Trolleybuses in Vancouver

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Vancouver trolleybus network
Locale Metro Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Launched August 16, 1948
Owner TransLink
Operator BC Electric Railway (1948–1962)
BC Hydro Transit (1962–1973)
Vancouver Regional Transit System (1973–1978)
Urban Transit Authority (1978–1982)
BC Transit (1982–1999)
Coast Mountain Bus Company
(since 1999)
Electrification 600 V DC parallel overhead
Fleet New Flyer E40LF
New Flyer E40LFR
New Flyer E60LFR
Fleet size 262
Routes 13

The trolleybus network in Vancouver forms a significant part of TransLink's bus network. Running across 13 routes in Vancouver and Burnaby, the system is operated by Coast Mountain Bus Company and is the second-largest trolleybus fleet in North America with 262 buses across over 370 kilometres of wires. It is also the only trolleybus network in Canada following the closure of the Edmonton system in May 2009.


Portions of the present-day trolleybus network travel on corridors that were previously serviced by streetcars. The various growth and expansions of the trolleybus network over the decades reflect the changes and growth across Vancouver. Trolleybuses were introduced in Vancouver to replace portions of the streetcar network, which serviced the downtown core and along major north-south and east-west streets such as Hastings Street and Broadway. There was also a small streetcar network in North Vancouver that was replaced with motorbuses. In 1945, three years before the launch of the first trolleybus route, BC Electric Railway, the transit operator at the time, gave the public free rides for 10 days in December on a Twin Coach trolley loaned from Seattle.[1]

1940s: Rails to Rubber

BCER used a simple cream-coloured livery.

The first route, the Fraser–Cambie, launched on August 15, 1948, and ran from Fraser Street & Marine Drive to Cambie Street & W. 29th Avenue.[1] The fleet was made up of 30 CC&F/Brill T-44 coaches. This would be the first of many new trolley routes that would gradually replace the entire Vancouver streetcar network over the next few years. The reason BCER chose trolleybuses instead of diesel buses was that electricity was cheaper than diesel and trolleybuses run faster, smoother and quieter.[1] Trolleybuses could also reuse the overhead wires already in place from the streetcar network.

The transition from streetcar to trolleybus on most routes was under a plan that BCER called "Rails to Rubber".[2]

Additional routes introduced included the Granville route from Marpole to Kerrisdale in July 1949[1] followed by the Broadway East, Powell and Fourth routes. On October 16, 1948, the Robson and Davie routes were introduced, replacing a temporary bus service that was in place during the transition period between streetcars and trolleybuses.[1]

Trolleybus routes were initially introduced without route numbers. Bus routes in general were assigned numbers but they were not displayed on destination signs until the early 1950s. However, route numbers were assigned to trolleybuses.

Below is a table of streetcar routes followed by trolleybus routes in 1949 when the two systems coexisted.[3]

Streetcar route Routing
1 Fairview
  • Via Main, Hastings, Granville and Broadway
3 Main/7 Dunbar
  • From 50th & Main via Main, Hastings, Richards, Pacific, Granville, Broadway, Alma, Dunbar to 41st and return
4 Grandview
  • From 18th & Commercial via Findlay, 15th, Commercial, Venables, Clark, Hastings, Cambie, Robson, Richards, Hastings and return
9 Victoria/10 Stanley Park
  • From 54th & Victoria via Victoria, Kingsway, Main, Powell, Carrall, Cordova, Granville, Pender to Stanley Park and return
11 Joyce–Stanley Park
  • From Joyce Loop via Kingsway, Main, Powell, Carrall, Cordova, Granville, Pender, Georgia to Stanley Park and return
13 Hastings East–Exhibition Loop
  • From Dundas & Renfrew via Renfrew, Hastings, Granville, Robson, Richards, Hastings and return
14 Hastings East
  • From Boundary & Hastings via Hastings, Granville, Robson, Richards, Hastings and return
17 Oak Street
  • From Cambie & Hastings via Cambie, Robson, Cambie, Broadway, Oak to Marine and return
18 Nanaimo
  • From Hastings via Nanaimo to Broadway and return

Trolleybus routes were assigned route numbers but not displayed on buses.

Internal route number Trolleybus route Routing
31 Granville to Boulevard
  • From East Boulevard via 41st, Granville, Hastings, Howe, Davie, Granville, 41st to Boulevard
32 Granville to Marpole
  • From Marpole Loop via Marine, Granville, Hastings, Howe, Davie, Granville, Marine Drive to Marpole Loop
33 4th Avenue via 4th to Blanca
  • From Pender & Granville via Granville, 4th Avenue, Blanca to 10th. Return via 10th, Alma, 4th, Granville, Pacific, Seymour, Pender to Granville
34 4th Avenue via 10th to Blanca
  • From Pender & Granville via Granville, 4th Avenue, Alma, 10th to Blanca
  • Return via Blanca, 4th, Granville, Pacific, Seymour, Pender to Granville
35 Fraser–Davie
  • From Marine Drive & Fraser via Fraser, Kingsway, Main, Pender, Howe, Davie to Denman
  • Return via Denman, Robson, Seymour, Pender, Main, Kingsway, Fraser to Marine Drive
36 Broadway East–Robson
  • From Commercial & Broadway via Broadway, Main, Pender, Howe, Robson, Denman to Davie
  • Return via Davie, Seymour, Pender, Main, Broadway to Commercial
37 Cambie
  • From 29th & Cambie via Cambie, Robson, Granville to Hastings
  • Return via Hastings, Richards, Robson, Cambie to 29th
38 Powell
  • From Renfrew & Eton via Eton, Kaslo, McGill, Nanaimo, Dundas, Powell, Columbia, Pender, Homer, Hastings, Cambie to Pender and return

The fleet size at the end of the 1940s was 256 trolleybuses: 42 CC&F/Brill T-44 buses built in 1947, 40 CC&F/Brill T-44 buses built in 1948 and 174 CC&F/Brill T-48 buses built in 1949.

1950s: Expansions and extensions

In October 1950, the Kingsway and Victoria routes were introduced, replacing streetcar service.[1] During this decade, the Powell route also extended to Stanley Park from Cambie & Pender and the Cambie route was extended from 29th Avenue to 50th Avenue.[1] Additional routes introduced during this decade included the Dunbar, 41st Avenue, Oak, Arbutus and West Broadway route to Alma. The East Broadway was also extended to Renfrew.[1]

In October 1952, all bus routes in Vancouver transitioned to a new numbering scheme. This also resulted in route numbers being displayed on bus destination signs as well.[4] The new route numbers would remain unchanged for decades and some remain in use to this day. The new numbers for trolleybuses were as followed:

  • 2 Broadway East
  • 4 4th Avenue
  • 5 Robson
  • 6 Fraser
  • 7 Dunbar
  • 8 Davie
  • 9 Broadway Crosstown
  • 10 10th–Blanca
  • 11 Stanley Park
  • 12 Powell
  • 15 Cambie
  • 17 Oak
  • 18 Arbutus
  • 19 Kingsway
  • 20 Granville
  • 21 Victoria
  • 41 41st Avenue

By the time these new route numbers were introduced, only three streetcar routes remained and their numbers unchanged.[4] These routes were:

  • 1 Grandview
  • 3 Main
  • 14 Hastings East

The trolleybus and streetcar network in 1953 operated as such:[5]

Streetcar route Routing
1 Grandview
  • From 18th & Commercial via Findlay, 15th, Commercial, Venables, Clark, Hastings, Richards, Robson, Cambie, Hastings and return
14 Hastings East
  • From Kootenay Loop via Hastings, Granville, Robson, Richards and return via Hastings
Trolleybus route Routing
3 Main/5 Robson
  • 3 Main: From Denman & Davie via Davie, Seymour, Pender, Main to Marine Drive
  • 5 Robson: From Main & Marine via Main, Pender, Howe, Robson, Denman to Davie
4 4th Avenue
  • From 8th & Blanca via Blanca, 4th, Granville, Davie, Seymour, Hastings, Howe, Davie, Granville, 4th, Blanca to 8th Avenue
6 Fraser/8 Davie
  • 6 Fraser: From Denman & Davie via Denman, Robson, Seymour, Pender, Main, Broadway, Fraser to Marine Drive
  • 8 Davie: From Marine & Fraser via Fraser, Broadway, Kingsway, Main, Pender, Howe, Davie to Denman
7 Dunbar/17 Oak
  • 7 Dunbar: From Marpole Loop via Marine, Oak, Broadway, Cambie, Hastings, Granville, Broadway, Alma, Dunbar to 41st
  • 17 Oak: From 41st & Dunbar via Dunbar, Alma, broadway, Granville, Hastings, Cambie, Broadway, Oak, Marine to Marpole Loop
9 Broadway Crosstown
  • From Broadway & Alma via Broadway to Renfrew
  • Service east of Broadway & Renfrew serviced by motorbus route 36 Broadway Extension to the Dominion Bridge Plant
10 10th Avenue
  • From 8th & Blanca via Blanca, 10th, Alma, 4th, Granville, Davie, Seymour, Hastings, Howe, Davie, Granville, 4th, Alma, 10th, Blanca to 8th
11 Stanley Park/12 Powell
  • 11 Stanley Park: From Renfrew via McGill, Nanaimo, Dundas, Powell, Columbia, Pender, Georgia to Stanley Park
  • 12 Powell: From Stanley Park via Georgia, Pender, Columbia, Powell, Dundas, Naniamo, McGill to Renfrew
15 Cambie
  • From 49th & Cambie via Cambie, Robson, Granville, Hastings, Richards, Robson, Cambie to 49th
18 Arbutus
  • From 63rd & Granville via 63rd, Adera, 64th, Angus, West Boulevard, 51st, Arbutus, West Boulevard, Arbutus, Broadway, Granville, Davie, Richards, Pender, homer, Cordova, Richards, Davie, Granville and return
19 Kingsway
  • From Marpole Loop via Marine, Granville, Cordova, Main, Kingsway to Joyce
  • Return trips operate as 20 Granville
20 Granville
  • Trips coming off a 19 Kingsway: From Joyce & Kingsway via Kingsway, Main, Cordova, Granville, Marine to Marpole Loop
  • Trips coming off a 21 Victoria: From Victoria & 54th via Victoria, Kingsway, Main, Cordova, Granville, Marine to Marpole Loop
  • Return trips operate as 19 Kingsway or 21 Victoria
21 Victoria
  • From Marpole Loop via Marine, Granville, Cordova, Main, Kingsway, Victoria to 54th
  • Return trips operate as 20 Granville
  • Service south on Victoria & 54th service by motorbus route 46 Fraserview to Victoria & Harrison Drive
41 41st Avenue
  • From 41st & Crown via 41st to Victoria and return

In 1954, the 24 Nanaimo, which ran as a motorbus route during the transition period between streetcar and trolleybus, became a trolleybus route and the Victoria route was extended from Victoria & 54th Avenue to its current southern terminus at Harrison, replacing the motorbus route 46 Fraserview.[1]

The last streetcar route to be converted to trolleybus operations was the 14 Hastings East.[1] The last streetcar ran on April 21, 1955, and trolleybus service started in June. A ceremonial ride took place at the Pacific National Exhibition on April 24, 1955, onboard car no. 53 to mark the completion of the Rails to Rubber program.[2]

Meanwhile, some trolleybus networks in the United States began to enter a state of decline and many cities began to discontinue their systems.[1] BCER took advantage of this decline in the U.S. by purchasing used buses to quickly increase the trolleybus fleet size to meet new ridership demands that came with the expansion of the network. 25 Pullman 44-AS buses from Birmingham, Alabama, was purchased in 1956 from the Birmingham Transit System.[1] These buses required extensive bodywork modifications, the lowering of headlights, and an overhaul of motors and controls.[1] Other work included the removal of interior signs indicating segregated seating.[1] The 25 Pullmans entered service on March 8, 1957[1] and were quickly met with problems. The steel frames meant that they were twice as heavy as the existing Brills in the fleet and made them slow to accelerate and difficult to steer. They also broke down often and had poor braking.[1] These problematic buses were therefore limited to routes that were straight and had little to no hills such as the 41 41st Avenue and the 9 Broadway.[1]

The 34 Hastings Express was the only express trolleybus route in Canada.

On May 13, 1957, the Hastings Express was introduced. This resulted in the installation of a second set of wires along Hastings Street from Kootenay Loop to Main Street.[1] This marked the launch of the second express trolley route in North America.[1] A fifth set was added in front of the Pacific National Exhibition on the curbside westbound lane to allow space for layovers during special events. This configuration, used until 1991, made Vancouver have the most trolley wires on one street in North America.[1] The configuration after 1991 reverted back to four wires: two in each direction.

BCER made the final procurement of new Brill trolleys in this decade with an order of 55 CC&F/Brill T-48As in 1951 and 16 CC&F/Brill T-48As in 1954. These would also be the last new trolleys purchased until the 1970s as used trolleys from former systems across Canada would be purchased for the next decade.

1960s: Transition to BC Hydro

The first version of the BC Hydro livery was the BC Hydro logo on a cream-coloured background.

Across Canada, as many as 16 trolleybus systems closed.[1] One of the last expansions of the trolleybus network until the 1980s occurred in 1960 when the wires on 41st Avenue were extended east from Victoria & 41st to the new Joyce Loop at Kingsway & Joyce.[1] On August 1, 1961, the British Columbia government took over BCER and established the BC Hydro and Power Authority to oversee provincial electricity supplying and the transit service in Vancouver and Victoria.[1] Its transit division was known simply as BC Hydro Transit and this introduced a new paint scheme on buses, replacing the beige-coloured buses with a white livery with blue and green stripes.

In 1962, BC Hydro began considering retiring the trolleybuses and announced plans of potentially phasing out the service due to the expensive cost of maintaining overhead wires and replacing the network with diesel buses.[1]

During this decade, the first of the original T-44 Brills from 1947 retired.[1] 10 units were sold to Edmonton and the remainder were used for parts to maintain the remaining Brill fleet.[1] The problematic Pullman trolleys were also sold for scrap in 1960.[1]

In 1968, the 10 Tenth/14 Hastings discontinued trolleybuses and all trips were revised to use diesel buses instead to provide a consistent through-service to the University of British Columbia, which did not have trolley wires.[1] Despite the retirement of buses during this decade, Vancouver's fleet numbered at just below 300 and was still the largest in Canada.[1]

The second version of the BC Hydro livery was blue and green stripes on a white background.

1970s: Resurgence of ridership

The establishment of the Bureau of Transit Service resulted in a new orange and brown livery in 1973.

With the global fuel crisis created by the shortage of oil and gasoline, transit ridership increased worldwide. The growing awareness and concern for the environment also gave trolleybuses a new renewal in life in some cities. In Vancouver, an increase in ridership results across the transit network. However, despite increasing ridership and a concern for the environment, Vancouver by 1975 was only one of four cities in Canada to still have a trolleybus network.[1] BC Hydro during this time procured used trolleybuses from across Canada that were getting rid of their networks. This resulted in the procurement of two T-48s from Winnipeg in 1970 and 17 T-48As from Saskatoon in late 1973 and early 1974.[1]

In February 1970, the first trolleybus extension in over a decade is made with the 15 Cambie route extending from 50th Avenue to 64th Avenue.[1]

An experimental Bureau of Transit Service livery.

The Bureau of Transit Services was established in 1973 and with it came new livery. A new orange and brown livery scheme replaced BC Hydro's green and blue livery.

In 1974, the Granville Mall opened, introducing a dedicated transit-only corridor in the downtown core.[1] Most routes running along Granville Mall were trolleybuses. In the same year, a Hess articulated trolleybus from Berne, Switzerland, arrived in Vancouver for a trial.[1] Fitted with a small gasoline engine, it could provide backup power for when the bus had to navigate streets without wires due to road disruptions. There were plans to purchase this bus for the Vancouver fleet. However, these plans were shelved in 1975 after a provincial election.[1]

Diesel buses were introduced on the 41 route in August 1975 to extend service to UBC.[1] This would begin a mixed operation of diesel buses and trolleybuses on the 41 route that would eventually transition to a full diesel operation several decades later in the 2000s. There were also plans at this time for a trolleybus network expansion to UBC for the 10 and 14 routes, but these plans were eventually delayed due to funding and technical issues,[1] despite being proposed again in 1980.[6]

The 50 Flyer E800 trolleybuses made use of old propulsion systems from Brills fitted onto new bus bodies.

The trolleybus fleet by the mid-1970s began to show signs of ageing. The fleet was comprised of Brill trolleys that averaged 20 years old and there were no manufacturers in North American producing trolleybuses. However, across the country in Toronto, the Toronto Transit Commission began a $1-million experiment that involved purchasing shells of new Flyer Industries buses from Winnipeg, Manitoba, and fitting them with propulsion systems from old Brills.[1] The experiment was a success and the TTC replaced its entire fleet of trolleybuses using this method.[1] This was replicated by the Hamilton Street Railway for its trolley fleet.[1] Flyer also began offering this option of trolleybuses using rebuilt propulsion systems for sale.

An order of the Flyer E800 buses was placed, with the first two units arriving in December 1975. The propulsion systems came from Brills that were retiring and from second-hand Brills purchased from Kitchener and Calgary. In total, 50 of these E800 trolleybuses with rebuilt propulsion systems were ordered. Unit 2602 went on an inaugural launch trip with transit officials on board on December 31, 1975,[1] and the remaining E800s arrived in spring of 1976.

The establishment of the Greater Vancouver Transit System in 1977 introduced another new livery.

The last of the original, 35-foot T-44 Brils were retired by the end of 1976.[1] By the end of their careers, the T-44s ran almost exclusively on the Nanaimo–Powell–Stanley Park and the 41st Avenue routes. Unit 2082 made a final trip on August 4, 1976.

In 1977, another new livery is introduced with orange and brown stripes replacing orange and yellow and BC Hydro Transit officially became the Greater Vancouver Transit System.[1] In 1978, another review was done on whether the trolleybus network was still worth a future investment and after several months, it was decided that the trolleybus system would remain.[1]

1980s: Growth and change

In 1980, the Urban Transit Authority took over transit operations, with Metro Transit Operating Company assuming control of daily operations.[1]

One of the first tasks of the new authority was to address the need of replacing the ageing Brill trolleys. It was also during this time that plans for expanding the trolleybus network were also drawn up. In November 1980, three trolley routes were to be extended as part of a $125.7 million transit improvement package.[6] These changes would include extending wires to UBC from Blanca Loop along University Boulevard, extending wires from Boundary Loop to Brentwood Mall for the 9 Broadway route and from Joyce Loop to Burnaby at Kingsway & Nelson for the 8 Davie, 19 Kingsway and 41 Forty-First routes. However, these plans would later be shelved and the extension east of Joyce to Metrotown would not happen for another few years.

2257 was the last Brill in revenue service, seen here at Marpole Loop on March 25, 1984.

In 1981, it was decided that the trolleybus extension to Burnaby would be suspended until the completion of SkyTrain as it would not be economical to string temporary wires to a temporary loop until the completion of the Metrotown bus loop.[7] In 1985, the City of Burnaby endorsed the extension of trolleybus service along Kingsway to Metrotown and provided additional funding for various wiring infrastructure that would minimize the use of overhead wires strung across Kingsway.[8]

Flyer Industries supplied 245 new trolleybuses in the early 1980s.

In 1982, a contract for 245 trolleybuses was awarded to Flyer Industries. These new coaches would be fitted with Westinghouse "chopper" controls with onboard auxiliary battery power for limited off-wire operations. The E901A/E902 trolleys featured double-stream front and rear doors with a seating capacity of 38 and room for a total of 80 passengers. They were equipped with electronic controls and included energy-saving, regenerative braking and chopper controls that produced 155hp of propulsion.[1] The first of the new trolleys arrived in 1982 painted in the orange white livery of the Urban Transit Authority and were later repainted when UTA was renamed BC Transit in 1982.

The recession of 1982 resulted in a decline in ridership and in March 1983, the service change introduced new route pairings and reduced frequencies on many routes.[9][1] One of these changes was the return of trolleybuses on the 14 Hastings route during daytime and peak hours and the discontinuation of trolleybus service on the 34 Hastings Express, which reverted to a diesel service. This ended the only express trolleybus service in Canada,[1] but trolleybuses would return on the Hastings Express in the late 1980s.

The decline in ridership also resulted in the Flyer E800 trolleybuses being retired, despite being less than eight years old.[1] The unreliability of these trolleybuses due to the use of recycled Brill propulsion components contributed significantly to the expedited retirement of these buses.

By 1984, most of the Brills in the fleet was retired. Some had travelled over a million miles[1] and on January 14, 1984, a ceremonial final short run was made for the longest-serving Brill in the fleet.

However, the winter of 1984 resulted in many of the new Flyer trolleybuses breaking down due to the cold temperatures. This resulted in a handful of brills returning to service briefly until the electronic problems were resolved.[1]

The Urban Transit Authority's livery was short-lived on the Flyer E901A/E902 trolleys.

During the planning of bus services in 1984–1985 for a post-SkyTrain network, plans were drawn up for the extension of the trolleybus network to service new stations at Nanaimo, 29th Avenue, Joyce and Metrotown. The extension to Metrotown would be the first trolleybus extension beyond the city boundaries of Vancouver and would also mark the longest extension of the network since the extension of the wires on Cambie Street to 64th Avenue.[1]

After several months of a transition period between the bus network and the new SkyTrain, bus changes went into effect on March 7, 1986. Among these changes were the new Metrotown extension, the shortening of the 16 Renfrew from Kingsway & Slocan to 29th Avenue Station, shortening of the 24 Nanaimo from Kingsway & Earles to Nanaimo Station and the extension of the 41 Forty-First from Joyce Loop to Joyce Station. Other changes included the amalgamation of trolleybus route numbers. Prior to these changes, many trolleybus routes had two route numbers for each direction of travel. Below is a table of the amalgamated trolleybus route numbers as part of the March 1986 service change:[10]

Before March 7, 1986 After March 7, 1986
3 Main/5 Robson 3 Main/Robson
4 Fourth/24 Nanaimo 4 Blanca/Nanaimo Station
6 Davie/8 Fraser 8 Davie/Fraser
11 Stanley Park/19 Kingsway 19 Stanley Park/Metrotown Station
7 Dunbar/12 Powell 7 Dunbar/Powell

The remaining trolleybus routes with two route numbers changed in September 1988:[11]

Before September 5, 1988 After September 5, 1988
14 Hastings/18 Arbutus 14 Hastings/Arbutus
20 Granville/21 Victoria 20 Granville/Victoria

During Expo 86, anticipated increases in demand saw a brief return of a small number of the Flyer E800 coaches.[1] A temporary trolleybus route was also introduced specifically for Expo 86, the 13 Cambie. The 13 Cambie supplemented the 15 by running between the Expo grounds to Cambie & 49th.[1]

2776 at the former Chilco Loop at Stanley Park. The extension of the 19 to Metrotown Station marked the first trolleybus network extension beyond Vancouver.

With a surplus of trolleybuses due to service adjustments following the completion of the SkyTrain, plans for a trolleybus extension to UBC were drawn up again in 1987. The UBC extension opened on September 5, 1988, which saw the 4 and 10 extending from Blanca Loop to UBC.[1] This also resulted in the return of trolleybuses on the 10 Hastings Express. In September 1989, the 9 was also extended to UBC during peak hours.[1]

To meet the increase in ridership demand in the suburbs, the remaining retired E800s that were not scrapped were given a new life as diesel buses. The conversion from trolleybus to diesel was complete in 1989.[1]

Various network and route realignments near the end of the 20th century saw the discontinuation of many well-established trolleybus route numbers, such as the 24.

1990s: Further changes and splits

The 1990s brought additional challenges to the trolleybus network. Increasing traffic congestion in the downtown core, especially in the West End, created problems that cascaded across the network. Various trolleybus routes that went through the downtown core often had to run with diesel buses because of constant detours in response to changing road conditions as a result of increased congestion.[1] Routes that were impacted the most were the 3 Main/Robson and the 8 Davie/Fraser that went through the West End.

In 1993, the most significant change to the trolleybus network as a result of increasing traffic congestion occurred. The 19 Stanley Park/Metrotown Station was broken up into two routes: one between downtown and Stanley Park and one between downtown and Metrotown Station. Because of heavy traffic and a safety concern regarding trolleys turning off W. Georgia Street and into Chilco Loop at Stanley Park, it was decided that trolleybuses would only run from Metrotown Station to downtown and diesel buses would take over for the leg between Stanley Park and downtown. On weekends and holidays, diesel buses would run the entire Metrotown Station and Stanley Park route.[1][12] This would later change again in April 1997 when service to Stanley Park on the 19 is discontinued.[13] Trolleybus service would not return to Stanley Park until 2003. There were plans to string new wires to reroute the 19 along a different route through Stanley Park to Chilco Loop, but the limited clearance of an underpass made this unfeasible.[1]

It was also during this decade that two other trolleybus systems would be terminated in Canada: Toronto and Hamilton. This left the Vancouver and Edmonton systems to be the only remaining Canadian trolleybus systems.[1]

Further changes to the trolleybus network came in September 1997. The 14 Hastings/Arbutus route and the 10 Hastings Express/UBC, both long-established trolleybus routes, were broken up. The two routes were combined to form the 10 Hastings/UBC, with the 16 29th Avenue/Downtown extending to 63rd & Granville to replace the Arbutus leg of the 14.[14] Other changes saw the breaking up of the 3 Main/Robson and the 8 Davie/Fraser to form the 3 Main/Downtown, 5 Robson/Downtown, 6 Davie/Downtown and the 8 Fraser/Granville, which reintroduced the 5 and 6 trolleybus route numbers. This change also saw the breaking up of another long-established trolleybus service, the 20 Granville/Victoria, which became the 8 Granville/Fraser and 20 Victoria/Downtown.

At the end of 1997, BC Transit began floating the idea of establishing a new yard near False Creek to replace Oakridge Transit Centre, the home base of trolleybus operations since 1948.[1]

The black around the front destination sign would be painted white during the 1990s and maintained this way post-1999 when TransLink took over transit operations.

In April 1999, TransLink and Coast Mountain Bus Company took over transit operations in the Lower Mainland and with it came another new livery: the sweep with yellow and blue stripes. This livery was applied on some trolleybuses but not all. Many were painted in an all-white "ghost" livery as part of the transition, but many coaches remained in the BC Transit livery or in the "ghost" livery up until retirement.

Shortly after TransLink was established, a staff report was drawn up in October 1999 and scheduled to go before the TransLink board in 2000 recommending the purchase of up to 300 new trolleybuses to replace the existing fleet of 244 E901A/E902 trolleybuses by 2002.[15]

The "sweep" livery was applied on buses across the network when TransLink took over.

2000s: Low-floor generation

In June 2000, TransLink announced that the trolleybus fleet would be replaced by 2006. Its report recommended phasing out all the existing trolleybuses over several years with 285–325 new trolleybuses at a total cost of $314–321 million.[16] However, this announcement was not without controversy.

TransLink critics argued that TransLink needed to rethink its decision to procure trolleybuses due to the higher costs when compared to diesel buses.[17] TransLink defended the decision by saying that purchasing diesel buses would be a step backwards in reducing vehicle emissions.[17] Technology alternatives, such as hydrogen fuel cell buses, were not in mass production and were even more costly.[17]

The most vocal and critical of TransLink's decision were Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum and Coquitlam Mayor Jon Kingsbury, who were also the only members of the TransLink board of directors who opposed replacing and expanding the trolley fleet. They said that the reason TransLink was buying trolleybuses was that TransLink had a "Vancouver-centric bias" and not because trolleybuses were zero-emissions.[17]

Many buses during the transitional period between BC Transit and TransLink were painted in an all-white "ghost" livery.

McCallum, over the disagreement of TransLink's decision to purchase new trolleybuses on top of other capital expenses such as the procurement of 50 diesel buses, 29 additional diesel buses for expansion, SkyTrain platform edge upgrades and consulting services for the Coquitlam SkyTrain extension, threatened to pull Surrey out of the Greater Vancouver Regional District because these projects did not benefit Surrey and McCallum felt that Surrey was being used as a "cash cow" to fund improvements in other cities.[17]

In July 2000, TransLink began exploring options of returning trolleybus service to Stanley Park by extending the wires to a new bus loop near the existing Upper Zoo Loop, which was serviced by a variety of diesel bus routes. TransLink's plan involved stringing new wires through the Rose Garden. The Vancouver Park Board approved the proposal as part of the Park Board's plan to redevelop the Stanley Park Causeway area and to close the Chilco bus loop.[18] However, this drew criticism from the Friends of Stanley Park, a group of park users, and the gardeners of the Rose Garden. The visual impact was the biggest concern noted during the public consultation period. The new trolleybus loop opened in 2003.

The request for proposals went out in October 2000. Contract 001-04 called for the procurement of up to 325, 600-volt low-floor trolleybuses with limited off-wire capability.[19] The delivery was scheduled to commence as early as 2003. TransLink signed a $119-million contract with New Flyer and Kiepe Elektrik of Germany on January 21, 2004, for the delivery of the new trolleybus fleet.[20]

2101, the pilot low-floor trolleybus unveiled at a ceremony in 2005.

On July 20, 2005, the first of the new low-floor trolleybuses manufactured by New Flyer arrived and was unveiled in a ceremony at Stanley Park.

The remaining 187 E40LFR trolleybuses started arriving in late 2006, early 2007 to replace the Flyer E901A/E902 trolleys, which were already showing signs of ageing. These new trolleybuses were low-floor. This meant that many of Vancouver's trolleybus routes would finally be fully accessible and bike rack equipped, which were already basic features of a majority of bus routes across the network at the time. However, problems began to arise when the winter weather arrived in 2007 as many units experienced problems with their power steering.

In addition to the procurement of the 188 40-foot trolleybuses, 40 60-foot articulated buses from New Flyer were also ordered and arrived in 2007. The E60LFR trolleybuses marked the first of two orders for articulated trolleybuses.

The first trolleybus routes to go 100% accessible were the 5 Robson/Downtown and 6 Davie/Downtown in April 2007.[21]

For a one-year period from approximately June 2007–May 2008, one E40LFR trolleybus was loaned to Edmonton. Unit 2242, renumbered 6000, ran as part of a trial in Edmonton Transit System's fleet of test buses made up of several hybrid buses and unit 6000. 6000 saw occasional service on routes 5 and 135. It last ran in Edmonton on April 17, 2008, and left Edmonton for Vancouver on May 20, 2008.

A ceremonial final run of the Flyer E901A/E902 trolleybuses ran on April 20, 2008, with unit 2805 on the 3 Main/Downtown.

An additional order of 60-foot articulated buses arrived in 2009, increasing the trolleybus fleet to 262. Also in 2009, Edmonton would discontinue its trolleybus network on May 2, making Vancouver the last trolleybus network in Canada.

2242 was loaned to Edmonton in 2007–2008. In 2009, Edmonton would shut down their trolleybus network, making Vancouver's the last trolleybus network in Canada.

Oakridge Transit Centre, which had been the home base for trolleybus operations since its inception, closed as operations for all Oakridge-based buses – which included both trolleybuses and diesel buses – moved to Vancouver Transit Centre on September 2, 2006. Oakridge Transit Centre remained active in processing the arrival of new bus orders and Community Shuttle operations until it was formally closed in 2016 and the site redeveloped.

Proposed historic trolley route

In the early 2000s, there was a proposal to restore several old Brill trolleybuses for a new route linking various neighbourhoods and tourist spots in Downtown Vancouver.[22] The proposal was pitched by then-Coast Mountain Bus Company president David Stumpo, who had the idea of introducing the service after being involved in creating a historic streetcar line on San Francisco's Market Street. Stumpo saw the opportunity as there was a lure and interest by both the riding public and tourists alike across the world for historic transportation like vintage streetcars.

The first articulated trolleybuses in the Vancouver fleet arrived in two orders: one in 2007 and a second in 2009.

In a report prepared for TransLink in January 2002, the service would provide passengers with an "authentic Vancouver trolleybus experience" running with trolleybuses in their original BCER or BC Hydro liveries. These restored trolleybuses would be driven by operators wearing period uniforms and other features would include buses being fitted with their original Cleveland fareboxes, roller destination sings, period-style bus signs, replica transfers and a souvenir edition of The Buzzer.[22]

It was estimated that the cost of refurbishing 15 Brill buses for the service would be approximately $3 million, or $200,000 per bus. An additional $500,000 would also be required for new wires to follow the proposed route and service would run every 10 minutes.[22] As for fares, riders would either pay fares that were the same as the rest of the transit network, a high premium, or fares would be subsidized by a sponsor, such as the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association. Effective sponsorship, promotion and community support would have made the Historic Trolley Line "a major tourist attraction along the lines of London's double-decker buses, the Paris Metro and San Francisco's cable car system," the report said.[22]

In February 2002, the plans were permanently shelved when TransLink sold the Brill trolleys to the Transit Museum Society of British Columbia (TRAMS). TransLink initially kept the 15 Brills that were spread around various sites in the Lower Mainland waiting for a buyer. There was a rumour that Mexico City was interested in buying some of the retired Brills, but the sale did not go through. This left the over 200 Brills left to sit and rot in various lots until buyers could be found. Storage locations included Mitchell Island and A1 United Authowrecking.

Because of the need and priority to renew the existing trolleybus fleet, there were not enough resources to go towards restoring the Brill trolleybuses and establishing a heritage route.[22]

Among the 15 saved were units 2341, 2401, 2402, 2402, 2405, 2406, 2407, 2408, 2410, 2411, 2413 and 2415, all stored at Surrey Transit Centre.[23]

TransLink offered TRAMS to buy the buses for $1 each if TRAMS could find the space before the week of February 11, or else they would go to scrap. TRAMS decided to take the buses but did not have the space to store them away from the elements. They were ultimately sold to other owners/collectors.

Trolleybus network adjustments

Due to increasing demand along the 41st Avenue corridor for service to UBC, the 41 gradually saw fewer trolleybuses and more diesel buses. This was because the wires on 41st Avenue only went as far as Crown Street. By the mid-1990s, trolleybuses were reduced to run during the AM peak doing short-turn trips at Crown while diesel buses made up most 41 trips and travelled the full route to UBC. In September 2000, trolleybus service on the 41 was discontinued, making it one of two routes to see trolleybuses withdrawn during this decade, the other being the 15 Cambie/Downtown several years later. However, trolleybuses undergoing driver training made occasional appearances on the 41 doing unscheduled trips throughout the 2000s and into the 2010s.

Another change saw the realignment of several routes through the downtown core. The realignments were made to address changes in ridership along the Granville corridor following the full launch of the 98 B-Line in August 2001. The change was made in September 2003 to four trolleybus routes.[24]

Before September 2003 After September 2003 Notes
8 Fraser/Granville 8 Fraser/Downtown
  • Service revised to interline with the 15
10 Hastings/UBC 10 Hastings/Granville
  • UBC service replaced by an extension of the 17
15 Cambie/Downtown → 17 Oak/Downtown 15 Cambie/Downtown → 8 Fraser/Downtown
  • Interlining with the 17 ends and begins with the 8
17 Oak/Downtown 17 Oak/UBC
  • Extended to UBC to replace portions of the 10

From September 2005–December 2008, the 3 Main/Downtown was shortened to terminate in Chinatown instead of downtown to improve service reliability. The purpose of the change was to also remove the low ridership portion of the 3 along Hastings Street. This proposal was first made in July 2005 as part of a study on Vancouver and UBC bus service changes and post-Canada Line bus adjustments in Vancouver.[25]

Canada Line service changes

Due to Canada Line construction, trolleybus service ended for the 15 Cambie/Downtown route. Wires were removed along Cambie Street, one of the first corridors to have trolleybus service. Trolleybus service would not return to the 15 after the completion of the Canada Line in 2009. This decision was made following a recommendation from TransLink staff that because ridership along Cambie Street on the 15 was expected to be low and frequency would be reduced from every 5–6 minutes to every 15 minutes that the costs of reinstalling wires would not be justified. Instead, diesel buses would permanently run on the 15 and not reinstalling trolley wires would save $2.5 million to $3.5 million.[26][27]

Wires on significant portions of Granville Street – specifically Granville Mall – were also removed in April 2006.[28] Trolleybuses ran on Seymour and Howe streets until after the 2010 Olympics when wires were restored along Granville Street. The following routes were impacted:

On September 7, 2009, three north-south trolleybus routes were extended from their previous southern terminus to Marine Drive Station,[29] marking the only extension of the trolleybus network in this decade. These changes were first proposed in 2005 as part of a study on post-Canada Line bus adjustments in Vancouver.[25] The changes were as followed:

Route Southern terminus before Sept. 7, 2009 Southern terminus after Sept. 7, 2009 Notes
3 Main/Downtown SE Marine Drive & Main Street Marine Drive Station
  • Marine Drive trips operated as 3 Main–Marine Drive Station
  • Select short-turn trips at Marine & Main
10 Granville/Hastings Marpole Loop
17 Oak/UBC

2007 trolley crisis

In January 2007, 39 of the new trolleybuses were taken off the road due to power steering problems.[30] The problem was caused when buses passed dead spots in the wires, which would result in a sudden loss of power steering. Initially, TransLink predicted that the problems would be fixed in one or two days but the problem was still persistent at the end of February. The problem was identified as a problem in the power steering fluid pump and that it was a warranty issue that New Flyer would fix. However, more and more of the new trolleybuses began to pile up at Oakridge Transit Centre as they arrived from Winnipeg and TransLink was not accepting any more deliveries until the issue was fixed. The problem with the power steering fluid pump was not a problem on 2101, the pilot bus.[31] and TransLink believed 2101 may have had a bigger power steering pump.

Another issue with the new trolleybuses was the headlights, which would be blocked when the bike rack was in use. This meant that bikes were not allowed after dark for a brief period. This issue was not limited to the trolleybuses but all of the New Flyer Low-Floor Restyled buses ordered by TransLink in 2006. Minor adjustments and modifications were made, in addition to using a different model bike rack. The new trolleybuses got mixed reviews from drivers.[32] Some liked that they had fast acceleration but fewer standing room for passengers compared to the old Flyer trolleys. There was also the problem of glare at night as the interior lights could not be dimmed.

To address the shortage of trolleybuses, various spare diesel buses from other yards in the Lower Mainland were temporarily transferred to Vancouver to fill the gap. Some retired diesel buses were also brought back into revenue service across the region. Two Orion V buses from Central Fraser Valley Transit System and two Orion I buses from Chilliwack Transit System were also loaned to Vancouver from February–March 2007.

Sale of E901A/E902 trolleys to Argentina

With the arrival of a total of 228 new low-floor trolleybuses, the remaining Flyer E901A/E902 trolleybuses were fully withdrawn from service. Most units were sold for scrap, but 80 were handpicked for a second life running in Mendoza, Argentina for Empresa Provincial de Transporte de Mendoza. They were sold in September 2008 for $2,300 each plus shipping fees[33] and were shipped from the Fraser Surrey Docks, transported by flat-deck trucks or towed from OTC.

However, the E901A/E902 trolleys had some challenges in Argentina due to their age. Maintenance was also a problem in Argentina as a crate of spare parts and maintenance manuals went missing during the transportation from Canada to Argentina.

The trolleybuses left Vancouver at the end of October 2008 for Valparaiso, Chile, where they were driven on flatbed trucks through the Andes. The first group of trolleybuses arrived in Argentina in December 2008.[34][35] The retired trolleybuses made their debut in Argentina on April 30, 2009.[36]

The well-established 14 trolleybus route number was brought back in 2011 during a trolleybus network realignment.


While there was the return of trolleybuses along Granville Mall in September 2010 following the completion of the Canada Line and the reopening of Granville Mall after the 2010 Olympics, the 2010s saw few changes to the trolleybus network when compared to the previous decade. A significant change, however, was the return of the 14 route number.

After almost 14 years since it was last used, the 14 Hastings trolleybus returned as part of a trolleybus network adjustment.[37] The change in April 2011 was done to break up the 10 and 17 routes. The 14 combined the Hastings portion of the 10 and the UBC–downtown portion of the 17.

Route before April 18, 2011 Route after April 18, 2011
10 Granville/Hastings 10 Granville/Downtown 14 Hastings/UBC
17 Oak/UBC 17 Oak/Downtown

Bus 2242 was also loaned out again during this decade. In December 2010, it was sent to Seattle for demonstration with King County Metro as they were deciding on replacing its fleet of trolleybuses.

2016 saw a minor expansion of the trolleybus network when the 5 Robson/Downtown and 6 Davie/Downtown routes were modified to have their northern terminus moved from Waterfront Station to Cambie Street & Dunsmuir Street, which required new wires along the northbound portion of Cambie Street. The 6 was also extended into Yaletown, which required the installation of wires along portions of Davie Street, Pacific Boulevard and Cambie Street. However, 2016 also saw the discontinuation of the only trolleybus NightBus route in the system. The N6 West End/Downtown NightBus – introduced in July 2003 as part of the initial launch of the NightBus network following the discontinuation of Owl services due to a funding shortfall in October 2001 – was discontinued in June 2016 due to low ridership.

It was also during this decade that TransLink trialled battery-electric buses. From May–August 2017, a BYD Auto K9 was deployed on various routes in Vancouver and since September 2019, two Nova Bus LFSe and two New Flyer Industries XE40 buses on the 100 Marpole/22nd Street Station route. An order was also placed for 15 Nova Bus LFSe+ buses in 2021. Despite the increasing reliability of technology for battery-electric buses, TransLink has indicated that it has no interest in phasing out the trolleybus network in favour of battery-electric buses.

One of the reasons is that the cost of dismantling all the wires and infrastructure would be very high. There would be no point to phase out buses that were both zero-emissions and reliable, whereas the focus should be on phasing out internal combustion engine-based buses, said then-TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond.[38]

TransLink's plans are to procure another generation of trolleybuses, with 188 40-foot buses in 2027 and 74 60-foot buses in 2028.

A small expansion to the trolleybus network was made in early 2020. Due to the construction of the Broadway Subway, several trolleybus routes along Broadway would have to be rerouted. This included the 14 Hastings/UBC, 16 29th Avenue Station/Arbutus and 17 Oak/Downtown routes. This resulted in new trolleybus wires installed on W. 12th Avenue between Arbutus and Cambie streets and on portions of Cambie and Macdonald streets. However, the 9 Alma/Boundary route was revised to run with diesel buses due to the removal of wires along significant portions of Broadway. But with the surplus of trolleybuses, the 41 Joyce Station/Crown saw the reintroduction of regularly scheduled trolleybus since 2000.

Trolley Fleet Optimization

In 2015, TransLink began to address the excess spare ratio for trolleybuses in the fleet, which was at approximately 20% compared to 15% for other vehicles across the fleet. There were considerations of placing excess trolleybuses into long-term storage or optimizing/adjusting the network as much as possible to maximize the use of the available fleet within operational constraints such as costs.

In October, TransLink considered adjusting the 5 Robson/Downtown and 6 Davie/Downtown routes and then convert all trips on the 10 Granville/Downtown to run with 60-foot articulated trolleybuses. Other adjustments included potentially reintroducing regular trolleybus service on the 41 route.

Other considerations proposed to optimize the trolleybus fleet included:

  • Extending the overhead along Renfrew Street and reroute the 4
  • Rerouting the 7 onto Hastings Street
  • Interlining the 16 with the 4 at Eton & Renfrew
  • Frequency increases on the 14, 16 and 19
  • Extending the overhead from Crown to UBC for the 41
  • Introduce trolleybus service on the 22 between Burrard Station and Dunbar Loop
  • Introduce trolleybus service on the 27

Ultimately, the changes for the 5 and 6 went through, with their routings realigned and taken off Granville Street and revised to terminate at Dunsmuir Street & Cambie Street instead of Waterfront Station, with the 6 extending to service Yaletown–Roundhouse Station. Other proposed changes such as adjustments to the 4, 7 and 16 did not go through after public consultation. The introduction of trolleybuses on the 22 and 27 did not make it past the proposal stage.

Trolleybuses were ultimately reintroduced on the 41 route in June 2020 to address a fleet surplus due to the introduction of diesel buses on the 9 to address the removal of trolley overhead along significant portions of Broadway for the Broadway Subway construction. However, the trolley overhead along 41st Avenue did not extend past Crown Street to UBC as the 41 was revised to terminate at Crown permanently in January 2020.

Replacement of the E40LFR trolleys

On October 4, 2022, TransLink requested Federal Gas Tax funding from the Greater Vancouver Regional Fund for the replacement of the E40LFR trolleys for $414.6 million. All 188 E40LFR units would be replaced on a one-for-one basis between 2025 and 2028 with trolleys capable of in-motion charging.[39]

The next generation of trolleybuses would be able to travel at a maximum of 35 kilometres off-wire, allowing them to operate away from the overhead network.[39] This would allow trolleybuses to operate around disruptions efficiently and reroutes without the need to maintain a reserve diesel fleet. The new in-motion charging trolleybuses would also be capable of being automatically dewired and re-wired without the need for pole-pullers.[39]

The Metro Vancouver board approved the funding on October 13, 2022.[39] At the time of the funding request, TransLink was already exploring options to expand the trolleybus network without the need to expand the overhead network through the use of the 35-kilometre off-wire range of the in-motion charging trolleys. The timeline for the procurement of the new in-motion charging trolleys envisions 2024 as the start of manufacturing, with all buses complete and in service by 2028. They are envisioned to not be due for replacement until 2047.[39]

In August 2023, Polish bus manufacturer Solaris loaned their Trollino 12 model trolleybus to TransLink for non-revenue trials. One of the capabilities of the Solaris Trollino 12 was its extended off-wire battery range. Throughout the month, the demonstrator travelled throughout the trolleybus network and beyond off-wire to areas such as Bridgeport Station, Lonsdale Quay, and Phibbs Exchange, bus exchanges that are far away from the overhead network and inaccessible to traditional trolleybuses.


All trolleybus routes run within the municipal boundaries of Vancouver, with one route – the 19 Metrotown Station/Stanley Park – extending east into Burnaby. In total, there are currently 13 routes.

There are four former trolleybus routes (excluding routes that were merged with others or renumbered).


The trolleybus network is serviced by a fleet of 262 low-floor buses, of which 188 are 40-foot buses and 74 are 60-foot articulated buses. The entire fleet is maintained and based out of Vancouver Transit Centre. Before Vancouver Transit Centre opened, the trolleybus fleet was based out of Oakridge Transit Centre.

Current fleet

Thumbnail Year Manufacturer Model Motor Destination sign A/C? Notes
Coast Mountain Bus Company 2240-a.jpg 2005–2007 NFI E40LF


19 ML 3550 K/4
Luminator Horizon No
  • 2101 designated E40LF
2501–2540 Coast Mountain Bus Company 2501-a.jpg 2007–2008 NFI E60LFR Škoda
19 ML 3550 K/4
Luminator Horizon No
2541–2574 Coast Mountain Bus Company 2560-a.jpg 2009 NFI E60LFR Škoda
19 ML 3550 K/4
Luminator Horizon No
  • 2008 models
  • Initial order was for additional 20 vehicles, an additional 18 vehicles were converted from a hybrid order in 2008

Retired fleet

Fleet Number Thumbnail Year Manufacturer Model Number Motor Notes
2001–2042 BC Electric Transit 2001-a.jpg 1947 CC&F/Brill T-44 GE 1213PA1
2043–2082 BC Hydro Transit 2050-a.jpg 1948 CC&F/Brill T-44 GE 1213PA1
2101–2186 BC Hydro Transit 2168-a.jpg 1949 CC&F/Brill T-48 GE 1213PA1
  • 2169–2186 renumbered from 2083–2100.
2201–2288 BC Hydro Transit 2220-a.jpg 1949 CC&F/Brill T-48 GE 1213PA1
2289–2290 BC Hydro Transit 2290-a.jpg 1949 CC&F/Brill T-48 GE 1213PA1
  • Ex-Winnipeg 1732 and 1736, purchased in 1973–1974
2301–2355 BC Hydro Transit 2353-a.jpg 1951 CC&F/Brill T-48A GE 1213PA1
  • 2328 wrecked in accident in 1964; 2355 renumbered to 2328 to fill gap in numbering.
2355–2356 BC Hydro Transit 2355-a.jpg 1950 CC&F/Brill T-48A GE 1213PA1
2357–2371 BC Hydro Transit 2360- b.jpg 1951 CC&F/Brill T-48A GE 1213PA1
2401–2416 BC Hydro Transit 2410-a.jpg 1954 CC&F/Brill T-48A GE 1213PA1
2501–2524 1948 Pullman 44-AS GE 1213D7
2601–2650 BC Hydro Transit 2650-a.jpg 1976 Flyer E800 General Electric
  • 2601 retrofitted with BBC controls.
  • 2602–2650 converted to "Triesels" using salvaged power trains from retired D700As.
2701–2947 Coast Mountain Bus Company 2870-a.jpg 1982–1983 Flyer E901A/E902 General Electric
  • All retired from revenue service in March 2008
  • 80 units were sold to Mendoza, Argentina in October 2008
  • 2805 and 2812 preserved by TRAMS; 2812 scrapped.


There are several preserved trolleybuses from various eras of Vancouver's trolleybus system. Some are operational and some are not. A small handful of Brill trolleys mentioned below are on static display in Sandon, British Columbia.

These are the trolleybuses that are part of the Transit Museum Society of British Columbia's collection.

All are operational except 2805, which was rendered inoperable after metal thieves stripped it of its electrical components in 2010. The Transit Museum Society also had another Flyer E901A/E902 bus for parts, but it too was also stripped of its components. It was scrapped while 2805 is now used as an office by the museum. Attempts were made to fix 2805 through contacting New Flyer, but the parts needed to repair the bus had been out of production for many years. There was also an attempt to purchase and reimport a working unit from Argentina – which acquired 80 former Vancouver units. But the number of active units running in Argentina had been reduced to a small number as many were already retired and had their parts used to keep what was left of the remaining fleet operational.

Thumbnail Year Manufacturer Model Motor/Engine Transmission Destination sign Notes
2040 BC Electric 2040-a.jpg 1947 CCF Brill T-44 GE 1213PA1 N/A Rollsign
2416 BC Electric Railway 2416-a.jpg 1954 CCF Brill T-48A GE 1213PA1 N/A Rollsign
2649 1976 Flyer E800 Detroit Diesel 6V71N Spicer 183 Rollsign
2805 BC Transit 2805-a.jpg 1983 Flyer E902 General Electric N/A Rollsign

These are the former Vancouver Brills on static display in Sandon, BC:

Fleet Number Thumbnail Year Manufacturer Model Serial Notes
2166 1949 CC&F/Brill T-48 5648
2201 1950 CC&F/Brill T-48 5699
2289 1949 CC&F/Brill T-48 5802
2310 1951 CC&F/Brill T-48A 8174
2341 1951 CC&F/Brill T-48A 8205
2368 1951 CC&F/Brill T-48A 8241
2414 1954 CC&F/Brill T-48 8337
2415 1954 CC&F/Brill T-48 8338

The following have been purchased by museums outside of British Columbia for restoration/preservation. Many of these were acquired during the period from when the Brills were withdrawn from service in the mid-1980s and placed in storage until they scrapped in the early 2000s.

Thumbnail Year Manufacturer Model Motor Notes
2207 1949 CC&F/Brill T-48 GE 1213PA1
  • To Southeastern Railway Museum in Duluth, Georgia
  • Current status unknown
2340 1951 CC&F/Brill T-48A GE 1213PA1
  • To Illinois Railway Museum awaiting restoration
2357 1951 CC&F/Brill T-48A GE 1213PA1
  • One of two purchased by the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 966 for preservation in Thunder Bay[40][41][42]
  • Second Brill unit number unknown
2402 1954 CC&F/Brill T-48A GE 1213PA1
  • On static display at the Three Valley Gap Heritage Village
2411 1954 CC&F/Brill T-48A GE 1213PA1
  • On static display at the Oregon Electric Railway Historical Society
Unknown 1982–1983 Flyer E901A/E902 General Electric
  • Preserved by the Godoy Cruz Railway Museum in Argentina
  • Status unknown


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 1.27 1.28 1.29 1.30 1.31 1.32 1.33 1.34 1.35 1.36 1.37 1.38 1.39 1.40 1.41 1.42 1.43 1.44 1.45 1.46 1.47 1.48 1.49 1.50 1.51 1.52 1.53 1.54 1.55 1.56 1.57 1.58 1.59 1.60 1.61 Conn, H. (1998) Vancouver’s Trolley Buses (1948–1998): Celebrating a half-century of service.
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Buzzer April 20, 1955 Issue, retrieved 28-12-2021
  3. B.C. Electric Guide to Greater Vancouver (1949), City of Vancouver Archives, retrieved 28-12-2021
  4. 4.0 4.1 The Buzzer September 19, 1952 Issue, retrieved 28-12-2021
  5. B.C. Electric Guide to Greater Vancouver (1953) City of Vancouver Archives, retrieved 28-12-2021
  6. 6.0 6.1 The Buzzer November 14, 1980 Issue, retrieved 28-12-2021
  7. Extension of Kingsway Trolley Services to Metrotown City of Burnaby Archives, retrieved 28-12-2021
  8. Metrotown Trolley Extension City of Burnaby Archives, retrieved 28-12-2021
  9. The Buzzer February 18, 1983 Issue, retrieved 31-12-2021
  10. The Buzzer February 28, 1986 Issue, retrieved 28-12-2021
  11. The Buzzer August 26, 1988 Issue, retrieved 28-12-2021
  12. The Buzzer December 3, 1993 Issue, retrieved 28-12-2021
  13. The Buzzer April 4, 1997 Issue, retrieved 28-12-2021
  14. The Buzzer August 8, 1997 Issue, retrieved 28-12-2021
  15. The Vancouver Sun (1999. October 28). More trolley buses recommended, The Vancouver Sun, B3.
  16. Munro, H. (2000, June 16). Replace old trolley buses, officials say, The Vancouver Sun, A7
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 Simpson, S. (2000, June 23). TransLink head defends favouring trolley buses, The Vancouver Sun, B1
  18. Nuttall-Smith, C. (2000, July 11). Trolley bus wires proposed in Stanley Park Rose Garden. The Vancouver Sun, A1.
  19. The Vancouver Sun (2000, October 28). Public Notices 1324-1351, The Vancouver Sun, H23.
  20. The Vancouver Sun (2004, January 22). TransLink signs $119-million contract for replacement of electric trolley buses. The Vancouver Sun. B2.
  21. The Buzzer april 27, 2007 Issue, retrieved 31-12-2021
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 Griffin, K. (2002, February 5). Old trolleys to be sold, killing historic route idea. The Vancouver Sun, B8.
  23. Farewell to Brills in Vancouver, BC,, retrieved 28-12-2021
  24. The Buzzer September 5, 2003 Issue, retrieved 29-12-2021
  25. 25.0 25.1 Vancouver/UBC Transit Plan, retrieved 29-12-2021
  26. The Vancouver Sun (2006, November 15). Diesel buses to do Cambie runs. The Vancouver Sun, B2.
  27. Luba, F. (2006, November 17). TransLink may up ante on debt for upgrades. The Vancouver Sun, A17.
  28. The Buzzer April 24, 2006 Issue, retrieved 29-12-2021
  29. The Buzzer September 4, 2009 Issue, retrieved 29-12-2021
  30. Boei, W. (2007, February 20). Buses to be fixed after 3 weeks off road. The Vancouver Sun, B1.
  31. Boei, W. (2007, February 27). 50 defective trolleys may not be in service for four weeks. The Vancouver Sun, A3.
  32. Boei, W. (2007, February 20). Headlights adjusted for bike racks. The Vancouver Sun, B7.
  33. Sinoski, K. (2008, September 11). Vancouver’s aging trolley buses find a new home in Argentina. Times Colonist, A6.
  34. Retired Trolleys Set Sail For Argentina The Buzzer Blog, retrieved 28-12-2021
  35. Retired Trolleys Make Their Way To Mendoza The Buzzer Blog, retrieved 28-12-2021
  36. Our Retired Trolleys Make Their Official Debut In Mendoza, Argentina The Buzzer Blog, retrieved 28-12-2021
  37. The Buzzer April 1, 2011 Issue, retrieved 29-12-2021
  38. Chan, K. (2019, December 23). Trolley bus fleet won’t be replaced by electric-battery buses, says TransLink CEO. ‘’Daily Hive’’, retrieved 28-12-2021
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 39.3 39.4 Finance Committee Meeting - October 13, 2022 Metro Vancouver, retrieved 10-10-2022
  40. Buddies of the Brill, retrieved 29-12-2021
  41. Buddies of the Brill, retrieved 29-12-2021
  42. Andra-Warner, E. (2021, December 1). Historic Brill trolley buses find their way home, Northern Wilds, retrieved 29-12-2021
Coast Mountain Bus Company Logo.png
Transit Centres BurnabyHamiltonPort CoquitlamRichmondSurreyVancouver
Closed Transit Centres North VancouverOakridge
Under Contract First TransitWest Vancouver Transit
Former Contractors Bonny's Taxi Ltd.Bowen Island Community TransitDW Services Ltd.Metro Shuttle Service Ltd.First Canada
Current Fleet

2101–2199, 2201–2289 2501–2540 2541–2574 3309–3358 7447–7499, 7501–7504 8102–8117 8118–8156 9277–9285 9401–9499, 9501–9542 9543–9581, 9583–9590 9605–9699, 9701–9725 9726–9791 9797–9799 12001–12025 14001–14045 15001–15021 16001–16051 16101–16130, 16137 16201–16226 18001–18063 18101–18206 18301–18404 18451–18473 19001–19047 19101–19147 19301–19302 19303–19304 19401–19432 21001–21025 21401–21425 22001–22015 23001–23015 23201–23215 24001–24016

Community Shuttle Fleet 17506–17564 18510–18527 19503–19535, 19538–19549 19550–19554 21501–21562 23601–23606 23651–23665 24506–24548 24601–24634
Retired Fleet 1158–1192 1205–1223 1209–1210 2701–2947 3001–3021 3101–3210 3211–3257 3258–3282 3283–3299, 3301–3308 4101–4115 4116–4143 4144–4192 4193–4199, 4201–4278 5501–5508 5509–5521 6601–6630 7101–7150 7151–7197, 7199–7243 7244–7246 7247–7297 7298 7301–7374 7375–7399, 7401–7429 7430–7446 8001–8021 8022–8047 8048–8099, 8101 9101–9115 9116–9127 9201–9276
Retired Community Shuttle Fleet S001 S002 (1st) S002 (2nd) S003–S004 S006–S012 S013–S016 S017 S018–S056 S057–S059 S060–S061 S062–S102 S200–S236 S237–S257 S258–S301 S302–S356 S357–S380 S381 S382–S393 S410–S434 S435–S464 S465–S471 S501–S544 S1301–S1320 S1321 S1322–S1325 16501–16562
Paint Schemes BC Transit paint scheme Original B-Line paint scheme New B-Line paint scheme Clean Air Bus paint scheme Ghost paint scheme RapidBus paint scheme Sweep paint scheme Sweep-R paint scheme Blue Sweep-R paint scheme Sweep-R Without Charcoal Suburban paint scheme Suburban grey paint scheme
Other List of Current TransLink Ad-WrapsList of Former TransLink Ad-WrapsRapidBusTransLink Operations During the COVID-19 PandemicTransLink Vancouver 2010 Olympic OperationsTrolleybuses in Vancouver
SeaBus SeaBus
Current Fleet Burrard BeaverBurrard Pacific BreezeBurrard Otter IIBurrard Chinook
Retired Fleet Burrard Otter
Terminals R2 Marine Dr Lonsdale QuayCanada LineExpo LineTransLink West Coast Express bullet-a.pngR5 Hastings St Waterfront Station
Bus Loops and Exchanges
Vancouver Expo Line 29th Avenue StationBlanca Loop99 B-Line Boundary LoopExpo LineR5 Hastings St Burrard StationExpo LineMillennium Line99 B-Line Commercial–Broadway StationR4 41st Ave Dunbar LoopExpo LineR4 41st Ave Joyce StationKnight Street–Marine DriveR5 Hastings St Kootenay LoopExpo Line Main Street StationCanada Line Marine Drive StationMarpole LoopExpo Line Nanaimo StationStanley Park LoopR4 41st Ave99 B-Line UBC ExchangeCanada LineExpo LineSeaBusTransLink West Coast Express bullet-a.pngR5 Hastings St Waterfront Station
Burnaby &
New West
Expo Line 22nd Street StationExpo Line Braid StationMillennium Line Brentwood StationExpo Line Edmonds StationExpo LineMillennium Line66 Fraser Valley Express Lougheed StationExpo Line New Westminster StationExpo LineMillennium Line Production Way StationExpo Line Metrotown StationR5 Hastings St SFU ExchangeMillennium Line Sperling Station
Tri-Cities Millennium Line Burquitlam StationMillennium LineTransLink West Coast Express bullet-a.pngR3 Lougheed Hwy Coquitlam Central StationMillennium LineTransLink West Coast Express bullet-a.png Moody Centre StationTransLink West Coast Express bullet-a.png Port Coquitlam Station
Richmond Canada Line Bridgeport StationCanada Line Richmond–Brighouse StationSteveston Exchange
North Shore Capilano UniversitySeaBusR2 Marine Dr Lonsdale QuayLynn Valley CentreR2 Marine Dr Park RoyalR2 Marine Dr Phibbs Exchange
Pitt Meadows
& Maple Ridge
R3 Lougheed Hwy Haney PlaceTransLink West Coast Express bullet-a.png Maple Meadows StationTransLink West Coast Express bullet-a.png Pitt Meadows Station
South of Fraser 66 Fraser Valley Express Carvolth ExchangeR1 King George Blvd Guildford ExchangeLadner ExchangeLangley CentreR1 King George BlvdR6 Scott Rd Newton ExchangeExpo LineR6 Scott Rd Scott Road StationScottsdale ExchangeSouth Delta ExchangeSouth Surrey Park and RideExpo LineR1 King George Blvd Surrey Central StationWhite Rock Centre
Former Exchanges Airport StationBrentwood MallCoquitlam StationCoquitlam Recreation CentreCoquitlam Town CentreEast Guildford Park and RideLougheed MallLougheed Park and RideMatthews ExchangeMeadow Ridge CentrePitt Meadows Park and RidePort Moody StationPNE Park and RidePort Coquitlam CentreRenfrew LoopRichmond CentreRichmond ExchangeSexsmith Park and RideSouth Richmond Park and RideUpper Zoo LoopWalnut Grove Park and Ride
TransLink RapidBus branding-a.png R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 14 15 16 17 19 20 22 25 26 27 28 29 32 33 41 44 49 50 80 84 99 100 101 104 106 110 112 116 119 123 128 129 130 133 134 136 143 144 145 150 151 152 153 155 156 159 160 179 183 188 191 209 210 211 212 222 228 229 230 231 232 236 240 241 245 246 247 249 250 253 254 255 257 301 310 311 312 314 316 319 320 321 323 324 325 326 329 335 337 340 341 342 345 350 351 352 354 364 375 388 391 393 394 395 401 402 403 404 405 406 407 408 410 418 430 480 501 502 503 509 531 555 595 601 602 603 604 606 608 620 640 701 791 900

Community Shuttle 23 31 42 68 102 103 105 109 131 132 146 147 148 157 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 180 181 182 184 185 186 187 189 214 215 227 251 252 256 262 280 281 282 322 360 361 362 363 370 371 372 373 412 413 414 416 560 561 562 563 564 609 614 616 618 619 719 722 733 741 743 744 745 746 748 749
NightBus N8 N9 N10 N15 N17 N19 N20 N22 N24 N35
School Trips 840 848 855 861 863 864 865 880 881
Discontinued/ Renumbered 1 23 35 42 43 51 70 95 96 97 98 102 103 108 114 115 125 131 133 135 137 139 142 147 148 149 150 154 158 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 177 178 179 189 190 197 222 226 226 239 242 258 259 274 290 292 310 317 318 328 330 332 353 355 356 357 358 390 411 420 421 424 425 488 490 491 492 496 506 507 511 590 617 705 709 712 721 722 804 807 828 C1 C2 C3 C4 C5 C6 C7 C8 C9 C10 C11 C12 C15 C18 C19 C20 C21 C22 C23 C24 C25 C26 C27 C28 C29 C30 C31 C35 C36 C37 C38 C40 C41 C43 C44 C45 C46 C47 C48 C49 C50 C51 C52 C53 C60 C61 C62 C63 C64 C70 C71 C73 C74 C75 C76 C84 C86 C87 C88 C89 C90 C92 C93 C94 C95 C96 C98 C99 N6 N16Games ExpressMetrotown ShuttleNorth Vancouver Games ExpressSexsmith Park & Ride ShuttleTransLink West Coast Express bullet-a.png TrainBus