ALERT! :  More info
Translink Buzzer Blog

The final stage: making transit service decisions

This post is part of a series about Managing the Transit Network: all about how TransLink plans transit service in our region. See all the past blog posts in the series here.

This post covers pages 22-24 in the Managing the Transit Network primer.

There's a lot to consider when making the final decision about a transit service.

When TransLink planners evaluate a potential change to a transit service, they’re usually looking to achieve one of three main objectives, while keeping in mind the four design themes, and nine route design considerations. But what’s the process like for deciding what changes go ahead? How do they come to a decision about which services will be added, changed or reduced?

Service changes are made four times a year: in April, June, September and December. But decisions need to be made well in advance to allow time for operations planning, scheduling, and in some cases infrastructure changes or fleet procurement. They don’t take these decisions lightly. That’s why planners ask themselves the following four questions for each service change they look at.

Step 1: Should we do it?

Right off the top, they ask if a service fits TransLink’s vision, mission and values. One piece, but a signifant piece, of our mission and values is our commitment to financial responsibility. If money isn’t available to fund or continue a service, then this factors heavily in the decision making process. That said, if a proposed service or change is consistent with the objectives and themes outlined in the primer, then the possibility of it making it to the second decision stage is much higher.

Step 2: Can we do it?

This seems like an obvious question, but what looks good on paper doesn’t always works in reality. This is the stage where they look at the costs, the infrastructure constraints, other demands and whether the service is likely to be productive. Can a bus actually run this route? Are the roads too narrow or too congested? Does the current infrastructure support what we want to do? These are just some the questions planners might ask during this step.

Step 3: What should we do first?

Once they know that a service change is desireable and feasible, they need to decide in what order service changes should be rolled out. There are always more worthy projects than available resources, so we need to prioritize. Planners often use what’s called a Multiple Account Evaluation (MAE) to get the full picture of the benefits and impacts associated with a change. This process includes consulting with municipalities and the public and seeing how a candidate project “performs” within the seven “accounts” as seen on the right.

Step 4: How do we make it happen?

Hooray! We’ve made a decision to create a new service or change an existing one. Now we need to act. The name of the game is delivering as quickly as possible while making the best use of our resources. We design the service and communicate it to our riders and operators by working with our operating companies and contractors.

A summary of the main points of managing the transit network

There are a lot of goals, objectives, themes, steps, accounts and stages to take in when we’re talking about managing the transit network. So, here’s a nice Coles Notes summary of the important stuff.

If you only read one thing about Managing the Transit Network...

I encourage everyone to take the time and download the Managing the Transit Network Primer. It goes into a lot more detail than we have here. Yet, it’s easy to understand even without a planning background.

Want to do a Google Hangout to talk more?

We’ve had a lot of interest in this series, and we’d love to know if you’d like to talk more about these issues directly with our planning folks. Take our poll below to show whether you’d like to do a Google Hangout video chat with Peter Klitz, and possibly Jarrett Walker if we can wrangle a piece of his time!

Would you like to do a Google Hangout where you can talk directly to our planners?

  • Yes (88%, 14 Votes)
  • No (12%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 16

Let us know in the comments if you have a preferred time or day: regular work week hours work best for us, but we’ll see what we can do to accommodate.

And thanks again for your thoughtful conversations so far. Let us know more: we look forward to following up on all your questions!


28 Comments

  • By Sheba, August 22, 2012 @ 4:48 pm

    I’m not on google+ so it’s not for me. Hopefully we can ask some questions/make suggestions on here that will be part of this.

  • By Kyle, August 22, 2012 @ 5:09 pm

    It’s not talk that matters, it’s action. What I see most of the time, is when a suggestion is imputed, it is cataloged “taken note of”, and replied to with irrelevant plans, projects and suggestions.

    When a plan achieves Objective 1, while costing LESS than the current system with BETTER coverage, it is worthwhile for translink to really look into it. Remind suggestors to provide cost implications and coverage changes in their suggestion.

    Anyhow, if a talk is initiated, the topic of discussion will always be extremely basic (and frustrating for the planners) as those discussions always are geared toward Types of technology (ie. Bus or Rail). Ask listeners to read Jarrett’s book “Human Transit” or go through the primer as it answers most legitimate questions.

  • By Eugene Wong, August 22, 2012 @ 5:23 pm

    @ Robert & Translink

    First of all, thanks for taking the time to write this. I appreciate the effort that you and the other editors have put into this.

    I want to add the disclaimer that somebody was rude to me on the phone just a few minutes ago. Even though it is unrelated to this, I’m still a bit cranky. That being said…

    I really wonder where you got the information from. I can think of a few examples that don’t seem to follow the steps.

    Roads are usually built, even though governments seem to be so cash strapped. There is no public consultation, as far as I know. The government wants to lower the tolls for bridges. I want to check my inbox and mailbox for a consultation on whether or not all governments should lower fare prices, but I must resist that urge, right? You guys tell us that it is only fair to raise fares to match inflation, but somehow that doesn’t seem to factor in road prices. I don’t understand how roads ever pass the sustainability test for any government. It’s all a lie.

    My #326 suggestions didn’t cost a lot of extra time or money, yet they got nicely tucked away in a folder “for later consideration”. Right. I was told that it wouldn’t be considered until after the implementation of the #388. Well, the #388 is here, and it doesn’t meet the needs of the community. My suggestion is sustainable, and it makes the system more efficient. Why is Translink such a skeptic all of a sudden? Did Translink compare my idea with the #388 idea, and then ask the community about it?

    Regarding the #326 realignment suggestion:
    * serves areas of strong demand
    * has strong anchors at both ends
    * more direct, simple, consistent, and legible than current alignment
    * unless King George is plugged up, maintains speed and reliability along entire route
    * reduces duplication and competition for transit service along 140 St.
    * matches service to demand, since there is a lot of demand for King George
    * more even distribution of stop activity
    * more even distribution of ridership activity by time of day

    8/9 isn’t bad, and the realignment didn’t make that 1 item worse than it is alreaedy.

    Public consultation isn’t an excuse, because the current alignment probably wasn’t built with consultation to begin with. Also, the planners seem to be way too busy to consult with the public. That would mean very little transit improvements, with mostly road building.

  • By Eugene Wong, August 22, 2012 @ 5:27 pm

    @ Kyle

    Thank you for articulating what I tried to say.

    Action!
    Action!
    Action!

  • By Sheba, August 22, 2012 @ 6:42 pm

    I can understand the crankiness Eugene – I keep getting a market research robocalling me at least every few days.

    Indeed I also wonder why roads are built with seemingly no increased costs passed on to the drivers who use them, while transit fares go up on a regular basis. There shouldn’t even be talk of lowering bridge tolls until said bridge is at least 75% paid off.

    I’ve been pondering an idea for New West buses that I think you might agree with Eugene, and I wanted to wait until another ‘planning’ post to see what you think about it. This is just for the east/west-ish routes.

    Currently there are routes along Columbia (could be thought of as 0 Ave), a route across 6th Ave, another that’s on 6th for the first half and then moves up to 8th, and a third that takes 8th for the first half and then moves up to 12th and 16th (technically Burnaby, but whatever).

    Now I look at this and see a small area with too closely spaced routes and overlap, and a lot of gaps. What if…

    Have a route across 6th and move the route on 8th to 10th. Now you think they should meet near 6th Ave and 6th St – so what if one route took 6th Ave for the first half of the route and 10th Ave for the second part, and the other vice versa, making an X that crosses on 6th St.

    Then for the 8th to 12th and 16th route, take the first part of the 112 route along 14th (it then drops down to New West Station) and have that go across and join up with where the bus moves to 16th.

    Admittedly there’s still a gap between Columbia and 6th Ave, but other than that the spacing between the routes is pretty reasonable, and the two main routes cross in the middle.

    What do you think – will it be filed away for future consideration like your suggested improvement’s for the 326 routing?

  • By SS, August 22, 2012 @ 6:44 pm

    Well, maybe they’re just waiting after the implementation of the B-Line on KGB. A B-Line (every 7.5min peak), plus local service (every 15min?), plus the 329 (every 30min)… maybe a bit too much? Dropping the local service to every 30min maybe is too little for the south side of KGB.

  • By Eugene Wong, August 22, 2012 @ 11:26 pm

    @ SS

    They probably are waiting for after the B-Line, but the thing is that they should always be working on big projects, and since we are growing, they should always have big projects on the go. People [i.e. me] who want car-free cities need to realize that getting 2 million people on transit is problematic, and I do understand that, but the thing is that Translink needs to know that there will always be big projects, which means that low priority routes will never get the necessary attention.

    If they don’t have time for the work, then they should just agree to do it, after some volunteers like us have talked through the idea.

    I don’t understand why they would need to drop local service. Would you elaborate, please?

    My suggestion is focused on creating the longest crosstown route for Surrey without adding service hours. My proposal would do that while making great connections to important destinations to the hospital, school, plant shop, etc.

    @ Sheba

    I like your idea. I think that it has merit, if I understand correctly. You are realigning 4 routes, to cover 6th Ave, 10th Ave, and 14th Ave. I definitely support the idea of sacrificing 8th Ave. I really hate to see it go, but ignoring it and covering 10th, we’d have a huge strip.

    So, I totally agree with your X. It covers an important area of 6th St. From 20th St to McBride, we would be able to create a strip, using 6th Ave & 10th Ave. The streets are so straight there are lots of people along those routes, with diverse uses.

    I thought that the #101 would have served 14th Ave quite nicely. It would overlap with the #116 on Griffiths for about 1/2 mile, but I think of that as an advantage, because it would allow riders to transfer. Both routes serve distinct markets, and the riders wouldn’t have to go all the way to the other station. After Griffiths, the #101 could just stay on 14th Ave as much as possible.

    If I understand correctly you wanted to divert the #112. I’m surprised that you wanted to make it turn north east, and avoid Edmonds. I think that that would be helpful, but the drawback is that Translink could balk at the idea, saying that they don’t have funds for it. Your #101 suggestion seems to have it covered already.

    I would go so far as to say that if 6th, 10th, and 14th are covered like that then Translink could almost ignore the streets, because those 3 avenues covers such a wide band, and 2 of the routes have great coverage as is.

    I think that I will refer to the area as The Strip: area between 20th St to McBride, and between 6th Ave to 10th Ave. The surrounding area is served as well, but once we include that in the name, then the area loses its shape a little.

    I think that having all New Westminster buses avoid Lougheed Station would be wise, because of the backtracking. It might be wise to have the #101 go to Production Station. I think that somebody mentioned Edmonds Station in the other discussion. An option would be to send the #101 to Edmonds and Production Way Station.

    If it were all about merit and sound ideas, then I think that your suggestion could be implement in a year, but sadly, I think that they won’t accept it, because they have to input it into a computer, then talk about it in their own commitee, and then present the idea for approval to a higher level of government. I think that they need GVRD approval. That’s 3 levels of approval, where ideas do not need to be acknowledged. It breaks my heart and makes me angry.

    I spent a few moments just staring at the map, hoping something glaring would show up, but no. I really think that you have something.

    On a slightly unrelated note, I noticed that the area is surrounded by water and parks: Deer Lake, Burnaby Lake, Fraser River, and of course the water joining the 3. When I tilt my head to look at New Westminster and that part of Burnaby, then it becomes easier to focus on the grid. I wonder if the planners need to do that.

  • By Ahmed, August 23, 2012 @ 8:49 am

    I am very disappointed about the service in North Delta. Instead of adding service we get service cuts. Please add more trips to the 312 line especially in the evening. The 312 goes on 1 hour service too early. I do not know why North Delta is neglected compared to Surrey. I know that Surrey is much bigger than us but we also pay the same share of taxes.

  • By Langdon, August 23, 2012 @ 10:59 am

    I am very disappointed when Translink barely do anything after a series of this kind of posts. Maybe it requires a area transit plan, but there are no news on the current North Vancouver one.

    Also, Translink should really promote some important bus route on radio or other commercials, not just promoting Golden Ears Bridge. #388 is a very important east-west route on which people can transfer to so many other routes. Please promote this and others, and upgrade it to a full day, 7 days a week service.

  • By Maxwell, August 23, 2012 @ 11:37 am

    Hello, I would like to see a change in the 29 bus going from Eillott st to 29th ave stn that has been stated to 20 mins which makes the service not reiable and 15 mins is better due to connection. Also, everyone that takes this route all the time wants it extended from 29th ave stn to Marine Drive stn Canada Line to occupy better service and accompany more passenger from taking another route to a skytrain station rather than the 100 22nd street stn.

  • By Sheba, August 23, 2012 @ 1:04 pm

    Eugene, I purposefully left out which stations to start and end the routes at. I’m kind of surprised that you would rather end some of them at Production Way instead of Lougheed, which is my preference as well. I also hope that one day there’s a bus at Sapperton Station instead of sending everything to Braid.

    My thoughts were only about the east-west routes. The main part of the 112 is the north-south section that takes Kingsway/12th down to New West Station. I can’t see any reason to take it out – just the question of should it take 14th Ave out to 12th or should it take another route out?

    I’d think about north-south routes in New West but that’s a lot of work, and as you noted, none of it is likely to happen. :(

  • By SS, August 23, 2012 @ 3:01 pm

    Not sure if I agree with terminating the #101 at Production instead of Lougheed
    * Production is not really a destination itself, beside transfer to SkyTrain/SFU or go to Costco, there’s not much there.
    * Beside going to SkyTrain or SFU, every other trip, especially going east, would require one extra transfer.
    * Rerouting will leave no service on Government road, so another route may have to be extended to cover it.
    * There is no room for layover at Production station as the bus loop is quite small. Even the 145 now have to layover on Lougheed Highway.
    * No other route terminate at Production besides the 145, so no resource sharing is possible unless you want to run 101 with articulated bus. No sharing = higher cost.
    * 101 is actually a route run by Port Coquitlam depot, and no other PoCo route goes to Production other than occasional trippers on 145 (again, with articulated bus).
    * Transfer the route to Burnaby depot might be problematic as the depot is already crowded and the fact that they’ll also have to take over all North Van routes within a few years.

  • By Cliff, August 23, 2012 @ 9:21 pm

    I really feel there’s been a lot of neglect in outlying areas. I routinely see service changes made to adapt to new neighbourhoods while established neighbourhoods seem to be treated with a “set it and forget it” style of planning. Even worse, these areas seem to be the first place planners go when looking to cut hours in favour of other areas of the system.

    It’s a vicious circle. In order to promote transit use, you need to have service. In order to justify service you need transit use.

    But why is the onus on John Q. Public to change? Why should he change from a comfortable single occupant vehicle he can use at any time to waiting in the rain for upwards of an hour? That’s unreasonable. But it’s the norm in these outlying areas. So while people wag their fingers and say that people need to use transit, it’s just not feasible!

    If you want a group of people to begin using transit, it needs to be efficient, frequent, and easy to access. After several months of dodging cars on Lougheed Highway, crossing overpasses not intended for pedestrians, and being stopped by police because they thought I was going to trespass on the tracks, I got sick of it. The alternative? Wait upwards of an hour to board a series of buses to travel a distance of less than one kilometre. Is it any surprise I’ve switched?

    The fixes to these problems are rather simple and would add no time or even SAVE travel time without incurring loss of service whatsoever. So, then, why are these fixes not being implemented? Because it’s all set it and forget it. I can’t see how any attention has been paid to the area I lived in and others like it, because many of the solutions that can so easily be applied are never even looked at.

    What do we need to see? Planners to pay more attention to these long neglected areas. This can be done by paying attention to what people here are and have been saying for the last few years. And more importantly, put some of these ideas to use. If it can’t be done, tell us why. It took several phone calls to three different governmental agencies and nearly two hours over the span of a week to find out why a stop was never installed on Lougheed Highway at Coleman Avenue for the 159 and 169. A whole neighbourhood left excited by the construction of this stop was scratching their heads thinking they had been forgotten; something that neighbourhood has gotten quite used to.

    So, we need you guys to look at areas that have been neglected and see how they can be improved. Surveys and social media are important to this. When you have an idea of what people want, DO SOMETHING.

    I know you guy are looking for more general ideas and feedback, so I’ve put this at the bottom. These are some specific examples I’ve come up with while on my many harrowing journeys from home to transit:

    Re-route the 169 Braid Station to use Cape Horn to Coleman during all times of the day and towards Coquitlam Station via Schoolhouse in off-peak hours. Place new stops westbound at Dawes Hill, San Antonio, and 100 metres before Warrick. New stops eastbound at 100 metres north of Lougheed, Lucille Starr, Mundy, Warrick, San Antonio, and Dawes Hill. Sharing stops with the 156 and 177 where applicable.

    Instead of having the 159 Braid Station turn directly onto the onramp to Lougheed, simply have it use the Bus Lane and place a stop on the corner. Then, the 159 can still turn right onto the onramp without having detour anywhere.

    If possible, simply divide the 156 route into two halves that are interlined: 156 Lougheed Station/Coquitlam Rec. Centre and 158 Lougheed Station/Coquitlam Rec. Centre. Re-route the the portion from Lougheed to Braid Station to terminate at Lougheed Station instead. The destination is Lougheed Station, not New Westminster. Those going on to Coquitlam Centre can take the 97 or 152 both of which have the same travel time as the 169 or can otherwise transfer at Coquitlam Rec. Centre. Having to travel through another zone (Braid – Zone 2 ONLY) and through two other cities to get to Lougheed or Coquitlam Malls is borderline sadistic. The zoning in this area is unfair and punishes those trying to use transit. The alternative is transferring at Brunette and Lougheed and traversing a dangerous intersection, then walking along a narrow sidewalk to wait under some low hanging trees.

    Better stop placement would go a long way too. The 156′s stops have been adjusted over the years and are now bunched up or spread too far, and are just inconvenient. The NB stop on Palliser at Mundy needs to be brought up to LeClair. The two stops on NB Mundy at Kugler and Gale need to be consolidated; they’re less than 100 metres apart!

    The 177 would provide better service if made to turn at Fawcett instead of Schooner. The Casino can be accessed just fine from the rear as well.

    The 152 should be running down Chilko for all trips and for every other trip when the 143 isn’t running. The 143 provides fine service on Mariner without the 152.

    I wonder how many of these will be even looked at, let alone implemented?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, August 24, 2012 @ 9:57 am

    Hi guys,

    As is usual, I’ve been sending your comments regarding these posts up to our planning staff. And I wanted to stress that we really do hear you on the changes you want to see in the system and totally understand your frustrations. We’re often in agreement with your thoughts, but the pace of change when it comes to implementing transit can sometimes be rather slow. Long story short, we are listening: it just takes time to make the changes you’re asking for!

    Our planning team shared this response which I think captures the challenge well.

    We are constantly receiving suggestions for service improvements and route redesigns. Suggestions submitted through TransLink’s online customer feedback form or by phone are forwarded directly to service planners in the network management team. We also have processes in place to gather feedback from operators, service planners at our operating companies, municipal staff, and other stakeholders. We do often reference established plans or approved projects in our response to customer suggestions since these can help frame issues raised within the context of TransLink’s broader goals and objectives. We do our best to thoroughly investigate all potential service changes using the 4-step process outlined in this post. The simple reality is that we can’t do everything. There are a lot of initiatives, big and small, that we would like to implement over the coming years, but we can only do so much every quarter. To complicate matters, there are new ideas constantly flowing in (like some of the great ideas coming out of this discussion).

    The network management program is all about action! It’s the implementation mechanism for turning these ideas into reality and working towards the vision of our regional transportation strategy and area transit plans (which have their own in-depth public consultation programs). Unfortunately it’s a slow process, it can take anywhere from 2 months to a year for an approved change to actually hit the road, depending on what’s required. And if we’re going to be seriously impacting our current customers we want to consult with them ahead of that. We’re actually hoping to come out in the Fall with some ideas for changes to the network we’d like to make in the near term. So stay tuned!

  • By dan t, August 24, 2012 @ 11:12 am

    @Cliff

    I’d like to respectfully disagree with your 156/158 suggestion: I live almost right in the middle of the 156 route so therefore I can take the bus to either Lougheed or Braid station to catch a Skytrain (I live at Gale/Mundy, it’s a difference of 5 minutes in either direction). Invariably, on my way to UBC, I will always take it towards Braid so I can avoid the incredible amount of crowding that occurs between Lougheed and Production during the school year. Adding another bus to Lougheed will only increase the load at this station instead of distributing it more evenly among the two. I know you and the planners will be looking for specific suggestions so I think a better solution for this is to declare Braid Station a 2/3 fare zone, as is with Lougheed.

    Oh, and I agree: get rid of the Mundy/Kugler NB stop, many drivers miss it anyways as its very well hidden by bushes and trees. Disclaimer: I live at Gale so I may be slightly biased…

    One other stop peculiarity is actually in Vancouver… on the 84, Olympic Village and Ash Street stops westbound are no less than 100m apart from another, and this is on a so-called “Express” route. Just my two cents…

  • By Kyle, August 24, 2012 @ 11:13 am

    @Planning Team,

    “Unfortunately it’s a slow process, it can take anywhere from 2 months to a year for an approved change to actually hit the road” **cough**bureaucracy**cough

    @Cliff, those are some very comprehensive suggestions.

    Anyway’s I’ve trying to formulate a plan for Burnaby/NW for some time now, and hope to have it publicly available for criticism in the coming while.

    @Translink, Any chance you could PUBLISH some of those ideas you have been speaking of? Of course, Buzzers can always provide input, but first, you must tell us WHAT those plans are.

    For Example, you changed (or invented) the 14 without asking anyone. Time for a change of scenery. We would appreciate if you showed us some of those backroom “improvements” that may take a year or 2 to implement.

    After all, “Public Transit” is funded by the Public, and is for the public, so it should be decided by the public, Right?

  • By SS, August 24, 2012 @ 11:34 am

    @Cliff

    The west/north side of Braid station bus loop (from the 159 stop to the 177 stop) is in zone 3.

    I agree there should be some extra stops in that long gap on Lougheed Highway (Coleman and Colony Farm?) But I doubt the rerouting of 169 is going to happen since they’re going to cancel it within 4 years anyways. I guess the idea can be saved for the 159.

    I also agree that the 152 should be changed and should use Chilko. The current routing was in place at a time when 143 only have 6 trips a day compared to now, where it run every 10min during peak. The 143 should get weekend and late evening service and replace the western portion of 156. I guess this would make more sense after the Evergreen Line is completed.

    The northern PoCo route is a mess too. It just seems to be so disconnected from the rest of the system. Currently, there are only 3 options to get to SkyTrain: taking 3 different buses, waiting for 25-55min for a missed transfer, or taking a 45min tour of the area to get to Coq station. I know some people from the River Spring area who take the C38 from Coquitlam Station that loop around the Coquitlam Centre area, then another loop around Port Coquitlam Centre, then a third loop around the entire northern PoCo before finally get to their destination. It seems very inefficient for having someone taking up so much resource for what should be a very short trip, and causing crowing in an area that they don’t even need to go through. Maybe they could redesign the route similar to what they did to Westwood Plateau – run one end of the route to Coquitlam station and leave the other end to PoCo Station:
    * Give the Coquitlam Centre portion of the C38 to the C36
    * Break the C38 loop at David, route both over the bridge at David Avenue (still no transit service over the bridge yet!)
    * Connect one C38 branch with the C30. The other one.. maybe straight down Pipeline?
    * Reroute the Prairie portion of C37 to Coquitlam Station, essentially replace the 189

  • By Eugene Wong, August 24, 2012 @ 11:41 am

    1 thing that caught my attention was the need for community feedback. If the committee can’t find time to get the feedback, then that means the suggestion gets “foldered”.

  • By Scott, August 24, 2012 @ 1:43 pm

    I’ve submitted feedback on the 320/502 routes so many times and nothing is ever changed. I’m writing this on behalf of several regular riders of the 320 who live in Cloverdale.

    For those of us in Cloverdale, we take the 320 Surrey Ctrl Stn and to get to skytrain faster, transfer along Fraser Highway between 168th-152nd street. This current sheet and the one upcoming, the 320 times have been pushed back 5 minutes roughly from leaving downtown Cloverdale at the timed stop (59795) and therefore you miss the connection at Fraser Hwy and 168th st for the 502 and have to wait 15 minutes. Why isn’t there a timed stop for the 320/502 at 55351 (Fraser Hwy/168th St) or at Fraser/156th st? It would benefit everyone as lots of people transfer between both buses.

    Example of poor scheduling

    502 scheduled at 55351 at 09:20am
    320 scheduled at 55351 at 09:23am

    Before these sheets, the 320 would arrive before the 502 and the transfer would be much easier and efficient. It takes roughly 30 minutes if the transfer is perfect and traffic isn’t bad to get to skytrain. It is 50% longer if the connection doesn’t work due to poor scheduling. Can scheduling please fix the timing and add a timed stop at Fraser/168th or Fraser/156th for the 320 and 502 so connections are improved.

    Also the 320 Langley/Fleetwood schedules are ridiculous. How does the same route (The 320 Langley) get 7 minutes to get from Guildford Ex to Fraser/156th st which is impossible (The timing is 5min from Guildford Ex to Fraser/152nd with 8 lights in that part and busy stops) and the 320 Fleetwood gets 13 minutes to do the same distance? Fix the timing of the route please.

    In addition, running hourly service to Langley after 19:00 on Saturdays/Sundays is ridiculous. It is time to increase service on weekends so those of us who live in Cloverdale don’t have to wait ages for a bus. On Saturdays/Sundays I can take the 502 that leaves Central at 19:15 and walk from Fraser/184 to downtown Cloverdale (58th/177B) faster then waiting for the bus that is hourly.

    If planning could respond that would be great.

  • By Eugene Wong, August 24, 2012 @ 2:34 pm

    @ All

    There was a time, when I was really sad that I never became a transit planner for our community. Then I became angry at the way things were.

    After reading all these comments, including mine, I think that it was better that I didn’t become one after all. ;^D

    @ Translink

    Here’s a suggestion for the #480.

    Every time I take it on Tuesday morning, I find that the bus is mostly empty. Perhaps you could short turn the #41 at certain times, and let it feed the #420. This will give more frequency east of Granville, where it can serve SkyTrain. Perhaps you could do that with any bus that overlaps the #480.

    Here is a suggestion for SkyTrain during non-rush hours. Break apart the trains, so that they travel by lengths of 2 cars. Let them travel at the highest frequency that the tracks will allow. If there is not enough capacity, then add more cars to the trains, but always keep the tracks at full capacity.

    I resent having to wait for 8 minutes during non-rush hours, and then seeing a 4 car train pull in. It’s very offensive.

    Currently, you seem to be counting riders and then counting cars, and then sending them out in 4s. I know for a fact that Translink never understood my proposal when I first made it.

    I don’t mean to sound like a tattle tale, but if I don’t get results on the SkyTrain suggestion, then I’m going to report you to Jarrett Walker. The bottom line is that with 8 minute frequency on SkyTrain, we could easily miss a connection.

    Translink, your folders must be very full by now. ;^)

  • By Sheba, August 24, 2012 @ 4:44 pm

    I also second everyone’s suggestion about TransLink *posting* route change ideas. So many of us on here have made suggestions (in some cases going back many years) and nothing has been done about any of them – so how are we supposed to believe you now when you say “We do our best to thoroughly investigate all potential service changes”?

    Eugene, the only problem I see with running shorter two car trains during quieter times is that during rush hour longer trains are needed, which means they’ll need to shorten/lengthen trains a few times a day. I can’t see that happening at a station, so they’ll have to pull trains out of service to do it and then put them back into service. That’ll lead to erratic times between trains.

    I could certainly see them doing it in the evening though, as then trains would only need to be shortened after evening rush hour, and could be lengthened again while out of service overnight.

  • By SS, August 24, 2012 @ 5:48 pm

    @Eugene

    For the 2016 train order, seems like all trains are going to come in 4s so they won’t be able to break them apart.

    I guess the problem should be somewhat alleviated when they’re splitting the Millennium Line after Evergreen Line opens. With only 56 cars (28 new plus 28 transferred), it would only enough to run 2-car trains to achieve the promised 3min frequency since 26 trains would be needed. The smaller train would certainly improve frequency and efficiency during off-peak, but I’m not sure if it will give enough capacity during peak hours…

  • By Cliff, August 25, 2012 @ 8:01 pm

    The 169 already detours westbound down Cape Horn to Coleman already when Lougheed is backed up. In addition, when the 154 used to have trips that terminated at Cape Horn at Mundy, it would turn left to head back to the PoCo depot. Some helpful drivers even let me stay on after the last stop and dropped me off on Cape Horn near my home!

    Cape Horn is and has been used for buses in the past and sticking a a couple bus stops, at least in the westbound direction, for the 169 seems rather trivial. The transfer point created at Cape Horn at Mundy would also be a nice bonus and would help to prevent the now unsafe practice used by many there of walking along Lougheed to Schoolhouse to board the 169 or 159.

    The 159 change is so small and easy to do, I’d be dumbfounded if it weren’t implemented after the planners here read it. It requires a detour of less than 25 feet and the placement of a bus stop next to a bus lane that is currently only used by one route.

    I agree the other changes are a little bit more difficult to make without additional funding, but the two changes in above in this post that I’m talking about is really rather simple to make and would cost very little in terms of money and time to implement.

    The next easiest change would be the 152 change. It already makes the occasional trip down Chilko, so the stops already exist. Mariner is already serviced by the 143 and the portion of Mariner between Chilko and Como Lake has no destinations whatsoever. The Chilko re-routing could also provide better a better connection between the 152 and the 177 allowing more efficient transfers to be made for those travelling to Mayfair and the Pacific Reach area.

    And I completely agree about the 156/158 thing. But TransLink has been made aware of this issue and has chosen not to do anything about it. That being said, the only other solution I see is to try and divert buses away from Braid Station and have them use Lougheed Station. In the future, I hope the 159 and 791 will be rerouted to take Highway 1 and utilize the bus only ramps that have been constructed but will otherwise go unused without the return of the 333. If and when one can take the SkyTrain between Braid and Lougheed without paying for an extra zone will using Braid as a terminus be practical for passengers.

    Service and routing in this area has been allowed to deteriorate for the last 15 years. Peak hour frequency for the 156 was changed from 15 to 30 minutes. The 152 was rerouted to no longer serve the Cape Horn area or go to Vancouver. Routing has not been adapted to serve new developments. Austin Station (Austin at Mariner) and the commercial area between Brunette and Schoolhouse on Lougheed come to mind.

    This set it and forget it style of planning is so painfully evident here.

  • By Eugene Wong, August 30, 2012 @ 11:23 pm

    @ Ahmed

    The #312 gets so little service, because there are so few riders. It’s the way things are.

    If you want better frequency, then I suggest looking at the #640 to see if the bus passes near your house. I know that it stops at 92A Ave, and other places near there. Those stops are all near the #312. The avenue is like a short cut. Hopefully, the #640 alternates with the #312. Alternate routings can sometimes be very helpful.

    Also, you can consider taking the #316 and walking a bit more.

    These ideas don’t solve your problems, but they do reduce the amount of waiting.

    @ SS
    @ Sheba

    Regarding the #101 at Production instead of Lougheed, I wouldn’t want to do that, if it caused problems with the parking and loss of service on Government. Losing service on Government is an option, but it would have to be worth it. I only suggested it, because I hoped to reduce overlaping the same area as SkyTrain.

    It would be interesting to see ridership statistics on Government.

    A benefit of sending the #101 to Edmonds and Production is that there is less time on the road, which means that there is more turn around time. Unfortunately, this does not allow for an increase in frequency, but it does allow for simplicity, and the time saved can create a bit of wiggle room for when the bus is running a few minutes late. In other words, the next trip can still depart on time.

    @ Sheba

    Regarding the #112, if I understand you correctly, the 112 St portion is fine, and I agree with that. I think that the Kingsway-14th-Ave portion is just fine. I think that it maintains the spirit of the grid much more that way, than if travels northeast on 14th. If it does travel northeast on 14th Ave, then it takes on a very different shape, the service on 112 St becomes a head or tail of the snake illustration that I mentioned. Also, there would be so much overlap on Cariboo and Government, which would be a waste.

    @ SS

    Regarding the 2016 train order, that is interesting news. I still don’t understand why they can’t break the *current* trains apart and join them again. I realize that it would take a lot of time, but how much could it possibly cost? Why can’t they automate this? Even if it required a person to do it, then why not? It would improve frequency. I think that it takes 5-30 minutes.

    I’m almost afraid to ask SkyTrain control, because I won’t believe them.

    Also, they don’t have to break apart every train. They just have to break apart enough to keep frequency high. That is all. I’m talking about the same number of cars in the best configuration possible for high frequency.

    This is especially true on weekends, when they don’t need all cars throughout the day. They can run trains up to Edmonds Station, and then send the trains to the yards, and bring out trains that meet the needs of the time. People can just transfer trains. I admit that it would be annoying, but it would have an overall benefit.

    It’s almost 2013. If they start in the new year, then that means 3 years of frequent SkyTrain service.

    SkyTrain could brag about statistics, but it means nothing, when I have to wait 8 minutes instead of 4, and then I get to the other station, and miss a connection by 1 minute, and then have to wait for 29 more!

    37 minutes of waiting! Thanks, SkyTrain.

    @ Translink

    I’m getting tired of waiting for common sense. You guys don’t have do any this, because you own cars or live in Vancouver, or you just don’t need to use the service at the hours we do.

    Every time I read a blog post by Jarrett Walker, I’m baffled by the fact that you guys never seem to think in a similar manner.

    I thought your blog posts would finally force you to interact with us, but it seems to have only riled us up and allowed you to put up another barrier [i.e. "Well, you have to read those blog posts to see why your idea was rejected." or "Okay, your idea conforms to all requirements, so we'll put it in a folder for consideration! That's what we said in the blog posts! You can't be surprised!"].

    It’s not as if your system [i.e. it's definitely not ours] is a bad system. You’ve done some neat stuff, but I’m sick and tired of wanting better service.

    My suggestion connects the #326 directly to King George, allowing passengers a simpler option to White Rock, in a more grid-like way, but your way of doing things *forces* them to go to downtown Surrey, and I hate you for it. You are mean, unkind, and inconsiderate. If this is untrue, then tell us all of the things that holding back at least some of our suggestions. List them out, 1 by 1, and then let us change each item, so that you can be freed to make those changes. Better yet, let go, and let us make those changes.

    I used to go to the Fleetwood library, from 74A Ave & 123 St. Nobody should need to touch downtown Surrey to do that. It should be an option, but nobody should go that route.

    I went to this page
    http://www.translink.ca/en/Be-Part-of-the-Plan/Transportation-Improvements/2005-2010-Transportation-Improvements.aspx
    to see what kinds of improvements that you had made in the last while, because I couldn’t even name 1. I am impressed to see that you actually did do a significant amount of improving.

    In your defense, a lot of dissatisfaction is probably a result of your success, in that you make the changes incrementally instead of waiting for 10 years. This allows people forget it much more easily. I now blame myself for my bad memory.

    However, I think that you are a little over confident. Things like new exchanges and converting conventional bus routes to community shuttle routes don’t automatically improve frequency, so I don’t think that that is a fair claim.

    I almost was happier, but I got riled up again, when I saw that you reinforced the FTN in Surrey, while ignoring the #326. How could you look at it, while ignoring the buses that should connect to it?? I think that it’s because you refuse to accept the idea that the #326 should be directly connected to King George, or that we are in need of a crosstown route.

    The #326 is probably the best crosstown route that Surrey is going to get in the next 10 years, all you can do is tuck my idea in a folder.

    As you might suspect, this complaint isn’t just about the #326. It’s about all routes that need updating.

  • By Sheba, August 31, 2012 @ 12:40 am

    I was just thinking about posting about buses in New West/Burnaby again Eugene, and here you are posting too.

    About the routes around Production Way and Lougheed stations. I agree that it would be more direct to send the 101 to Production Way. To make space for it (and have another more somewhat grid-like route) I’d move the final portion of the 101 that’s on Government St to the 110 instead.

    The 110 goes from Burnaby Lake Station along Government Road – then instead of going up to Production Way Station it would continue along Government St and end at Lougheed Station. The section that would drop from the 110 (north between Production Way and Lougheed stations) would be covered by the 136 instead.

    Admittedly that would drop 3 stops on Lougheed Hwy between Production Way and Lougheed stations. If there’s enough demand for a bus there, then why isn’t there a bus route that covers a lot more of Lougheed Hwy?

    I was thinking of an Edmonds to Production Way route for the 101. I was just drawing it on the map showing it start off on the route that the 112 starts on from Edmonds Station. I wasn’t making any changes to the 112 route as it is now (as that would be a north/south route, and I haven’t been thinking about them).

    You may remember a discussion we had about the C3, C4 and C9 and how they all start from New West Station and pass Columbia Station (the C9 then continues along Columbia and I haven’t make any comments about it as I wasn’t thinking of changing it).

    The C3 and C4 both start the same – from New West Station to Columbia Station, and then up 4th St to Agnes across to 1st St. It would make far more sense to change the C3 so that it drives up 8th (the New West Station stop is already there) to Royal Ave and continue along that to 1st St and then continue the route from there.

    That would remove some of the overlap of those routes and fill in a little bit of the gap in service, as well as driving right past Douglas College and near New West City Hall before reaching Queens Park.

    One of the things that drove me nuts when I lived in N Delta and Surrey was the lack of crosstown buses. People have been asking for east/west buses out there for decades. Is it any wonder I moved from there to Burnaby?

  • By Kelly, August 31, 2012 @ 6:55 am

    While adding comments to the big translink bosses, There’s not enough nightbuses to herd over to West Vancouver, Pitt Meadows/Maple Ridge, South Surrey/White Rock, Langley, South Delta, etc. where it needs the most. After 3:00 am doesn’t cut the fact they you will need to pay a cab fare that costs an arm & a leg. It’s not fair to the customers who don’t drive on the roads at night.

  • By Eugene Wong, September 11, 2012 @ 1:11 am

    Your suggestion for the #101, #110, & #136 are good. It would feel much more grid-like, and easier to understand. 1 of them stays north of the tracks, except for connecting to the stations, and the another stays below, and another just connects. These are perfect candidates, because they don’t require any extra service hours.

    Your suggestion for realigning a bus to go on 8th St is a bit problematic, because the point of the overlap is to add extra service on the current route, if I understand correctly.

  • By Eugene Wong, September 11, 2012 @ 1:40 am

    :^D I forgot to mention that the previous comment is directed to Sheba.

    @ All

    I checked with Translink today, after I realized that Translink probably didn’t do a public consultation on the #595 change. In the grand scheme of things, they seem to be picking and choosing what gets fast tracked and what gets foldered. According to the public relations guy on the phone, the #595 has so little ridership on that part of the route that Translink could do it without much fuss.

    I could argue the same points regarding the #326, and in fact, I did, if I recall correctly, yet my crosstown idea was foldered.

    That being said, I think that not consulting the public on the #595 is good, because sometimes it’s a waste of everybody’s time.

    A while ago, if I recall correctly, I said that if Translink didn’t shape up, then I’d report it to Jarrett Walker. I was being mostly silly, since Jarrett is only contracted to Translink every now and then. However, I was quite serious in the sense that I wanted to get his feedback on our disgruntled dispositions. I think that a few of his blog posts have indirectly shed some light on it.

    This blog post talks about frequency and amounts of frequency.
    http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/HumanTransit/~3/TyvHLIP0DOY/how-frequent-is-freedom.html
    I find it remarkable that he uses a hunch, loosely speaking, to figure out the right amount in various contexts.

    I suspect that Translink does that as well. Despite the various blog posts about transit primers, I truly believe that the planners read our ideas to see if the ideas are supportive of current initiatives. As soon as it is determined that our ideas are not supportive, Translink figures out how to decline our suggestions or figure out which folders to put them in. At least that’s my impression.

    That’s not a bad method, when the ideas are not actionable right away, but it gets annoying when thought out ideas are treated in the same manner. That’s why I think that these blog posts only created more dissatisfaction. After all, who reads the primers in hopes of getting more rejection or the same amount of it? I read them, and then expect better results *automatically*. These blog posts are essentially a check list for me, and when I do my part, I end up expecting results.

    That is why I think that they should have just dropped the issue instead. Perhaps Translink should have discouraged us from even trying to think about the ideas. We would have been much happier, even if less ideas resulted in the worse transit. Ignorance is bliss.

    This is especially true today. Today, I missed a couple of buses. Due to the amount of time that I had, I wasn’t really upset. I was able to make use of the extra waiting time, and I wasn’t late, so everything was okay. I honestly wondered about how wonderful transit would be if it were always this blissful. And it was a crosstown bus too [i.e. #364]!

Other Links to this Post

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

Please read our Participation Guidelines before you comment.