TransLink has backtracked from a plan that would have made SkyTrain riders wait considerably longer for less frequent off-peak trains to and from Surrey.
The change to SkyTrain schedules and routes that takes effect Oct. 22 was to include a 20 per cent cut in SkyTrain frequency on the new Expo branch to King George, where mid-day and evening trains would have run seven and a half minutes apart, instead of six minutes now.
But officials now say that part of the initial schedule was an oversight and it has been retooled to eliminate the extra delay after it was criticized by Surrey transit blogger Daryl dela Cruz.
“Mr. dela Cruz pointed that out and we looked at it from the planning perspective and said ‘No that’s not what we want to do,'” said Geoff Cross, TransLink vice-president of transportation planning and policy. “That was not the intention. So we were able to go back and adjust.”
Trains to and from Surrey will be within a few seconds of the current frequencies, including the six minutes between trains at off-peak times, Cross said.
“It’s great news for Surrey commuters,” dela Cruz said of the changes.
The SkyTrain reconfiguration coming this month is part of TransLink’s preparation to begin service on the Evergreen Line before Christmas.
The Millennium Line switches from a loop to an east-west only route from VCC-Clark through North Burnaby, Port Moody and Coquitlam.
While the Expo Line will split at Columbia into two branches – one to King George and the other ending at Production Way-University.
TransLink aims to add 28 new SkyTrain cars to the system if Metro Vancouver mayors approve a phase one expansion plan in November.
Cross said the expansion plan would also allow a near-immediate improvement in off-peak SkyTrain service to begin starting in January.
That would mean “much better” frequency at mid-day and evenings on the Expo Line.
“We’re actually looking at lengthening the peak period where we’re offering the highest level of service by 30 minutes in each direction.”
That would mean peak service that now runs from 6:30 to 9:00 a.m. would extend to roughly 9:30 and the 4:00 to 6:30 p.m. peak would extend to approximately 7:00.