No stops in Surrey for Port Mann express buses

Transit users accuse province, TransLink of breaking promise

Highway 1 express buses were supposed to turn off at the new 156 Street interchange using dedicated HOV ramps – as shown in this Gateway program graphic. Instead

Highway 1 express buses were supposed to turn off at the new 156 Street interchange using dedicated HOV ramps – as shown in this Gateway program graphic. Instead

Users of the new Highway 1 express bus service over the Port Mann Bridge won’t be able to board or exit in Surrey as had originally been promised.

The express buses start to roll on Dec. 1 when the bridge officially opens and the announcement for the new #555 route was made by Transportation Minister Mary Polak amid fanfare last Friday in Langley.

But transit advocates in Surrey are angry the promise of a stop near the new dedicated bus/HOV ramps at 156 Street has been quietly dropped.

“It’s definitely a broken promise – an act of fraud, really,” said Daryl Dela Cruz, who lives in Guildford but will now watch as #555 buses going to and from Langley roll by without stopping.

“Taxpayers paid for that HOV ramp,” he said. “But ironically there’s not going to be any buses using the HOV ramp. They’re just going to be bypassing it, they’re not going to stop.”

The 156 Street stop for the express bus service was depicted in the province’s original Gateway program plans on maps, graphics and even a video that shows express buses turning off the freeway in Surrey.

Also promised was a park-and-ride at a 156 Street bus loop but neither the park-and-ride nor the transit exchange has been built.

TransLink spokesman Derek Zabel said that infrastructure was tied to commercial development plans in the area that never advanced. Talks between developers, the City of Surrey, TransLink and the province never got past the conceptual stage and TransLink never formalized any plan for a stop near 156 Street.

Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts said she was never informed the stop at 156 Street had been cancelled.

“That was not the original commitment that was made,” Watts said, adding she campaigned with Langley mayors to save the express bus service on the expectation it would also stop in Surrey.

“There’s no point in bypassing a city of a half a million people,” Watts said. “The residents of Surrey have continued to pay through taxes for all of the infrastructure everywhere else. It’s just not fair when that infrastructure is not completed in Surrey.”

Langley City Mayor Peter Fassbender, vice-chair of the TransLink mayors council, said he knew for some time the service would initially bypass Surrey, adding he will press TransLink to “eventually” add stops there when it gains more funding.

“It’s not never,” he said. “It’s a question of timing and volume and the need for feeder routes that go into it.”

Dela Cruz said it was the province’s responsibility, under the $3.3-billion Port Mann/Highway 1 project, to build the promised transit infrastructure, even though it is TransLink that operates the service.

He said he’ll urge community groups and others to press TransLink to add at least a temporary stop to serve north Surrey even if there’s no proper loop or park-and-ride yet.

The 156 Street stop would serve the busy Guildford retail area and the growing population both there and across the highway in Fraser Heights.

Zabel said a basic stop at the HOV ramps is impossible because the gap in the freeway is too narrow.

An off-interchange bus loop would be needed, he said, but TransLink can’t afford to build it right now.

He said the #509 and #590 routes from Walnut Grove to Surrey Central will use the 156 Street ramps – they currently exit the highway at 160 Street to take 104 Avenue – as will other HOV users.

Zabel said there are plans, currently on hold awaiting funding, to create a second express bus route linking Walnut Grove/Carvolth to the Expo SkyTrain line at Surrey Central Station via 156.

The Highway 1 express buses will be more comfortable highway coaches with high fabric backs, reading lights and luggage racks.

Polak was not available for questions and ministry staff have not yet explained when the decision was made to shelve the 156 Street loop.

It’s not the first disappointment for riders awaiting the new service.

TransLink indicated in September it would downgrade the ExpressBus plan by running it at reduced off-peak frequencies of 30 minutes between buses – instead of every 10 to 15 – due to budget constraints.

It also revealed the route will initially only go as far west as Braid Station in New Westminster, not Lougheed Station as previously planned. The Braid terminus is to move to Lougheed Station as soon as a nearby exit at Government Street is complete later in 2013.

Passengers boarding in Langley at the newly built 670-stall Carvolth park-and-ride are promised a 20-minute trip to Braid Station over the new Port Mann Bridge.

HOV/bus-only dedicated lanes drop down from Highway 1 at 156 Street in Surrey. But a promised transit exchange and park and ride was never built in the treed area visible southeast of the interchange and Highway 1 express buses from Langley will not stop in Surrey.

 

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An electric vehicle charging station in front of Hope’s municipal hall, district hall. (Photo: Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)
40 electric vehicle charging stations planned for Surrey

Funding coming from all three levels of government

A tow truck works to pull a dump truck from a ditch at 176 Street and 40 Avenue, following a two-vehicle incident Tuesday (Jan. 19) afternoon. (Aaron Hinks photo)
PHOTOS: Dump truck, car collide in South Surrey

Intersection – 176 Street and 40 Avenue – was site of 2019 fatal collision

Police on the scene of a homicide in South Surrey’s Morgan Heights neighbourhood earlier this month. (Tracy Holmes photo)
Crime Stoppers received more than 500 tips related to gang activity in 2020: report

Metro Vancouver organization “urging local residents to keep providing anonymous tips”

Family and friends of Hudson Brooks marched as part of a call for answers from an IIO investigation into his 2015 death. (Black Press Media files)
Inquest to look into RCMP shooting death of Hudson Brooks

Charges agains the RCMP officer who shot Brooks were stayed in 2019

The old Rickshaw sign today, with the former restaurant location in the building behind it. (Photo: Tom Zillich)
SURREY NOW & THEN: Rickshaw sign stands as a reminder of Jung family’s restaurant days

A weekly look back at Surrey-area landmark sites and events

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

A child joins the Uke ‘n Play kickoff event at the Chilliwack Library on Oct. 1, 2016. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Events return, in virtual form, at Fraser Valley Regional Library

People can take part in ukulele jam, bullet journaling, reading groups and more

Cranbrook Food Bank coordinator Deanna Kemperman, Potluck Cafe Society executive director Naved Noorani and Sunshine Coast Community Services Society executive director Catherine Leach join B.C.’s new Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne on a video call about B.C. gaming grants, Jan. 19, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. gaming grants reorganized for COVID-19 priorities

Minister highlights community kitchens, food banks

(Pixabay photo)
‘Cocaine bananas’ arrive at Kelowna grocery stores after mix up from Colombia: RCMP

Kelowna RCMP recently concluded an international drug investigation after finding cocaine in local grocers’ banana shipments in 2019

People wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 walk past a window display at a store in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, December 13, 2020. The association representing businesses across Metro Vancouver says the costs of COVID-19 continue to mount for its members.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Greater Vancouver business organization says members face uncertain outlook in 2021

Many Greater Vancouver businesses are barely treading water as they enter 2021

A new video from NCCIH and BC Northern Health titled ‘Healing in Pandemic Times: Indigenous Peoples, Stigma and COVID-19’ was animated by Joanne Gervais. (Photo Provided By: NCCIH Archives)
VIDEO: Stigma against Indigenous people is a ‘social sickness’

A new short animated video is aiming to educate the public on the stigmatization

A pinniped was attacked by an unseen predator off the shores of Dallas Road Monday night. (Courtesy of Steffani Cameron)
VIDEO: Seal hunting, not being hunted in video shot off Victoria waterfront

Victoria woman captures footage of pinniped activity off Dallas Road

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau vows to keep up the fight to sway U.S. on merits of Keystone XL pipeline

Canada’s pitch to the Biden team has framed Keystone XL as a more environmentally friendly project than original

The British Columbia Hotel Association (BCHA) sent out a sharply worded release late last week, in which it noted that the Tourism Industry Association of BC recently obtained a ‘legal opinion’ on the matter (Alex Passini photo)
Hotel associations push back against any potential ban on inter-provincial, non-essential travel restrictions

B.C. Premier John Horgan is seeking legal advice on banning non-essential travel

Most Read