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Surrey council endorses Bus Rapid Transit on King George from Whalley to South Surrey

BRT would run from City Centre to Newton Exchange, Colebrook Overpass, Serpentine River Bridge, Highway Overpass and South Surrey Park Ride to Semiahmoo Town Centre
A view of Calgary’s BRT. (Image:

Surrey city council has endorsed running Bus Rapid Transit (aka BRT) along King George Boulevard from City Centre to South Surrey and on Oct. 16 also directed city staff to work with TransLink to advance its design.

“The intent of this report is to provide council with background information to support advocacy to TransLink that King George Boulevard be TransLink’s top priority for implementation of the first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service in the region,” Scott Neuman, Surrey’s general manager of engineering, stated in a corporate report to council.

Council voted in favour of Neuman’s recommendations.

“The KGB corridor should be prioritized as the first BRT project in the region,” he said. “BRT on KGB would provide immediate benefits, including reduced traffic congestion and increased transit ridership, making it the most favourable option for rapid implementation.”

The proposed alignment would see the BRT run from Surrey City Centre to Newton Exchange, Colebrook Overpass, Serpentine River Bridge, Highway Overpass and South Surrey Park & Ride to Semiahmoo Town Centre.

READ ALSO: TransLink’s SkyTrain system 4th busiest rapid transit in North America

Neuman said BRT is a “fast, efficient and high-capacity” transit service used in many cities around the world that provides a “higher level of services than existing regional RapidBus services” as it requires lanes exclusively dedicated for buses, “which are often separated from regular traffic by physical barriers, and feature higher-capacity buses, dedicated stations, high frequency service, and extended hours of operation that attract higher ridership.”

BRT buses are prioritized at traffic signals and feature off- board fare collection, “quick and convenient” access platforms and stations with “real-time information, wayfinding, and improved lighting.”

Neuman noted TransLink’s 10-Year Priorities Plan proposes to run nine BRT routes across the region, including KGB from Surrey City Centre through Newton to South Surrey. “These future BRT services would be the first in British Columbia,” he said.

A review of the nine proposed corridors indicates KGB has the largest population, highest public transit ridership – with seven million passenger boardings each year – and because this corridor is entirely within Surrey, it’s “the only corridor that can be advanced without co-ordination between multiple municipalities.”

READ ALSO: Surrey council awards $8M in contracts for infrastructure work

Coun. Harry Bains said the project meets Surrey’s short-term goals “while setting us up for the long term.”

“If we’re successful in receiving this BRT line we start meeting some of the city’s goals immediately,” he said. “We have mass transit, rapid mass transit right up and down King George right into South Surrey, that’s so important for the city. It connects Newton, it connects South Surrey with the City Centre area. We won’t have to wait decades for it – it will be within years.”

Bains said that’s important, because BRT will allow development along the corridor while taking cars off of King George.

“There’s way too many cars there and this takes some of those cars off.”

Bains added a “long-term benefit” of this project is much of the roadwork necessary to accommodate SkyTrain along the corridor would be done if and when “we were ever to receive SkyTrain” along King George.

“So where we’ve seen the SkyTrain line to Langley being constructed, the last five years have been spent doing road work. Well, we’re going to do that while we do this bus rapid transit so this is a great solution both in the short term and the long term and I’m very happy to see that we’re applying for it and I hope that we are successful.”

Mayor Brenda Locke said there’s no doubt Surrey is under-served “tremendously” by TransLink and the Province when it comes to transportation infrastructure.

“It is critical that we move people and this is an important part of that,” Locke said. “We are really desperate for additional public transit in our city and the BRT will be helpful.”

About the Author: Tom Zytaruk

I write unvarnished opinion columns and unbiased news reports for the Surrey Now-Leader.
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