Over the weekend, a friend and I were going back and forth about the Canada Line’s $2.50 surcharge to get to YVR, which Translink now says won’t kick in until January.  There’s no doubt, it is kind of crappy.  Which made me wonder, just how crappy is it?  Well, here’s what it costs to get from downtown to the airport in a few North American cities:

  • Boston – Logan — $2.00.  But you get what you pay for.  The train doesn’t actually go all the way to the airport, and you have to transfer to a shuttle for the last leg.
  • Chicago – Midway — $2.25.  That’s pretty good.  Too bad you can’t take the train to O’Hare.
  • New York – LaGuardia — $2.25.  Still pretty good.
  • Portland — $2.30.  Also not too bad.
  • Vancouver — $3.75. Okay, so here’s the cost of getting from downtown to YVR without the extra surcharge.  It’s just the normal two zone fare.
  • Vancouver — $6.25. Here it is again with the YVR surcharge.
  • Philadelphia — $7.00.
  • New York – JFK — $7.25.  Getting expensive, but this is a long ride.
  • San Fransicso — $8.10.  Ditto about the length of this ride.

That’s quite a range, and the Canada Line looks like it’ll be roughly in the middle of the pack.  To be sure, the surcharge is lame.  It’s lame not just for the extra $2.50, but also because it needlessly complicates the fare structure.  (There aren’t any “surcharges” anywhere else on Translink’s system.  Why start making them up now?)  That said, it’s really not way out of line with what the same trip costs in other cities, so I can’t get too worked up about it.

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