Archive for November 20th, 2009

From the Vancouver Sun – Canada Line delivers 15,000 extra visitors a week to River Rock casino. Are gamblers the only new ridership?

November 20, 2009

There is utter pathos in this news item as it seems to be the only news worthy story the mainstream media can say about the RAV/Canada Line, that it’s delivering 15,000 gambling addicted people, by metro, to the River Rock Casino each week. Did we spend a nearly $3 billion metro just to deliver more people to a casino? The RAV/Canada line was supposed to take 200,000 car trips a day off local roads and instead of attracting the all important motorist from the car (the commuter), the metro is giving gamblers a faster trip to lose their money.

There has been absolutely no hint that the RAV/Canada Line has achieved any degree of modal shift from car to transit, as claimed ridership only shows that previous bus passengers are still using the new metro service and this news item continues the shameful way the mainstream media reports local transit news.

Canada Line delivers 15,000 extra visitors a week to River Rock casino

By Brian Morton, Vancouver SunNovember 19, 2009

METRO VANCOUVER — The River Rock Casino Resort is making it much easier for gamblers to spend their money.

As part of a $30-million renovation, gamblers and other visitors can now get off at the Canada Line’s Bridgeport Station and walk directly to the casino via a new covered walkway (called the Starwalk) to the resort’s third floor. The Starwalk is also linked to the adjoining parkade and bus loop.

Once in the resort, customers hop on a first-of-its-kind-in-Canada spiral escalator that drops them on the doorstep of dozens of slot machines and gaming tables.

It appears to be a smart business move, with up to 15,000 extra customers heading to the casino each week following the opening of the Canada Line in August.

“We’ve seen a 15-per-cent increase in guests since [the Canada Line] opened,” Howard Blank, River Rock’s vice-president of media, entertainment and responsible gaming, said in an interview Thursday. “And we think this will grow with this renovation. There’s a lot of older folks from Oakridge, Kerrisdale and Yaletown who didn’t want to drive here. And there’s also a lot of the [younger] hip crowd coming here [via the Canada Line] so they can drink and not have to drive.

“The majority of our guests now come from the Canada Line.”

The 18-month renovation included not only the Starwalk — which incorporates an autowalk (a flat, moving escalator) and voice recordings from stars who have played there — but four private VIP suites (each holding up to 20 guests, with one dedicated to Vancouver musician Dal Richards) at the River Rock Show Theatre. There are also restaurant upgrades and a new lounge.

A tour of the facility by The Vancouver Sun Thursday featured two escalators which, unlike traditional escalators, traverse two floors in a 180-degree circular span — a major change from the stairs that preceded them — and required seven months to assemble, install and test. The spirals were delivered from Japan in seven separate truss sections and installed by Mitsubishi.

“The escalators were very important,” added Blank, who noted that there are no other spiral escalators in Canada. “It gives us a grand atrium [and] it opens up our lobby and allows us to expand our ballroom. We thought it was important to separate us from other hotels and casinos. We’ve seen them in Macau and we’re one of the very few in North America.”

As well, the expansion includes a number of retail areas and community and transit policing offices. Also recently opened was a 1,512-vehicle parkade, a joint venture between the Canada Line and River Rock.

Meanwhile, Blank said that so far there haven’t been any problems at River Rock related to petty criminals or drug dealers who often utilize a rapid transit line to commit crimes.

“People of ill repute won’t come here,” he said. “We haven’t had any problem here at all. There’s a community policing station opening shortly [and] we have a huge security presence. And we also have so many security cameras here.”