Downtown Vancouver’s Waterfront Station, the busiest public transit hub in Metro Vancouver, is gaining a new TransLink Customer Service Centre.
The Customer Service Center is in a location that is hard to miss — visible and accessible from the interior grand hall, just east of the Starbucks. It will officially open to the public on Friday, September 23.
The new center provides in-person support for all TransLink passengers, and it replaces both the existing, small Compass Customer Service Center at Stadium-Chinatown Station, and the previous West Coast Express Customer Service Office found at Waterfront Station.
With a total floor area of 6,171 sq ft, the new center is three times larger than the existing space at Stadium-Chinatown Station, allowing TransLink to provide in-person support to twice as many people. Unlike the existing center where overflow lines quickly spill outdoors onto the sidewalk, the new center at Waterfront Station has ample indoor waiting space, and overflow lines would be located more comfortably indoors within the grand hall.
The new center also has an expanded suite of services. In addition to being an in-person, drop-in center to purchase and activate Compass Cards, and pay fare infraction tickets and taxi savers, the new center can be used to receive support from customer service staff, get wayfinding advice through the touch- screen transit kiosk, and sign-up and get keys for TransLink’s bike lockers. The space is fully accessible for wheelchairs and other mobility devices.
“We need to be more available to our customers when and where they need assistance, and that’s why we are moving our Customer Service Center to Waterfront Station which is located at the intersection of every one of our transit modes,” said TransLink CEO Kevin Quinn. .
“Moving our customer service facility to this prime location opens new opportunities for us to elevate customer experiences, create more meaningful connections, and build ridership.”
TransLink has retained the space’s heritage character, including the original clock that was installed when Waterfront Station was first built in 1914 as the Pacific terminus of Canadian Pacific Railway’s transcontinental passenger services. The space has 24-ft-high ceilings, and dramatic views of the Canada Place cruise ship terminal and mountains. Graham Construction & Engineering was the contractor.
The new space cost about $1.5 million to outfit, but TransLink will be able to lease out Stadium-Chinatown Station’s Compass center for revenue-generating retail/restaurant uses.
This same space was historically used as a smoking room, a parcel room, a US Customs office, a baggage room, and most recently, a resource center for the provincial government’s Small Business BC department.
The new center will be manned by a total of 30 staff, including the West Coast Express Operations Center. The operating hours will be from 9 am to 5 pm on weekdays only.
While the existing street-level Compass Customer Service Center at Stadium-Chinatown Station will close, TransLink’s Lost Property Center inside the station on the concourse level will remain.
TransLink says the new and expanded facility at Waterfront Station is part of its comprehensive customer service strategy of improving amenities, features, and services for passengers. This includes the gradual introduction of public washrooms to busy transit hubs, more real-time information digital displays, more all-weather bus shelters, and a potential update of the Compass system and fare gates.
On an average weekday, 35,000 people use Waterfront Station, which is the only location on TransLink’s system which serves all modes of transit, including two SkyTrain lines, SeaBus, multiple bus routes, and West Coast Express. It is also frequented by tourists, making the new center a more accessible and convenient location for accessing and learning how to use the public transit system and Compass fares.