Transit review spawns major bus route changes

Many service changes tied to Evergreen Line launch, proposals that drew fire in White Rock shelved

TransLink is pushing ahead with a major reconfiguration of Metro Vancouver bus routes proposed last fall in its Transit Network Review with the exception of some changes that ran into strong local opposition.

Proposed changes in South Surrey/White Rock that would have increased frequency on key routes and extended new service into Morgan Crossing have been shelved after other area residents said the trade-offs were unacceptable. TransLink is promising to refine the proposal and consult more before making changes there.

Other plans that are going ahead include the creation of a new express B-Line along Hastings in Vancouver and the elimination of the existing 97 B-Line in the Tri Cities when the Evergreen Line launches.

About a third of the planned changes are to provide new bus connections to the new Evergreen Line stations in the Tri Cities when the SkyTrain extension opens in early 2017.

“The Evergreen Line integration is a big part of this,” said Tim Savoie, TransLink vice-president of transportation planning and policy.

The West Coast Express TrainBus is also to be discontinued at that time, and select non-peak 701 bus trips will run from Coquitlam Station to Mission Station, subject to continued contributions from the District of Mission.

Route changes in Surrey and Langley promise new service in some neighbourhoods, more consistent service south of Langley Centre and new service with better connections along Highway 10 in the Cloverdale-Panorama area.

The 509 bus from Walnut Grove in Langley will run be rerouted to connect to the Lougheed Station, which is to also ease overcrowding on the 555 bus that runs over the Port Mann Bridge from Langley to the Lougheed SkyTrain station.

The 394 King George Boulevard route in Surrey will make fewer stops, allowing faster peak service.

The 620 Tsawwassen ferry route will have fewer stops between Bridgeport Station and the terminal, making for better service for most ferry-bound passengers, but some others will have to transfer.

Local details can be found at TransLink’s Transit Network Review page.

The review is the latest and most ambitious yet in TransLink’s ongoing strategy to optimize bus service – carry more riders with essentially the same budget – while it waits for local and provincial politicians to figure out a new funding source to finance transit expansion.

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