There is an extraordinary video on YouTube with Vancouver television host Jack Webster taking an early ride on the SkyTrain from New Westminster to downtown in January 1986. The video has some funny angles~Mr. Webster whose Scottish brogue made him often undecipherable has to pay fifty cents for a senior’s fare on the bus, and does not have the change. He has to dismount the bus and walk across to the station, something he grouses about.
He is greeted by Michael O’Connor, who was the Chief Administrative Officer for the former “GVRD”, the Greater Vancouver Regional District (now Metro Vancouver) and later became head of B.C. Transit. Mr. O’Connor now heads up NaiKun, the project harnessing wind power off Haida Gwai. The “Mr. Hodgson” who is chairman of the GVRD board is actually the highly respected Stuart Hodgson who was the first Commissioner of the Northwest Territories and worked at bringing services to run at the community level in remote arctic towns.
It is interesting to listen to the diction people used thirty years ago, and of course what they talked about. The doors on the SkyTrain opened for only thirty seconds to exit/board customers when the train was not on schedule~if it was on schedule, customers could board with a more leisurely two-minute boarding time. And you learn there were customer care employees on the trains, and see real paper dollar bills being used for transit tickets in the machines.
Michael O’Connor discusses with Jack Webster the “rock throwing” on the tracks which was happening east of Nanaimo Street, and we are reminded of a more gentle definition of what vandalism and bad acts meant at that time. And when the group disembark the SkyTrain, they speak to a young couple with a baby from Bonanza Alberta~that gentleman today contributes to public service as Reeve Alvin Hubert of the county of Saddle Hills Alberta.
Take a look at the YouTube video below, and have a ride from New Westminster to downtown Vancouver in 1986.