The only downside to my Whistler travel, is the wee bus in Creekside, which goes up and down Gondola Way, which is a bit of a climb and very dark at night. The timings of this bus mystify me as I have stood waiting for it at all sorts of times and it doesn’t appear for ages, and I have given up and climbed the hill. There are many users of this bus and initially I was told that it would run on a loop about every 10-15 minutes. I am not sure what timetable it is on now (maybe every 30 mins) but it certainly isn’t regular or consistent. It’s a bit of a hit or miss actually.
I shouldn’t complain as my Olympic volunteer accreditation allows me to use BC Transit free of charge, and I thank the City of Vancouver, BC Transit and VANOC for providing this privilege. Also, those with tickets for Olympic events can also use the transit system throughout the day for free.