There is a whimsical feeling about this city. The sun completely sets around 9:30pm, and the sun is literally up by 4:00am. That is only six and a half hours of darkness in Richmond, Vancouver compared to what—like 10 hours in SF? That's all it takes for a city to impress me really.
We rode the Skytrain early in the morning to meet up with Nat and Michelle(who has been oh-so kind to us throughout the trip, thanks for the free transit ticket!). I'll take this moment to talk a bit about my personal perspective of Canada's transit system, Skytrain in specific. I've taken Metro in China and HK at least a hundred times so that will be my comparison tool.
-Convenience stores on upper floor
-Elaborate transit card system(payment based on stops/distance)
-Mechanized exit/enter zones
-T.Vs in station and in train
-Frequent trains(2-3 mins)
-Extremely crowded(often cannot get on train)
-2 warning alarms for door closure
-Announcement system of sights/essential areas near station
-No driver required
-Supervisor at all times
-Shopping malls linked directly to
-Moderately sized stations
-Convenience stores(at certain stations)
-Honor system(buying tickets unnecessary to ride train, but heavily encouraged—not enforced)
-Free exit/enter zones(no blockage)
-No source of entertainment in/outside of train
-Frequent trains(approx. 90 seconds, though it usually ends up to be 3-4 mins per train)
-Little warning time for door closure
-No driver required
-Malls located near certain stations, but not directly connected to it
My overall thoughts about Skytrain:
Very elaborate and efficient transit system. It consistently brings you to where you need to go when you need to get there. The honor system for payment is questionable, but perhaps the people there are honorable enough to make it work. This may sound a bit strange, but I can’t help but feel that even through the less prominent hours of the day, the train comes extremely frequently. This results in many of the trains being rather empty which isn’t necessarily a problem—it’s just really odd to see. I guess I’m just use to the extremely compact China and San Francisco Metros.
On the topic of San Francisco Metro, I don’t think it’s fair to compare it to Skytrain considering the landscape and area difference SF and the Vancouver area. San Francisco Metro and Skytrain are two extremely different transit systems, there is a pathway built specifically for Skytrain while SF metro runs through the streets and shares it with the rest of the traffic. I’m not saying that I'm content with San Francisco’s metro system, it's just that it might not be the best idea to implement a Skytrain type metro system in SF.