Changes in TransLink service for the Semiahmoo Peninsula – anticipated to be arriving as soon as this September – are actually more than a year away, according to White Rock Mayor Darryl Walker.
He said that a recent meeting with TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond and a senior TransLink operations manager had confirmed that “nothing appears to be changing until the fall of 2020.”
“As usual, the rumour mill had it wrong, and had things happening too early,” said Walker, who added TransLink has agreed to a forum this fall involving White Rock, and possibly the City of Surrey, to further discuss and receive feedback on proposed service changes. No date has yet been set for the event.
Concerns had been raised in the community by an April 10 public forum held by TransLink at White Rock Community Centre, which first revealed the contemplated changes to the service.
Among them would be changing the 351 route linking the Peninsula with Bridgeport Station, which would start and end its route in White Rock Centre, rather than carrying on through Ocean Park and Crescent Beach.
The current route would be split, with a new 350 shuttle service linking these areas with the system.
In the proposals, the 352 – which currently runs at peak times only – would also eliminate the 144 Street to 148 Street section, travelling directly to and from White Rock Centre along 16 Avenue (North Bluff Road).
Some had speculated the advent of a 350 shuttle would mean that all full-sized bus service for the Peninsula would be cancelled, starting this September.
But TransLink spokesperson Jillian Drew told Peace Arch News last month that the modifications to the 351 route are “still a proposal and we are working on the final recommendations incorporating feedback during and after the consultation period.”
She said that full-sized buses would continue to serve the peninsula on the 345, 375 and 321 routes.
“The changes appear to be primarily around double-decker buses being the main means of transportation between White Rock Centre and Richmond,” Walker said.
“They’re waiting until they run double-deckers through all the system,” he added, noting “there is some discussion whether they will use larger or smaller community buses” to connect with the White Rock Centre to Bridgeport route.
Walker said he has been assured by TransLink that the schedule will continue to provide service to the community from early in the morning until late in the evening, and that the White Rock Centre to Richmond service will connect to shuttle service without leaving passengers stranded or waiting for undue lengths of time.
But he said having a another forum with TransLink in the community remains important, “so that we do know what the plans are and what the timing will be – and having it in the fall of this year will give people a long time to discuss it.”