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Vancouver Marathon Impact on Disembarkation

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We are disembarking at Canada Place May 3rd - the same day as the Vancouver marathon.  Does anyone know how that will impact disembarkation and getting a taxi to the airport?

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Perfect day to skip a taxi and take Skytrain (subway) to the airport.

 

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Given the timing of the race, there absolutely 100% will be an impact on car traffic downtown - basically, both of the two main routes southbound from downtown (Granville/Oak and Cambie) have closures, and the finish area for ALL the races is virtually nextdoor to the pier so there will be a ton more folks than normal hanging around to cheer on runners, meet up with their freinds/family after the race etc.

 

By the time many people are leaving the core, barriers will already have been removed from a fair chunk of the half-marathon course and the first part of the marathon course - so Cambie will start opening barriers by 9am and become a viable route again, BUT access to Cambie bridge in the core remains restricted longer so cars will still need to make a few detours into Gastown and around False Creek. Until then though, EVERY vehicle heading to the airport will be choking Main Street so if you are in any rush to get to the airport, I would heartily concur with Scott that SkyTrain will be a major win on this particular day.

 

Anyone capable of self-disembarking is capable of using SkyTrain - and the Canada Line to the airport easily copes with a big suitcase and a carry-on or backpack per person right at your seat (there's space underneath on this line, unlike the older commuter lines that head eastward). This would also be a circumstance where I'd avoid the new fleet of Uber/Lyft like the proverbial plague even if you're normally a fan, as unless the drivers happen to have quit taxi driving to become a Lyber driver they'll be utterly clueless in terms of prior experience navigating these race closures! Unless you need porters to move your bags for you, this is definitely a day for SkyTrain!!!

 

Oh, and folks who are sensibly staying on in town post-cruise - this is probably the worst morning to visit Stanley Park in the entire year, although LuluLemons giant summer Yogafest sucks harder in the afternoon and evening. Basically the entire Seawall around the park is blocked off until at least 1pm on marathon day. And the Street Festival for post-race celebration blocks off a big chunk of downtown core just west of the pier until well after 4pm (even though the barriers come down ~3:30pm, it takes a long time to clear up the site!) so unless you want tp pay to store bags at the pier, choosing a hotel that is east of Burrard St makes a lot of sense for any post-cruise night, so you can actually GET to it when you disembark easily!


Edit - the one piece of good news is that you are the only ship in port, so at least the volume of cruisers will not be overwhelming.

 

Edited by martincath

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On 2/23/2020 at 9:45 AM, martincath said:

Edit - the one piece of good news is that you are the only ship in port, so at least the volume of cruisers will not be overwhelming.

 

On 2/23/2020 at 9:45 AM, martincath said:

Anyone capable of self-disembarking is capable of using SkyTrain - and the Canada Line to the airport easily copes with a big suitcase and a carry-on or backpack per person right at your seat (there's space underneath on this line, unlike the older commuter lines that head eastward). This would also be a circumstance where I'd avoid the new fleet of Uber/Lyft like the proverbial plague even if you're normally a fan, as unless the drivers happen to have quit taxi driving to become a Lyber driver they'll be utterly clueless in terms of prior experience navigating these race closures! Unless you need porters to move your bags for you, this is definitely a day for SkyTrain!!

 

Thanks for your reply - that was what I was afraid the answer would be. We have a 1:30pm flight, so we should have enough time. We are not eligible for self-disembark as I am a wheelchair user and they won't let you do that. As I remember from our last cruise, its uphill from the cruise port to get to the SkyTrain? Once we get to the station, are the trains wheelchair friendly and do you know how far it is from the station at YVR to the international terminal (flight to the US)? I was already concerned about getting a wheelchair accessible taxi because of the news reports I have read regarding the Taxi Association essentially using WCA taxi's as leverage in their fight against Uber/Lyft. I guess we are just going to have to be super flexible and hope for the best.

Edited by DUTRAVEL

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16 minutes ago, DUTRAVEL said:

Thanks for your reply - that was what I was afraid the answer would be. We have a 1:30pm flight, so we should have enough time. We are not eligible for self-disembark as I am a wheelchair user and they won't let you do that. As I remember from our last cruise, its uphill from the cruise port to get to the SkyTrain? Once we get to the station, are the trains wheelchair friendly and do you know how far it is from the station at YVR to the international terminal (flight to the US)? I was already concerned about getting a wheelchair accessible taxi because of the news reports I have read regarding the Taxi Association essentially using WCA taxi's as leverage in their fight against Uber/Lyft. I guess we are just going to have to be super flexible and hope for the best.

A 1:30pm flight though... Honestly, even if you just waited in the pier cab queue for a whole hour and then it took an hour to drive, you have plenty of padding - so I really would not stress about this despite the whole race-stravaganza. Chances are with one ship, having to wait for bags to be brought off and then collect them, you'll still end up with folks being nice enough to let you skip the queue for an accessible cab and have to detour up Main Street rather than Cambie, but will still be at YVR before 10am anyway - which means your only likely problem on the day is you getting to check-in too early and them not letting you drop your bag! A 3 hour limit pre-flight is often enforced, especially for US-bound flights as CBP have a photo system that links a picture of your checked bag to your boarding pass so they get picky about the timing of bag drops...

 

So please, do relax and don't let it hinder your vacation enjoyment in any way! But just in case there's a delay clearing the ship or it's late arriving because it struck a whale or an engine broke, here's the skinny on potential sneaky cab tricks and using transit just in case they end up being helpful:

 

I would still try for a cab first for simplicity - a 1:30pm flight, even to the US, as a wheelchair user... when you do get to YVR you will get expedited through all the lines. At YVR, on a one ship day, 2 hours is overkill - with your front-of-the-line privileges 90mins for you should be ample, which means arrive by noon and everything should be golden.

 

Not sure how speedily you can push your chair, or if it's motorized how quickly it drives, but to put things in perspective if you can keep up a regular-Joe walking pace of 3mph you could literally roll all the way to YVR from the pier in time!!! Most half-way decent folks in the cab queue at the pier are also going to cut you a break by letting you jump ahead when an accessible cab rolls in - I'd hope that even folks who are tight on funds, with 4 people, that would struggle to all fit in a Prius due to luggage would be willing to let a wheelchair user have first dibs since it's a requirement for you, rather than a way to save cash on taking two cabs for them.

 

Tactical cab getting - instead of just joining an already-long queue when you first come out with your bags to the vehicle pickup area, head upstairs unless the queue looks small. The Pan Pacific have a different cab queue on street level - roll to the front door, ask the doorman to get you an accessible cab, and if there isn't one on the street he can see he'll probably go call one for you. That might take 20mins to arrive with the street closures instead of 5mins, but you'd still be in a cab - and even if it took an hour to drive you to YVR going around all the closures, you will have a ton of spare time.

 

But if you'd rather use SkyTrain, or there's some other issue that crops up on the day like a collision that blocks traffic completely, it is extremely feasible for wheelchair users. You can get down to the platform from the main Waterfront station concourse in an elevator, which means you can roll downhill all the way from the pier (it would be uphill to the Granville & Hastings entrance - this is probably the one you're thinking of, which is sensibly recommended for folks coming from YVR to the pier). Follow the sidewalk to the left from the pier - whether you come out of the Pan Pacific level or up the ramp from cruise level. It curves around to the right, becoming Howe Street - ignore the tempting entrance to SkyTrain right here, as a) no elevator, and b) wrong line! Instead, keep going to the intersection and turn left onto Cordova. You'll head down a fairly shallow slope, passing under a pedestrian bridge, and then see the station on your left - it's a huge old brick thing, with pillars out front, impossible to miss. Google Map here.

 

Take any door near the pillars and you come into the main concourse, with ticket machines ahead of you. Look to your left and you should see the elevator down to the Canada Line platform - with a modern Credit Card you can even skip buying tickets, just tap on the Fare Gate and it'll open. This photo on Google Streetview should show the elevator, though it predates the new Compass system so the Fare Gates aren't visible. If you're in a regular-height chair, with at least one functional arm, tapping the gate should be easy - but if you have any issues there are ways around the normal 'tap and enter' system. This is the most useful link I can think of - Translinks chair-specific accessibility page. There's a phone number you can call, and given how close the pier is to the station if you call just when you hit the street an attendant will probably be waiting for you when you reach the station doors - they'll escort you where you need to go, even pushing you if needed.

 

On the platform you'll find that the doors open with a very, very small gap - even tiny suitcase wheels cross easily, a travel chair/scooter is no problem, and a full-size 'bike wheel' type chair will barely even notice a bump. The trains do have designated wheelchair/scooter areas, and even if the train is busy folks will get out of your way.

 

If your disability is such that using SkyTrain does not seem feasible for you, you can actually apply for a visitor pass to the HandyDART system - these are dedicated small buses with wheelchair lifts, which instead of following regular routes need booked in advance for anywhere to anywhere. It does require you to have a Doctor sign off on the form, but if you meet the criteria it's free - and they'd pick you up at the Pan Pacific and take you to the airport, though it would almost certainly involve a 'milk run' that also picked up and dropped off a few other folks on the way.

 

At the airport end, a cab or HandyDART will drop you curbside - the only extra distance from SkyTrain is about a hundred yards as the station is above the parking garage that the road loops around. Flat, level walkways and elevators of course.

 

Oh, and another piece of stress-relieving info - while I agree that it's a real a55hole move on the part of the cabbies to bring the accessible vehicles into the fray, the good news is that the issue only applies to the subsidies which operators of those cabs get from their fellow cabbies. It's still legally-mandated that we have a minimum proportion of accessible cabs available, so while I do expect some fleets that are over the minimum numbers to perhaps reinstall a bench seat and up the pax numbers to 6 regular able-bodied types from 4 on some vehicles, pricing will remain identical (again, by law) and whenever all the cabs are on the road numbers will remain virtually the same as most fleets only consist of the minimum number anyway due to the extra fuel costs. It's really only going to be in a situation where the number of on-shift drivers is lower than the number of available cabs, so if given a choice they'll all prefer to take a Prius and reduce their fuel costs - but on busy cruise days literally every cab that isn't broken is going to be on the road.Even adding an extra buck onto your tip to compensate the accessible cab driver would more than offset the extra costs incurred, leaving them not out of pocket compared to the guys in a Prius that shift.

 

Plus, the later you leave the pier, the fewer road closures will still be active - so even if you somehow ended up in a cab at 11:30am, I am confident that you could reach YVR before 12:30pm (i.e. meet the minimum 1 hour bag drop cutoff). There are many factors still in your favour thanks to your sensible flight time! It's the folks who want to book a before-noon flight because that's the only non-stop home for them that isn't a red-eye that will run into trouble on marathon day - as long as the airline doesn't change your flight by more than an hour earlier you really shouldn't have any problems (and if they do, they'll usually void change fees to rebook you).

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58 minutes ago, martincath said:

A 1:30pm flight though... Honestly, even if you just waited in the pier cab queue for a whole hour and then it took an hour to drive, you have plenty of padding - so I really would not stress about this despite the whole race-stravaganza. Chances are with one ship, having to wait for bags to be brought off and then collect them, you'll still end up with folks being nice enough to let you skip the queue for an accessible cab and have to detour up Main Street rather than Cambie, but will still be at YVR before 10am anyway - which means your only likely problem on the day is you getting to check-in too early and them not letting you drop your bag! A 3 hour limit pre-flight is often enforced, especially for US-bound flights as CBP have a photo system that links a picture of your checked bag to your boarding pass so they get picky about the timing of bag drops...

 

 

Thank you for taking the time to give such a thorough and helpful answer. I think we will go with Plan A as a Taxi to YVR and in the event we run into trouble with that we can go to Plan B and take the SkyTrain.

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Martin - don't most of the taxis leaving for the airport use Howe Street and the Granville Bridge - neither of which are used for the Marathon. 

I will once again be volunteering for the Marathon and on the bike helping the 1/2 Marathoners finish the course. My 15th year doing it.

Cheers!

Dennis

 

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20 hours ago, Urban trekker said:

Martin - don't most of the taxis leaving for the airport use Howe Street and the Granville Bridge - neither of which are used for the Marathon. 

I will once again be volunteering for the Marathon and on the bike helping the 1/2 Marathoners finish the course. My 15th year doing it.

Cheers!

Dennis

You're completely correct that Howe remains open, as does Granville Bridge, but according to the map of road closures and list of times the official detour is then "follow 6th Ave to Main Street to access airport" - as closures right across the city down at 49th near the start of the marathon course impact Granville and Oak until 10am. Given this is folks leaving a ship on a quiet day with 1 vessel, unless they hang around the pier well after they get booted off the ship this means no-go for the usual airport route - though as I noted above Cambie becomes available after 9am, which will help.

 

Some cabbies will take Howe to Granville Bridge to 6th as that adds quite a bit of distance, in traffic, to the meter - whereas heading along Hastings or over the Georegia viaduct to Main would be faster & cheaper way to get to Main & 2nd where the detour then merges onto Main (for non-locals, the same street is named both 6th and 2nd Ave depending where along the length of it you are as it wiggles around a bit but without tracking the waterline of south False Creek consistently, meaning sometimes it has several other avenues between it and the water - so at that point it changes name to keep the number system flowing correctly north to south!)

 

If you're biking with the runners on the Half you may be guiding my missus Dennis, and I'll try to wave at you both out the window as you loop past National twice!

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On 2/23/2020 at 12:11 AM, DUTRAVEL said:

We are disembarking at Canada Place May 3rd - the same day as the Vancouver marathon.  Does anyone know how that will impact disembarkation and getting a taxi to the airport?

There will be zero impact.

You probably will not be there.

The marathon probably will not happen.

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2 hours ago, Donald said:

There will be zero impact.

You probably will not be there.

The marathon probably will not happen.

The race was canceled already, and with OPs line now extending their cruising moratorium for Alaska routes to July 1st there's no probably involved in either aspect.

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