Translink Buzzer Blog

Service optimization 2013: your feedback helps move bus changes forward

TransLink service optimization consultations 2012

A snap from one of our service optimization consultations in fall 2012.

Heads up: after a ton of consultation, we’ve now finalized plans for bus service changes slated for late 2013.

You can now download the full report that details our updated plans for major bus route changes in 2013, and summarizes the public feedback!

Here’s a quick recap of what we’re talking about:

  • Service optimization is the ongoing TransLink program looking at how to make the best use of our transit resources, guided by 10 principles confirmed by the public.
  • For optimization in 2013, TransLink staff proposed changes to 34 bus routes across the region.
  • We did extensive public consultation on our proposals from November-December 2012. (11 open houses! Online questionnaire! More than 800 comments received!)
  • Based on this feedback, we’ve modified some of our proposals and confirmed the others.
  • And on Monday Feb 25, we’ve posted our Consultation Summary report at translink.ca/serviceop2013, which details our updated plans for bus route changes, and summarizes public feedback.

Not in place until late 2013/early 2014, and changes vs cuts

Now all caps for the important bit: THESE CHANGES ARE NOT SLATED TO TAKE PLACE UNTIL LATE 2013/EARLY 2014! They likely won’t go ahead until December 2013 at the earliest, given the time needed to get bus stops and vehicles in place and allow for more detailed planning and scheduling.

And another all caps: THESE ARE BUS CHANGES, NOT CUTS. These changes don’t reduce the overall transit service hours in the region—instead, they reallocate the hours to better match where people are travelling. Put another way: there are reductions of some services, but in most cases they are matched by reinvestments of service in the same area (or a redesign of the services to better match the area).

Your feedback spurs revised proposals

Most of our proposed changes went over quite well, but a few drew a significant response.

So we’ve revised several proposals based on public feedback, including:

  • C1/C2 – a revised proposal was developed in consultation with community groups in Burnaby Heights, retaining the current route and reducing frequencies during off-peak periods only [link to revised proposal PDF (will be under Burnaby arrow on service op page)]
  • 211 – based on the range of concerns raised over the proposed removal of the Fairway Drive loop, we will be retaining the existing route instead
  • C48 & C49 – a revised proposal was created to ensure service coverage in Thornhill, Ruskin and Whonnock is maintained, leaving the C49 unchanged and improving the usefulness of the C48 with a connection to West Coast Express and extension via McClure Drive in Albion [link to revised proposal PDF (will be under Maple Ridge arrow on service op page)]

Again, you can see all the details over at translink.ca/serviceop2013!

Thank you

Finally, we’d like to give a huge shout-out to everyone who participated in the service optimization process. Your contributions help us build real transit solutions that work for our communities!

And we’re happy to say that so far, service optimization has been returning successful results. In 2011, the program helped TransLink provide 14 million new rides without added investment in service, increasing bus productivity by 3.1 per cent and generating a 5.5 per cent increase in transit revenue.

Feel free to leave any questions or followups in the comments!


9 Comments

  • By SS, February 26, 2013 @ 1:53 pm

    Ouch for the 177.. The last time I took it on a late Sunday morning, it actually got a decent 40 boardings. Hope the 31 riders who are not either taking the bus end-to-end or using solely the United Blvd portion would be able to find their alternatives…

  • By Sheba, February 26, 2013 @ 8:17 pm

    I wonder why the 211 was left alone when most people opposed the change, while the 314 also had most people oppose the change but it’s going to happen.

    I personally find one of the comments on the 312 hysterically funny. Way back when, the bus loop used to be around Scottsdale Mall, but the mall decided it didn’t want it (which I thought at the time was a monumentally stupid decision). So the bus loop was moved to it’s current location.

    Now “Corporation of Delta expressed concerns about the loss of this one-directional loop around Scottsdale Mall”. The mall didn’t want buses and now there’s complaints that there won’t be any buses.

  • By Cliff, February 26, 2013 @ 10:43 pm

    The 177 cut was opposed by 23 people who attended. Among routes slated for cuts, this one ranked 4th for those opposing it, yet this decrease in service is still being pushed through.

    And what do we get instead? “Oh, throw them a couple stops on the 169.”

    I’ve said it here before and I’ll say it here again. South Coquitlam, particularly the Cape Horn area, is the go-to for planners looking to cut corners and save a few bucks. Any time there’s a need to cut back hours, Cape Horn is at the head of the line.

    We lost 15 minute PM frequency for the 154 (prior to 156). We lost the more southerly 152 routing on Cape Horn. We lost the bus stop on Coleman at Lougheed due to poor planning. Poor bus stop reassignments has led to a ridiculously close 100m~ gap between stops at Mundy at Kugler and an equally ridiculously long gap between Hillcrest and Dawes Hill.

    I don’t know how the construction has affected this now, but bus service was/is so poor here, people were crossing over the Cape Horn interchange by foot and walking along the CN tracks to get to the 158/C35/177 stop on United at Taft. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen the CN police sitting near the tracks to stop trespassers.

    Ah well, I shouldn’t have expected any different I guess. The vibe I got from all this is that the cuts were going to happen regardless of how many people opposed. The fact that 23 of us are opposed meant nothing.

  • By Tone1point1, February 27, 2013 @ 1:24 am

    The only change that pertains to me as a West Ender is C21/C23 and I remain perplexed by why we need a short bus running up and down Davie at all. We already have the 6 which runs as far as Granville. That leaves a mere six blocks between Granville and Pacific with no service. The furthest anyone in Yaletown has to walk to a transit connection is about three blocks. That is about what people living between Davie and Robson are used to now.
    If the 23 ran west of Denman to the edge of Stanley Park and looped back and down Beach towards the stadium with a stop at Davie and Denman to allow people to transfer to the #5/6 then I think that is more than suitable service for the area. As it is now I think that West End is rather spoiled transit wise. How many ways do we need to get to downtown or to the Expo and Canada lines?

  • By SS, February 27, 2013 @ 1:30 am

    @Cliff

    It just seems to me that no one really cared about the Coquitlam changes. For the ones where changed were revised, they are actually really big news item on the community newspaper. For the Maple Ridge ones, drivers of the route actually informed the riders about the potential changes. For North Burnaby, someone actually post the information on every bus stop and ask everyone to attend the open house and oppose the change. But for Coquitlam, I can’t find anything outside TransLink’s site other than the new service to Burke Mtn and one sentence for a list of affected route numbers. Just look at the open house attendance vs. the number of changes. From here I already know the 177 would be dead even before the end of consultation period. So I didn’t really bother to submit my response until the very last day. None of my 189-riding friends know the proposal. No one I asked on the 177 knows the potential change. Even the city hall doesn’t seems to know/care. I think TransLink really need to do a better job on informing the public about the open house instead of relying on the community. Why couldn’t they put the information on affected bus stops, like those little notes they put on the stops when there is a change in service. I don’t think many people actually read those ads on the community newspaper..

  • By Sheba, February 27, 2013 @ 10:19 am

    They could have also posted basic info (so they people knew to look online for more) at Skytrain stations and bus loops. A lot more people would have known about this service optimization then.

  • By Mike, February 27, 2013 @ 3:03 pm

    Network optimization is done by many transit systems and makes total sense. It particularly makes sense for transit systems which operate very frequent service, and therefore reallocation of resources does not cause much hardship as a bus going from every 7 minutes to 8 minutes does not cause much pain.

    The issues I have with the Translink optimization is that Translink has not talked about, or in the case of the provincial audit, defend the fact that public transit must sometimes operate services that don’t have good ridership or cost recovery.
    This must be done to offer service to all areas of the region, and to offer a basic level of service to the majority of the region.

    Optimizing service by cutting low frequency routes does not make sense. As it is probably the low frequency service is causing the poor ridership.

    So overall I agree some changes were needed. But Translink has to remember they are in the public transit business. You may think cutting a low ridership route makes sense. But remember that the transit system is a network. Riders on those low ridership routes also transfer onto high ridership routes. And if people can’t get home at midnight to some part of the region, due to optimization, then that is potentially ridership lost during the day and on busy routes.

  • By Cliff, February 27, 2013 @ 3:38 pm

    Has the following idea ever been studied?

    The 156 could be routed down Cape Horn to Dawes Hill, then back up to Mundy. The coverage on Brunette between Dawes Hill and Cape Horn is close enough to be able to justify moving service off Mundy on the portion between Cape Horn and Dawes Hill. If you think about it, the only stop negatively affected by this would be the one at Hillside. And even then, only in the slightest by a very small group of people as they and the majority would still have easy access to the route by boarding at Cape Horn at Mundy or Brunette and Hillside/Wiltshire, not to mention the new stops on Cape Horn!

    Stops can be placed at Mundy (Replacing NB FS Mundy), Warrick, San Antonio, San Juan, and between Warrick and Monashee in the northbound diredtion and at Dawes Hill (replacing SB FS Mundy), between Monashee and Warrick, Santiago, San Antonio, and 50m before Warrick in the southbound direction.

    There are sidewalks at all the stop locations listed, with the exception of Cape Horn at Mundy and Cape Horn at Warrick in the northbound direction. Very little, if any, additional infrastructure would need to be created for this route apart from the creation of bus zones and signage.

    This routing adds an additional 3 minutes to the current routing according to Google Maps, although likely slightly more due to the bus having to climb an extra hill in each direction.

    The increase in transit accessibility could be one of the best for what appears to be such a small re-route. I only wish I were able to view what kind of costs and considerations would be required for such a re-route.

    I really hope there’s a planner out there that’s looking at this. This really could be the fix this area needs. Even if it doesn’t provide a much needed routing to Coquitlam Centre. Continuing to trim away service in this area is unacceptable. At least there are alternative options with the other proposals, but in Cape Horn, we’re talking about a full blown removal of service from an entire neighbourhood.

  • By Jordan, February 28, 2013 @ 4:22 pm

    @Tone1point1

    As a fellow West Ender, I’d have to say I welcome the expansion of the C23/21! The 5/6 are the slowest buses in the system and often full. The C23/21 also serve a completely different service: allowing easy access in/out of the West End via the Canada Line. The 5/6 are geared toward getting West Enders into downtown. Imagine having to take the 6 all the way up to Georgia and Granville to catch the Canada Line to the airport or BC Ferries. It take forever to travel that portion of Granville St too!

    As well, if the C23 is expanded to VCC-Clark (as some have suggested) if would improve access to the West End from Burnaby and other Millennium line stations by reducing excessive transfers.

    I’ve certainly noticed the 5/6 are so slow sometime that it’s quicker to walk into downtown. I’m fortunate to be a quick walker, however there are many seniors in the West End that are not and are forced to take 5/6.

    I’d be interested to see how these C23/C21 changes affect travel patterns to Second Beach and Stanley Park, especially in the summer. It definitely improves access.

    While I’m here, I’m also a big fan of the 2/22 changes. The 22 can be packed after picking people up along Pender (and other stops further East) and if the 2 starts following it after Burrard station is usually under used. Having the 2 extend to Kingsway would help distribute the riders better and it wouldn’t be such a guessing game on Burrard if you have to wait a bus or two.

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